I just checked with my 1500 facebook friends if they are on Twitter or not. I got very few replies. Some that answered said: I hardly have time with Facebook, why should I emerge myself in Twitter. I will go crazy and get nothing done.
Good point. But considering all the good use Twitter can bring, you need to be convinced by testing it. How can you know if you don’t try? And what should you do not to drown in information overload? You need a short-cut not to waste your time!
I am specifically writing this to my birding friends, who seem to have a particularly big aversion towards Twitter. But anyone can make use of the recommendations I give below to testdrive Twitter to see if it is for you.
Twitter is a great tool for birders that most birders have not yet discovered. You can follow (befriend) anyone that shares the same interest as you. Facebook requires acceptance, so in this respect Facebook is more limited. The fact that anyone can see your posts, should in reality allow easier communication among birders. Here is an introduction to Twitter I wrote a couple a months back: Twitter for birders. Part 1. An introduction. Read this before you do anything else.
The one thing to remember is that you don’t have to read everything on twitter. It does not have to be a 24/7 activity. With for instance the free apps Tweetdeck or Seesmic Desktop – you can sort the people you follow into groups, and you may monitor streams of keywords – and lots of people you don’t follow. You will find both interesting stuff and interesting people to follow.
Next level for birders is to use Twitter as rare bird alert services – for free.
2 week test run. 10 steps to make Twitter useful
1. open an account.
2. Download Seesmic Desktop (I use Seesmic now myself, but used to use Tweetdeck)
3. Make searches in top right corner of Seesmic. I suggest you use birdwatching, birding and a non-birding related outgroup you are interested in – mine is marathon.
Seesmic desktop with search columns. Click on the image to see a larger format.
4. Spend a few days listening to what is going on.
5. Follow the people whose tweets interest you. Just put the cursor over the photo and click bottom right corner of the photo.
6. Eventually, you will want to respond to some tweets. Cursor over the photo and click upper right @sign.
7. Do some tweets of your own. By now you should have realized that the most interesting stuff that others tweeted was not what they had for breakfast or that they were walking the dog. As a birder a rare sighting or an interesting link probably had more value to you.
8. Get a mobile application for you iPhone, Blackberry or smartphone. This way you can read the people you follow on the go and interact with them.
Blackberry: Several twitter clients are mentioned in this article. Many people seems to prefer Social Scope today. A brand new client that also allows to update your google talk status is Über Twitter. I still use the classical Twitterberry, but shall be changing to either Social Scope or Über Twitter soon.
9. Keep on doing this for two weeks. By using Seesmic and a phone twitter client – you shall not find Twitter wasting your time. You shall be the pilot in full control at all times.
10. Add me @kolibrix to follow me. I promise I shall be your “support” during the test-drive if you need any questions to be answered.
Please let me know any link all of a sudden does not work. Twitter on Time Magazine photo Steve Garfield under Creative Commons license. All photos made by Gunnar Engblom on this blog may be used under Creative Commons license as long as they are attributed to the original article with a link.
Suberb Lyrebird from Australia is one of the world's best mimics.
The famous BBC series with David Attenborough has brought forward a number of contestants for the “1000 birds to see before you die” project. I think most of the will qualify when I get the final list out by the end of this week or early next week.
Superb Lyrebird Menura novaehollandiae
The Superb Lyrebird Menura novaehollandiae is one of the best mimic in the world. It imitates the birds around it, but also camera shutters and car alarms. The male clears an area in the forest and makes this its display ground. Another species is Albert’s Lyrebird Menura albert, which occurs much more localized only in Southern Queensland.
Where to see Superb Lyrebird.
The Superb Lyrebird occurs in rain forest in in Victoria, New South Wales and south-east Queensland, as well as in Tasmania where it was introduced in the 19th century. It is not too difficult to see. Locally, the display sites are well known. Display occures between April and September.
Please let me know any link all of a sudden does not work. Superb Lyretail photo Rick Ryan under Creative Commons license. All photos made by Gunnar Engblom on this blog may be used under Creative Commons license as long as they are attributed the original article with a link.
