Gunnar’s Weekly Twitter-links

Here is the second edition of my Twitter-links. Why I do this, you can read in the introduction of last weeks edition.

Peru birding and news from Kolibri Expedions.

The hottest news this week was our sensational give away of 14 birding trips in Peru.

  • Do you want an 8 day birdingtrip in Peru for FREE? Here are the first steps what to do to become eligible!!! https://bit.ly/8s830C #
  • Where Will You Be in One Year? Join Corey Finger of 10000 birds on a trip to Peru https://bit.ly/893KrR #
  • Some pics from Northern Peru from Chris Charlesworth. https://bit.ly/7HorRI #
  • Resending this newsletter with lots of useful “social media for birders” links https://bit.ly/7wjPKF Why? I needed the short link!

Blog Carnivals

I participated in a few Blog Carnivals last week. There is always good reading to be found in these. The post on I and the Bird lead to an interesting discussion.

  • Science for Dummies. Check out this blog carnival about research explained in simple words. https://bit.ly/5X0jAn
  • New Nature Carnival: House of Herps! https://bit.ly/8LcKzs
  • Carnival of the blue – new edition of the best blogs about the sea and the oceans and their creatures. https://bit.ly/8Lkx4U
  • I and the Bird #114 https://bit.ly/7eOmhp This post was posted in last weeks summery, but the discussion that followed has been active for several days this week.

Conservation and Climate Change

With the UN Copenhagen Climate Change summit on the headlines, this has dominated last weeks conservation news.

Birding in the US

Birding around the world

Twitching and Megas

  • Best “Gripping Off” Ever https://bit.ly/6wAr6w On the recent Ivory Bill Gull at Cape May, New Jersey.

Non-birding links.

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Are you joking?

No I am not joking. I am giving away 4 trips to Manu and 10 trips to Carpish/Satipo road in Central Peru. Below the macaw-picture are the departures you can chose from:


Manu 8 days

Manu needs no presentation I think. The lowland amazonian rainforest of SE Peru is world famous. How would you like to come on a totally free birding trip from Lima. You don’t even have to pay for the flights to Cusco and back from Puerto Maldonado.  Available departures on the following dates. February 21, April 3, June 27 and July 18.

Carpish/Satipo road 8 days

Central Peru is less known but is great for birding and is also very inexpensive if you want to bring a friend on your free trip. This particular promotions aims to promote the area and create a continuous demand so it will be worthwhile for the communities to set up some basic lodging. At the beginning the conditions will be basic and some camping may be needed, but at the end of the year it is hoped that no camping shall be needed and that the areas should be able to receive visitors throughout the year in the future. Departures as follow:  March 17, April 29, June 1, July 6, July 27, August 12,  September 25, October 19, Nov 22 and December 12


I am a tree-hugger at heart. More than a birdwatcher really. There is too much habitat destruction going on. Eco-tourism can be a sustainable way to protect habitat. But true eco-tourism is not possible if the community that lives around or in the area you’d like to conserve is excluded from the master plan. The only way in reality for conservation and true eco-tourism to be successful, is to give local communities true and immediate benefits. The projects I am involved in centre around the communities.

To highlight both to the birding world as well as the communities that there areas are important I have chosen to highlight these areas in “Fixed Departures” that run monthly. Each departure has a host who has been given a free trip.  I hope that this marketing, with free trips and the social media platform to get the message across, will be a very effective way to let the world know in very short time about these new birding destinations with extremely diverse wildlife, lush forests and spectacular scenery.
Also, from the perspective of the project itself and to be successful, both areas need groups fast and frequently. Otherwise, it is likely that the communities will not bother about the conservation and the eco-tourism.

What is in it for me? Disclaimer!

Kolibri Expeditions is a small company. This PR-stunt (I don’t think anyone else have tried such a bold trip give-away earlier) should/could become almost viral (at least among birders).  I hope this could get our company out of little league.  We are doing a good thing. We employe Peruvian guides. We work with communities. We are environmentally concerned. We have compatible prices.

Yet, we still have had problems at the end of the year for the past three years to get it together (although 2009 looks better than many previous years). The main reason for the poor result is low sales between December and May and our fixed cost that are even through-out the year. Our staff is mainly on pay-roll with legal rights to overtime, vacation, social health care and pension. So even in our slow months we have staff to pay. There is really no reason why birders should not come to Peru all year around. You will always find more birds in Peru than in your own country in the northern hemisphere. Costa Rica and Ecuador do not shut down in the rainy season – Why should Peru do so?

To sell more trips through-out the year, Kolibri Expeditions must become better known.  The give-away should help!

So what is the catch?

There isn’t much of a catch really. The trips will be totally free from Lima. , Since there are only 14 trips in total given away I shall chose those that provide the biggest value to the company. How you can supply that value to us will be treated in my next opt-in newsletter due Saturday Dec 12 (the newsletter will also be sent to anyone signing up later). This is what you need to do now to be eligable for a free birding trip in Peru.

