July 2009

Twitter club for birders and nature lovers.

Twitter club for birders

Twitter club for birders

Who has by now not heard of Twitter? I have written several posts on Twitter previously and here I shall not dwell to much how it works. Below this post I am listing all my posts on Twitter so you get an idea.   I will be using Twitter also in the strategy for tomorrow’s release of the bird blog carnival “I and the bird”. If you are not on Twitter yet, and you are a birder, and especially if you are a birder that blogs, get on Twitter now.

Twitter can be an extremely good way to let the world know about your blog. But not only that, you can also help promoting other people’s blogs and web-pages. And here is where it gets interesting. Either you find an interesting tweet on Twitter that you re-tweet or you found an interesting blogpost in one of the blogs you generally read. Maybe you have an RSS reader such as google reader from which you constantly find interesting stuff that can be tweeted.
Every time someone else re-tweets a link, the same link is sent to the followers of that someone. The best Tweets that move a lot of people can almost become viral.

My test a few weeks ago with my 1500 facebook friends showed that relatively few of them are on Twitter and the few birders, with some noticeable exceptions, on Twitter are not very good in retweeting. My hope is that this blogpost will make the birders somewhat more active on Twitter.

Good birders to follow on Twitter

A few birders on Twitter are very good in retweeting other people’s blogs. It is a good idea for you to follow them if you want your blog post to be re-tweeted on Twitter.  Here is my list of the best birding re-tweeters the last week or two.


Let me humbly add myself @kolibrix among the same group. I tweet a lot of stuff from other bloggers.

All these people are very generous in retweeting. They read something they like and share that with their followers.  This is where the idea of a tweet club comes in. What if this was to be done a bit more systematic? What if all the above people plus all active nature bloggers that read this post, come to an agreement that one selected post of each  blogger per week would be retweeted by everyone that have signed up for the tweetclub? Say we get 50 people signed up on the tweetclub. That would mean 49 retweets for every post.  As a result as some followers of all 49  would be reading the post, you would each have  a few hundred people reading your selected piece for  the week every week. Nice!

How to organize the first bird bloggers tweet club:

1. post a comment below with your  Twitter handle and tweet  in an easy re-tweetable fashion, like this.

@kolibrix: Birds from Northern Peru https://bit.ly/67TDv

2.  Submit your contribution before Sunday to the comment section of  this blog post.

3.  I publish the tweet list on Monday in a new blogpost, which coincides with #Ecomonday

4.  You commit to read all blogs and retweet all or at least your favorites through-out the week culminating on Saturday, which coincides with #birdsaturday.

5.  We may have a rotational schedule similar to “I and the bird” so that we rotate the hosting of the tweet club on each Sunday.

6. This is a very simple hosting compared to “I and the bird”. You will not have to think-up creative witty stories to inbed the tweets.

Some additional Twitter tools and Twitter tips I like.

As you may have seen, my posts now have a little cute retweet button. I got this from Tweetmeme. @problogger Darren Rowse explains how to get  this button to your own blog. Get a ReTweet Button for Your Blog

Another good post by Darren Rowse is this one:  A Secret to Writing Posts that Go Viral on Twitter

Finally, this viral on Twitter classic is aptly named:  How I got my blog post retweeted by @problogger, @GuyKawasaki and 250 more

If you liked this article, check out these Twitter and blog related articles:

and feel free to re-tweet them if you find them useful.


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Everyone knows that direct messages is completely useless in Twitter once you reach a few kilo of followers or more. There are bound to be a lot of those who you follow that will miss-use this feature and send spam-like messages to your DM box.

The pros, those with 10000 or more followers, no longer monitor their Direct messages. The @reply is a more direct and more efficient way to communicate. Unfortunately, it seems the spammers also discovered this.

Look at these three tweets that I recieved in my reply folder:

  • ohncurrie: tinnitus success stories: https://t-gone.com @EKGmethod @tomsskyline @coffeefundraise @Kolibrix
  • STARFAX: Free Twitter Marketing Software: https://bit.ly/s9Ope  @deineexistenz @christiswhite @Kolibrix
  • ShelliCindberg: Twitter AutoFollow Software Out: Http://Tweep.Net @thewhitespy @JennDizmang @Kolibrix @rickster_CA

I have specifically noticed more spamming in the @reply box on Friday coinciding with #followfriday campaign. While most of those that recommend my @kolibrix are legit followers, there are often many that are quite obviously spammy. Some include the #followfriday tag, while others just coincide in sending the tweet on a Friday. Here are some examples from last Friday.

  • toddjonesy: Wow, this is an amazing twitter software https://budurl.com/5mzk @Kolibrix @vitailluminata @eCoverage @PMesterheide
  • WhiteSammy: 100% hands off FOREX trading robot https://bit.ly/QThIX @inspiredachieve @Kolibrix @PatyAmorim @seinflinks

It appears that you can now get a software that will send out a tweet with random @replies and your link you want to promote.  If this increases in frequency it will become a threat to twitter’s usefullness. Be sure you immediately block the spammer. I wanted to use the spam funtion on Seesmic  to send Twitter admin a message recommending to ban the spamming accounts. But apparantly I can not send this message as it is sent as a direct message. Guess what! The spammers don’t even follow me, so my messages can’t be sent back to them.  If anyone know how I can report these mothers… let me know.

Don’t let the spammers take over your @reply box.

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Did I see a Wandering Albatross without seeing it?

Looking through my pics from the last pelagic,while preparing for a blog post, I find this:

Wandering Albatross - I wonder?