Red-capped Manakin is famous as the bird that dances as Michael Jackson. I can moonwalk.
Some of you may have heard of my book project “1000 birds to see before you die“. If not click the link. In any case, the project is slowly running along. We are still working with the database and the lists to choose the 1000 birds that will be featured in the book. Some birds are just given. So without further a due, I give to you a new daily blog series. I may be very random these birds come up. But one by one – one every day – the 1000 birds will be presented. This means it will take about 3 years to finish the series. And this is also a good deadline for the book. 3 years. First one out is the
Red-capped Manakin Pipra mentalis
This is partly a tribute to Michael Jackson. Here is the bird that does the moonwalk. There are four Manakin species with red heads and black body, but the Red-capped Manakin has the coolest display.
Where to see Red-capped Manakin.
It is distributed from the Yucatan in Mexico to west Ecuador. Many lodges in Central America have lek-sites staked out, where the moonwalk can be seen.
Please let me know any link all of a sudden does not work. Red-capped Manakin photo Jorge Montejo under Creative Commons license. All photos made by Gunnar Engblom on this blog may be used under Creative Commons license for as long as they are attributed the original article with a link.
Published while I was in Northern Peru birding and consequently I missed doing a proper announcement. Hosted by Amber Coakley at the Birder’s Lounge, Amber brings geo-location to the participants of this fortnight’s I and the bird. We get a feeling where the participants are. And to know better we click on the google maps to zoom out…
Smart move Amber. It doesn’t zoom out at all, but take you straight to the site. So soon you find yourself reading several articles.
I like the layout and the short summeries.
And yes, yours truly is also participating – on the run – so to speak!
HELP! Once a Brit tried to explain to me how cricket works and the charms of the game. Yawn! I did not get it. Too slow to be fun.
Birdfreak has put the I and the bird #103 carnival in an “exciting” baseball frame. When the American tried to explain to me how baseball works, I did not get that either. How can there be innings on a baseball outing?
Last Christmas my nephews got baseball gear as presents by their parents. And on Christmas day we were to play. I tried to convince everyone, that the only real game worth playing with a bat and a ball is the all Swedish classical game “brännboll”. After only 2 minutes, I realized that it was as futile for me to try to explain the “real simple rules”, as it had been for the English and American friends to explain their ballgame to me. Cada loco con su tema!
So Birdfreak, you are forgiven. And to make my post as the extra inning and passing the ball over to me…was like an act of a cricket gentleman.
Guess who is hosting next time?
Yes, I am hosting “I and the bird #104”. Creativity Angst! I can’t do this. All these “I and the bird” I have participated in, have had great themes. HELP!!!
I shall go through some previous editions to see how it is done. Or maybe I will just do a Friday’s Ark type carnival and just list the participants and get it over with. After all, in my experience there are very few click-throughs to the individual blogs anyway.
My goal for the upcoming I and the bird #104 is that every partipant shall boosting hits to their posts. Have to think of something smart. If I may suggest a theme for the I and the bird by the bloggers that are posting, I would really appreciate you to choose a post of yours that invites non-birders to become birders – for an hour, for a day, for a holiday or for a lifetime. My job is to recruit new visitors to your blogs.
Until then, that is July 9 publishing date, you may study the rules of the Swedish bat/ball game brännboll here.
Marvelous Spatuletail Photo: Gunnar Engblom. Photographed at Leymebamba on June 22, 2009
I am back from one of the best birding routes of the world, packed with endemics and spectacular species. I will have more time to blog now, as I have no birding trips coming up for a while. This week and next I shall make a series of blogs connected in one way or another to Nothern Peru. Come back daily to this page for more news. First out is a short picture summery about the last trip.