  • The first thing you need to do is to sign-up to our new opt-in newletter if you have not already done so. Where? In the center column just below the big picture of a Tanager or Mr Engblom with child, there is a form to fill in. Email and Name, please! Then you will get an email telling you to click the confirmation link. That is it! You are now subscribed to the bi-weekly Kolibri Expeditions newsletter.
  • Is that it? No! One more thing! The idea is to use Social Media. Social media is all about sharing. Here is the link to this post that you need to share: https://bit.ly/8s830C
    In order to be eligable for a free trip you need to share. The more you share, the bigger chance you have for a free trip. I am not saying you have to become a spammer, but I am sure your friends would like to know about this possibility.  Even if you don’t win one of the free trips, you will by participating and sharing win a lot of Karma, so that new opportunities will be given to you for substancial discounts or other special offers or promotions.So where and how do you share? Twitter and Facebook are the two most obvious platforms and where you probably heard of this first. However, you may be participating in different forums for birders, listservers for birders, My Space, Hi5, Linked In, FriendFeed, Chatterbirds, Chirptracker, picture sharing platforms such as Flickr, Picasa, etc. Good ol’ email and blogging also works.  Write your friends and write about this in your blog. I will promote cross-link on my social media platforms to your blogpost as well as some other post on your blog which should bring you some traffic
    Also make  sure you use all sorts of link sharing platforms such as Delicious, Digg and Stumble Upon and that you re-tweet this everytime you open this page (check the re-tweet button and digg button above-I’ll see if I can find a SU button somewhere so please come back!).
    Finally, let’s mention Facebook again. You should share this link https://bit.ly/8s830C on your wall and become fan of,  monitor and participate on, the Kolibri Expeditions Facebook page. Every time you do, there is a little note on your own wall, that you have posted something on Kolibri’s wall.
    Do you get the picture? Social Media rocks!

That is all you need to do for now. Easy, huh?


Q.  I am not a hard core birder, I just like nature in general.Can I still participate.

A. Yes, you can! These indigenous communities can hardly make enough money, if they have to rely only on birders. Nevertheless, there is a reason why we chose to start promoting to birders. Birding is a great way to promote  new area if the ornithological value is high.
You should not expect the set-up to  be 100% functional when communities, completely new to the challanges of eco-tourism, are involved. However, as a birder, as long as you see a lot of birds, some hardships and things not being perfect can be dealt with.  When birders will tell other birders how great an area is for birding, it rarely has to do with what food they ate , or what temperature the shower had, but what birds they have seen.  In this sense birders are the cutting edge of eco-tourism – as they can withstand less than perfect comfort as long as they see the birds.
Having said this, I am keen to offer Manu departures with other themes than birding. Anyone being avid in photography, mammals, herps, butterflies or botany would have a great chance of receiving a free trip.
If you merely have a general interest in the rain forest, these trips are not for you. However, if you have a large network of contacts and feel you can generate some interest among others to see the Amazon rain forest, Giant Otter, Tapir, Macaw-lick and up to 10 species of monkeys, I would be happy to discuss the opening of some general natural history departures also during this first promotional year – and if you can recruit members to such a trip and host it – so much better  as I could then supply you with a freebie.

Q. Will you repeat this in 2011r?

A. Probably not! At least not in this form directed to birders in general. Some tour operators, birding magazines and prominent bloggers may get an offer, but it is unlikely I will present it to the public in this massive way as now. It is now or never! In any case we hope by next year that we have raised enough money to increase comfort and that it shall be no problem selling the trips for a higher amount.

Q. Why don’t you spit it out? What tours are you talking about?

A. Sorry! I was carried away talking about how great the trips are without presenting them. Here they are  Manu community lodges 8 days and Satipo road and Carpish. The first is a Amazonian lowland destination and the second is a cloud forest destination. The person winning the free trip would act as host for the trip.

Q. Where can I learn more about the community projects you are involved in?

A. Here are a couple of links. I realize I need soon to write an update on the advances on the Satipo road and Amarakaeri projects, but in any case these old posts give you some background.

Birdwatching in a communal reserve next to Manu
News from Amarakaeri – the communal reserve next to Manu.

Satipo road project
Outline of ideas behind Satipo road project – before trip to Mindo, Ecuador.
A marathon for conservation – A fundraising marathon and some update on the project from 2009.

Q. I want to travel with my partner. Can we both get a free trip?

A. Yes and no! The Manu trips are tied back to back with the Carpish/Satipo road trips. Although you and your friend would not get freebie to same Manu trip, your partner could ask for a freebie to the Carpish trip that follows.  This may be a advantage, when it comes down to selecting the hosts.  Make sure you let me know if you are a pair.

I suggest you send me lots of other questions to my email kolibriexp@gmail.com so I can deal with them in the next newsletter.

See you on the other side.

Once again this is what you need to do:

  • Sign-up for the newsletter on the top of the mid column -just below the Tanager photo or the photo of me and Luciana.
  • Share this link https://bit.ly/8s830C on Facebook and Twitter and any other Social Media platform you can think of.   Don’t link directly to the trip pages, please. We don’t need to shove it down their throats.
  • Please don’t mention the company name in head-lines… don’t want it to appear spammy! Mentioning my name and a link to the blog should be OK, but please don’t link directly to the trip pages. Again, that would appear as too spammy in a message to many people.