Wandering Albatross - I wonder? Click for a large image. Photo: Gunnar Engblom.

I took the photograph at 11:29 on June 27. Only one shot. I was shooting a lot of birds as they came by. With these proportionally extremely slender wings, completely dark body and a pale face with a dark eye – it fits perfectly to juvenile of the Wandering Albatross group. The only negative thing is that all forms of Wandering Albatross show this pattern and therefore it is not possible to give the origin of this bird.
There were plenty of photographers on board, hopefully someone else has got more detailed photos.

If this can be 100% confirmed from this picture it would be the first record for Peru. Let’s see what the seabird experts say.
UPDATE: The experts spoke. First out was Alvaro Jaramillo on the Birding Peru listserv. He noted that I had totally misjudged the features of the bird. The white is not the face, but rather the bill and the dark spot is not the eye but a feature on the bill.

The pale area is the bill, and you are seeing some of the dark division between the naricorn and the culminicorn, as well as the nostrils head on (the round dark area).

Alvaro first suggested a Giant Petrel.

Sergio Nolazco was fast to suggest it was a Procellaria Petrel and suggested either Westland or Parkinson – both that have dark tips of the bill. Alvaro agreed, but suggested White-chinned Petrel instead, as it is not the tip that is dark.

Meanwhile the discussion is hot on my Facebook page and the Seabird-News and Pelagics lists.
Chris Savigny also suggests that the bird is flying my way.

Detail - bill and head of procellaria head on.

Detail - bill and head of procellaria head on.

I see, it is an optical illusion! When I first looked at the picture, it seemed to me that the bird  was flying away, but it is actually flying towards the camera, and I am looking straight into the tube of the tubenose!

Four contendants are up in the semi-final White-chinned Petrel, Southern  Giant Petrel, Westland Petrel and Parkinson’s Petrel and there are contributions on the ID also from Phil Hansbro, Gyorgy Szimuly, Benjamin Coulter, Brian Patteson, Juan Mazar Barnett, Alan Henry, Chris Benesh, Doug Hanna, Richard Baxter, Chris Gaskin, Joseph Morlan, Tim Reid and Trevor Hardaker. What a fine set of pelagic birders.

George Armistead hit the nail on the head by highlighting again that bird is flying towards the camera and providing this link of a White-chinned Petrel of almost the same angle of the head.
All of a sudden it is all clear.

White-chinned Petrel looks like the most logical answer. What is more…it was the only one of the semi-finalists that all onboard agreed on having seen. In fact we saw plenty White-chinned Petrels and none of the others.

For those interested I have started a group on Facebook for pelagic birding. This discussion could have taken place there.


Check it out if you are on Facebook. The group has 741 members as I write this.

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Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata

Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata Pelagic 27 June, 2009

Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata Pelagic 27 June, 2009

Waved Albatross is a medium sized Albatross that breeds on Española island in the Galapagos. In recent year the population of adult birds have decreased and this has warrent elevating its threat category to critically threatened according to BirdLife International.

They breed every other year. Practically all individuals pass time in Peruvian waters when not breeding and therefore they can be seen on pelagics from Lima all year around. The time at sea is when they are most vulnerable. There are reports that they are being hunted deliberately in Northern Peru and Southern Ecuador.

I guess we should blame Monthy Python for creating Albatross demand.

Where to see Waved Albatross.

In Peru it is not difficult to see Waved Albatross from the pelagics that Kolibri Expeditions organize from Lima and from Tumbes.  But the most spectacular sighting is to see the display on Española island on the Galapagos. The Waved Albatross is present at the nest sites between late April to November/December. The bill fighting is  best observed early in the season or very late, as the birds re-enforce the bonds between the male and female.

Once in a while Kolibri Expeditions arrange also trips to Galapagos.

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Harpy Eagle. Harpia harpyja.

Harpy Eagle. Puerto Maldonado. Photo: Walter Mansilla

Harpy Eagle. Puerto Maldonado. Photo: Walter Mansilla

This series continues. Today, we concentrate our attention on a bird in South America. Here  is the Harpy Eagle is the most powerful of Eagles (together with Philippine Eagle). Its talons are the size of a grown man’s hand. Check out the power in this video when a Harpy Eagle catches a Sloth.

Where to see Harpy Eagle.

Bridge to Harpy nest near Puerto Maldonado

Bridge to Harpy nest near Puerto Maldonado

Harpy Eagle occurs from Central America to Brazil and Bolivia. In recent years there have been staked out nests in Venezuela, Belize, Panama, Guyana, Peru and Brazil. As I write this there is an active nest in SE Peru that can be visited near Puerto Maldonado, which is the major airport to reach Tambopata.  It is a very user friendly set up, with a steel tower with a platform across from the nest tree.  A trail has been put in and even a bridge has been constructed to make it more accessible. It should be pointed out that the nest is not in a pristine area. There are lots of agriculture going on nearby. Of the money collected from the visiting birders, half  is donated to the local community and the other half is set off for research by Antonio Fernandini. Antonio has another nest in a more pristine area that is being monitored simultaneously. It is unlikely that the locals would have let the Harpy Eagle nest be if they were not receiving money from the visitors.

Harpy Eagle nests can be productive for visiting birders allowing for seeing adults or almost fully grown juveniles for as long as 2 years. Therefore, this Harpy Eagle nest will be a resource during 2009 and all of 2010.

If you want to visit the nest with Kolibri Expeditions, please check our webpage for tours to SE Peru that end in Puerto Maldonado.  There is a surcharge of 150 US$ to visit the Harpy that is paid at the site. It can be visited in the morning before the flight.

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