My recent tour to Northern Peru started off a bit nervously due to the violant clash against demonstrators and police just 5 days prior to our departure with over 30 dead (and probably more as numbers unfold). See my previous blog-post for more info on this unfortunate and sad news. We were to pass through this same area. Therefore at the start of the trip I decided it was probably better to just re-route the trip via Cajamarca and Balsas to get to Leymebamba, instead of the planned route via Jaen and Bagua, where potentially more problems could rise.
This was a mixed cultural and birding tour. I guided 3 women who had grown up together attending the same school. Only one of them, Laura, was a birder from start. Nancy and Jaynie were good sports and participated in the birding activities as well. Jaynie was not feeling too well part of the trip and took it easy at the serenity of the Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge while we were staying there. In 10 days we noted short of 300 species of birds, but we were not only birding as I just stated. We visited archeological sites and museums, such as the great Sipan Museum in Lambayeque, Tucume, Cajamarca, Leyemebamba Laguna de Condores musuem and Chachapoyas fortress Kuelap. In Lima we made visit to the Gold Musuem and National Museum in Lima. Right now the group is visiting Cusco and Machu Picchu with our guide Alex. Surely many birds are being added.
Lodging highlights were Chaparri and Abra Patricia Lodge, while finding a male Marvelous Spatuletail at the feeders across from the Museum in Leymebamba was the most exciting of all our birds seen.
Coming back to Lima with million things to do I am just posting some of my pictures below with short comments. Upcoming articles this week (tempted schedule….but in reality don’t be surprised if it takes longer!).
Birding Chaparri (Tuesday)
Birding Abra Patricia (Wednesday)
Culture in Northern Peru – combine birding and archeology (Thursday)
Hummingbird watching in Peru. Best places to watch hummingbirds. (Friday)
Long-tailed Mockingbird Chaparri. Photo: Gunnar Engblom
Striped Owl. Chaparri. Photo Gunnar Engblom
Rufous Flycatcher. Bosque Pomac. Photo Gunnar Engblom. Rufous Flycatcher is one of the most wanted endemic species in the region and generally uncommon to rare.
White-faced (Tropical) Gnatcatcher. Bosque Pomac. Photo Gunnar Engblom
Cinereous Finch. Bosque Pomac. Photo: Gunnar Engblom
Peruvian Plantcutter. Bosque Pomac. Photo: Gunnar Engblom The most threatened species in the region together with White-winged Guan.
White-winged Guan. Chaparri. Photo Gunnar Engblom
Royal Sunangel. Abra Patricia. Photo: Gunnar Engblom
If you are interested in a tour to Northern Peru, check out our extensive offering on our new summery North Peru tour page. There are both comfortable trips that combine birds and culture suitable for non-birding spouses, as well as more intense birding trips.
Peru’s president backs on some of the land controversy.
In the end the president had to back. Some of the rights of the indigenous people in the Peruvian rain forest are restored.
LIMA, June 18 (Reuters) –
Peru’s Congress overturned two controversial land laws on Thursday that ignited deadly clashes between police and indigenous protesters in the Amazon rainforest two weeks ago, killing at least 34 people.
Legislative decrees 1090 and 1064 had been issued by President Alan Garcia under special powers Congress gave him to implement a free-trade pact with the United States.
They outlined a broad plan for how to regulate investment in the Amazon, and tribal groups say they were not consulted before the laws were issued.
Several other recent Garcia decrees designed to attract foreign investors to mining and energy projects remain in place.
What kind of a government turn arms against their own people? National media talk about 22 killed police officers and 12 others. Hmmm, I wonder what could have triggered such hate that people with spears actually attack the heavily armed police…..or is the national media not telling the true story? How many indians were really massacred, I wonder?
Check this video on You Tube. WARNING: This could make you puke!
The roads are open again in Peru for birding and tourism. When will Peru officially start concentrating becoming THE ecotourism-destination in the world? Tourism is after all far more sustainable industry that mining and forestry.
