On January 15, 2011, a small flock of birders paid Paoay Lake a call for the Asian Water Bird Census. It was my first time to be with a group of avid birders who benevolently share their time and effort in the protection and conservation of the world’s biodiversity.
The Paoay Lake, “most northerly lake” according to Gina Mapua, is feeding point to birds heading south. As always, it was no less than local birdwatcher Dr. Petrus “Pete” Calope who spearheaded the bird count. Elsie Nolasco of the DENR-PAWB and Richard Ruiz, Dr. Pete’s birding buddy, assisted in the task. From Manila, Gina Mapua and hubby, Ixi and Mikeli Mapua and anac ti Batac Cecil Morella were among the Paoay Lake group. Gina and Ixi were very accommodating, helping me figure out the results of the count.
About birdwatching as a sport, here’s a tip they shared — “Buy the most expensive. When you get super upgrade, don’t lend your gadgets. Take care of your own things. Never be distracted by anything.” A spotting scope may be costly, and I’ve met birders who won’t settle for cheap quality.
For now, the Provincial Govenment of Ilocos Norte and the Local Government Unit of Paoay, Dr. Pete Calope and the barangays covered by the Paoay Lake are making moves to improve the environment making it conducive to birds who feed in the Paoay Lake National Park.