UPDATE: The main stream media talk mostly about the tortured, mutilated and killed police officers. No-one can defend such horror of course. The responsible should be brought to justice. But, the question that must be asked nevertheless is why this happened? Ben Powless does a good job in this article relating what happened on June 5:
I have had a long rest this week, both from running and blogging. I’ve done some birding and I spent a lot of time with the family. I had started on a blogpost describing the race and meant to finish it earlier. One week later I am concluding this post. Hope not to bore you with yet another running blog. I will be birding this coming week, so I promise my next post will have some birds in it. Deal?
The morning before the Marathon
Before the race I posted a blogpost on the physiology of a Marathon, where I summarized Dr Paul Noakes notes on the subject. With my five and a half weeks of training, it was really quite unlikely that I would be able to store enough glycogen in the muscles to last me the whole race. The long runs are the key of marathon training. It teaches the body both to store more glycogen in the muscles as well as burning fat. “Lore about Running” had some interesting conclusions. The energy you consume during the race such as sport drinks and energy gels, can not be used by the muscles in the legs, only supply energy to the brain. However, when fat is used as energy by the muscles this is in the form of free fatty acids in the blood stream. Consequently, if the levels of free fatty acids can be increased in the blood stream, then the glycogen stores in the muscles would be saved for later. Noakes mentioned two ways of increasing the free fatty acids. Caffeine and/or a greasy meal before the marathon! The later must be as much a surprise to you as it was to me. Fat for breakfast? Noakes recommends a fat meal to be ingested 3-5 hours before the race. If you think of it, it makes sense. In the old days, people working on the farms, what would they have to breakfast? Granola, skim-milk and lean fiber rich bread? No, they’d have bacon and eggs fried in large amounts of grease, and this would give them the necessary energy for hard labour.
I had said in the blogpost that I wasn’t going to try this without any prior testing, but in the end my curiosity gave in as the confidence in efficient carbohydrate loading diminished. I had fried red bell-peppers in abundant virgin olive oil the night before the race and I got up at 3AM to fry tomatoes and an egg, which I had for breakfast with bread.
Coffee was my choice of caffeine, as I drink it regularly. I was considering using energy drinks as caffeine source, but Noakes said the sugar would make effect of the caffeine delay the release of fatty acids. A fast cup in the morning and then back to bed to try to get some more sleep. I put the alarm on 5:30. I did not sleep much, but the rest was good. Shower, clip toe-nails, baby cream (thanks Luciana) smeared at underwear linings on top of inner thighs, taped the nipples with plasters and surgical tape (any discomfort during the race has two be multiplied with 42 kilometers and 4 hours of discomfort – bleeding nipples are not unusual for the men – ladies are saved by the bra), race-clothes on, new soft socks, sweatband on one hand and another in my carry pouch. A last visit to the toilet produced nothing solid. Not to worry, toilets also available at the start.
The carry pouch also had my blackberry to tweet the messages along the race and two plastic containers with coffee. One coffee was gulped down in the taxi. The day was overcast and around 18 degrees Celsius, which was very good conditions for a marathon. I located the toilets, and remembered I had forgotten to bring toilet paper!
But there was a lady giving out toilet paper, so that was a good sign that the race was going to be well organized. No need to go into details……..but it did not feel as my bowel was completely empty afterwards.
The route and the contour of Lima Marathon
Lima Maratón - click to see a large image.
Above is the route of the Marathon. Here follows elevation chart.
Lima Marathon Elevation chart. Note the 80m rise from Km 35.
There is a brutal rise in the last half of race. Especially a 80 meter ascend the last 7 km. Lima may look flat at first look, but it is a long slope really. There is 120m elevational difference in the course. In short a long downhill the first half and a very loooong uphill the second part.
The fatal start. Injury after only 700m
It was crowded but I found a good spot not too far back in the long row. Start went off and it took me about 15-20 seconds to cross the start line. It wasn’t to crowded, some pushing, but nothing serious really. It felt good to start with, but I remembered I had not double knotted my shoes. This got me somewhat concerned. In the immediate reports I was saying that I got hurt at 1.5km, but when I look at the GPS position for the Garmin Forerunner 405 on Google Earth, it turns out I had only run 700m, when I started feeling a tight pain from the inside of my left thigh. I didn’t do a sudden movement or anything, all of a sudden the strained muscle was just there and it impaired the running to a strange limp. A kilometer later I had to stop.
Re-tying my shoes and a bit of stretch, I realize that the pain will not go away and I still had 40Km to run. At this point I didn’t think I could continue. But I thought about the quest to raise money and that it would be too embarrassing not to fulfil the marathon. I went on. At 3K my friend Juan Liziola past me. We were suppose to run together and pep each other, but now I couldn’t keep up the pace. I was running very slowly.
My Marathon on Twitter.
Through the race I tried to send Twitter messages. They were all attached with a pre-recorded plead. “Marathon for Conservation on hashtag #Lima42GE Make pledges on https://is.gd/KkUm“. I made some typo’s, why the value of this intent was not as good as I had intended…but nevertheless it kept me busy.
To let you know how my marathon looked like via Twitter, here is my twitter stream since I got up last Sunday. Start was set at 7 AM:
Having breakfast fried egg, tomato and bellpeppers in olive-oil. Food for a marathoner on M-day? 3h40 min to start. (3:26 AM May 31).
Lying in bed for 2h with hardly no sleep. Time to get up. Start of Marathon in 1h20min. (5:43 AM May 31)
Marathon in 1h. Got the following in memory to be able to tweet fast: Marathon for Conservation #Lima42GE Make pledges on https://is.gd/KkUm(06.03AM May 31).
Strained inner thigh in warmup. This will be tough.(07:24AM May 31). This is 23 minutes into the Marathon.
Still running at 4k. 21.45.(07:25AM May 31) I am not giving up, as I realized I had only lost 1 minute and 45 seconds to my average 5min/km. That was not too bad and a long downhill was ahead of me. The strained muscle was warmed up, so in spite of hindering me somewhat in flexibility, there was no pain any more.
41:45 10K. (07:55 AM May 31) Yes, that was a typo! It should have said 51:45. It meant I had run the last 6K at an average 5.00 min/k. In fact, I was increasingly making faster splits. When hitting 10k, my last split was 4:50.
At 32K. I am tired. But still trying to keep upright posture and my eyes looking forward
20K 1:41:10. (08:
46 AM May 31)I was very pleased with this 20K time, I had shaved off another 35 seconds towards 5min/km average. Could I have kept it up, I would have been able to be very close to 3:30H. Alas, I should soon discover that my glycogen stores were finished. Between 15-23K I finished the coffee I had brought with me.
Can’t keep up the speed. Had to stop for a dump. Stiff. 6min pace now. (09:04 AM May 31). This happened at 22.5K . The coffee probably helped for the urge to set off, but it would have likely happened anyway. The only reasonable way to have avoided it, was to have had breakfast at 2 AM. Remind me to search for a marathon in the afternoon next time. I am not made to run in the mornings. I am not a morning person!
Still running but slowly.(09:19 AM May 31st). The uphill had started at 25Km.
27K 2:24:07 15K to go. (09.28 AM May 31st).
Man, I’m tired. (09.42 AM May 31st). Almost 28K and uphill.
30K 2:42:05 (09:45AM May 31st). Focusing on keeping head up and look ahead.
32K 2:34.Mis-typed the tweet again. It should say 32K 2:54. 10km to go.(09:57 AM May 31st).First 3Km slight downhill, and then uphill to the end.
Finished. YES. 3:59 according to my watch.
Apart from the two stops I did for obvious reasons, I never stopped running. A big mistake many runners do in the end of the race is that they loose the posture and start hunching forward. This is a very ineffective way to run. As can be seen from the photo, my running style is not pretty. I don’t lift my knees much. But this shuffle is also very energy conservative.
Next Marathon challenge.
I hope to be able to keep on training to run New York Marathon on Nov 1. I have 21 weeks to get in shape. I also have 21 weeks to think of excuses, if I don’t make sub 3:30 in that race. I should be able to do it if I can keep up the pace. The only way to get prepared is to put down the kilometers. I have chosen to follow a program that gradually increase mileage from around 50km/week to about 90km per week. There are four cycles to follow. Endurance, lactate threshold training, race-training and taper prior to the marathon. During the first 9 weeks, I shall concentrate in building strength increasing mileage, doing core-training and strengthen hams and quadriceps with weights. Then follows 5 weeks of getting the body accustomed to maintaining higher speed through intervals or speed sessions. The race-training follows with four weeks with some specific training at Marathon speed and some shorter races. The last 3 weeks before the Marathon is less intense and with less mileage, so that the body recovers fully before the marathon to reap the benefits of the hard training on race day. With this proper training it shall be interesting to see how much I would lower my overall time. I need 3:30 to qualify for Boston Marathon in late April 2010.
After the Marathon
If you wonder how you feel after a marathon. Check this video. It says it all. You can spot a Marathon hero from a mile away.
I have been working on this blogpost since Sunday, but life is in the way to finish. I decided to split this marathon summary into two postings.
I made sub 4:13 on the marathon, which was the prime goal, but far from my original quest of 3:30 to qualify to Boston Marathon. I finished in 3:59:16 in spite being impaired for most of the early part of the race by a strained inner thigh after only 700m, which forced me to stop for 1.5 minutes and run slowly for about 7km. I also lost 3.5 min at 22.5K when I urgently had to ask a doorman in a apartment building on fashionable Miraflores water front promenade for a toilet. Yes, pooh! And yes, the Marathon as an event, especially one that starts at 7 AM, is quite similar to this classic by Monty Python. Over the first 25km there were at least 30 people who side-tracked.
But these excuses apart, as I suspected, I simply did not have enough training time to make 3:30. Those in the know, know well that a Marathon training program should at least go over 12 weeks. I had five and a half weeks. I am not new to training as mentioned in previous posts, but no training during a month prior to my start and not very intensive prior to that, was this time not enough for maintaining the speed for the whole race. I was very tired after 22km when I had to slow down.
In a way the fact that I turned my race into a fundraiser, made my failure to qualify to Boston, still a winner. It helped me to go on and to finish the race. It would not have been possible without you.
I have used my participation as way to both raise money for a cause together with Rainforest Partership, but more importantly, I used my quest to raise awareness. Together with RainForest Partnership we shall continue to build new projects together and take advantage of the social media network. Don’t worry, I shall not bombard you the coming weeks as I have done these past 12 days. I promise this and coming analysis are the last Marathon blogpost I do on this blog for a long time. I may kick life in a dormant training blog, I started in the beginning of the year, but that is a different story.
In my next post, I shall analyze the race, and what I have learn. First however, the important stuff. You have made a pledge after reading the blogpost Marathon for Conservation and you like to make a donation. As you remembered, there were three options.
42 dollars. That’s one dollar per kilometer. You are crazy Gunnar, but you have my support for each kilometer you run.
10 dollars. I think this is a great cause, and will support you no matter what with 10 bucks.
1 dollar/min shaved off from 4:13. You can do it Gunnar! For every minute faster you run I will donate one dollar more. Have this in your head at all times!
I did have this in my head at all times and shaved 14 minutes. You would owe 14 dollars (but you may want to add 5 bucks for the 5 minutes I lost quite ungraciously).
Meanwhile, Rainforest Partnership have made a note on Facebook and their blogabout my quest and donations can be made with safe credit card system on their web-page. If you leave a comment with your real name on this blog post or the previous Marathon for conservation blogpost, RP will be able to trace your donation so it would be earmarked for the Satipo road project. You can also send me an email to let me know how much you donated. I am hoping also through the people that signed up for the Rainforest Partnership cause on Facebook will be willing to make donations, in spite that the Marathon is over.
Finally, a big thanks to all that have responded to this cause, for retweets on Twitter and comments on the Facebook and the internet. You Rock!