Many thanks for taking part in this social media experiment.

The photo depicts 3 species of Macaws from Tambopata. The Blue and Yellow Macaw is not found on the clay lick at Manu, but the species is generarlly seen in the area. Photo Credit: Tim Ryan From the Faraway, Nearby.
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Watch out for Shafi

Scammers offer you money for nothing through the screen - Don Hankins

Scammers offer you money for nothing through the screen - Don Hankins

Sorry for this non-birding and non-Peru note, but considering that my last Nigeria scam post had quite a few visitors of thankful tour operators being hit by false bookings, I thought I’d warn for this new variant of the infamous Nigeria 419 Scam .

It is pretty amazing really. when I thought all ends had been covered, I get an instant message from Dr Allen William through Skype.  Now the Nigeria scammers want to chat with you! It is a new level of trust all together – Oh, and this one is from Ghana!  

Anyway, there are several things that should make you lift your eyebrows and see through this. My comments in brackets.

Dear Engblom,  (I would have thought Dr William would have taken care to look for my first name to address me correctly)

I have been in search of someone with this last name Engblom,so when I saw your name I was pushed to contact you and see how best we can assist each other. I am Dr. Allen William, I am the regional manager of United Bank for Africa GHANA(UBA). I believe it is the wish of God for me to come across you on skype now. I am having an important business discussion I wish to share with you which I believe will interest you because, it is in connection with your last name and you are going to benefit from it.
One Late Shafi Engblom,a citizen of your country

(Yeah, Engblom is not a very common name in Sweden – and the combination with Shafi sounds just too incredulous)

had a fixed deposit with my bank in 2004 for 36 calendar months, valued at US$18,400,000.00 (Eighteen Million, Four Hundred Thousand US Dollars) the due date for this deposit contract was this 16 of January 2007. (You would have thought someone having 18.4 milion dollars in Ghana would show up in a google search – but NADA!)

 Sadly Shafi was among the death victims in the May 26 2006 Earthquake disaster in Jawa, Indonesia that killed over 5,000 people. He was in Indonesia on a business trip and that was how he met his end.

My bank management is yet to know about his death,I knew about it because he was my friend and I am his account officer. Shafi did not mention any Next of Kin/ Heir when the account was opened, and Shafi was not married and no children. Last week my Bank Management requested that i should give instructions on what to do about his funds, if to renew the contract.
I know this will happen and that is why I have been looking for a means to handle the situation, because if my Bank Directors happens to know that Shafi is dead and do not have any Heir, they will take the funds for their personal use, so I don’t want such to happen. That was why when I saw your last name I was happy and I am now seeking your co-operation to present you as Next of Kin/ Heir to the account, since you have the same last name with him and my bank head quarters will release the account to you. There is no risk involved; the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law.

It is better that we claim the money,than allowing the Bank Directors to take it,they are rich already. I am not a greedy person,  (hahaha!)

so I am suggesting we share the funds, 50/40% to both parties, and 10% for Expenses, my share will assist me to start my own company which has been my dream. Let me know your mind on this and please do treat this information as TOP SECRET. We shall go over the details once I receive your urgent response strictly through my personal email address.

We can as well discuss this on phone; let me know when you will be available to speak with me on phone. Have a nice day and God bless.

Anticipating your communication.

Dr. Allen William.


Dear Dr William

I don’t know if I can trust you!  It looks a bit fishy that there also are people who have gotten almost identical messages from Ghana….


Now, F**k Off!

Shafi was here!

It would not surprise me if there has been recent variants of Shafi with an array of different surnames. It’d be fun to know. Let me know in the comment section.

Image by Don Hankins via Creative Commons license
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Carnival of the Blue

Carnival of the blueThis is a blog carnival I often come back to. Very high quality posts about the sea and its creatures. Always something of interest. The  latest edition is hosted by Observations of a  Nerd.

Check it out, there are some great article. I particularly like the one about the unstainable shark-fishing.

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Scientia Pro Publica Blog Carnival

Scientia Pro Publica Image: wemidji (<a href"https://www.flickr.com/people/jmarcx/">Jacques Marcoux</a>).

Scientia Pro Publica Image: wemidji (Jacques Marcoux).

Once in a while you come across compilations of links that are worth a much larger readership. Scientia Pro Publica blog carnival is one of those. This is a fantastic source of information about current research carried out in a wide array of fields with mainly  Natural History and Medicine explained in simple words, ergo for the People!

The only criticism I have, is that the blog carnival would probably have caught my eye long before if it in fact had been called Science for the people, rather than using a phrase in Latin.

A new edition is out, and I submitted a post for the first time.  I suggest you pay a visit to Mauka to Makai blog of marine biologists Kelsey Abbott and Peter McDougall to scroll through the great reading you find here.

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Gunnar’s weekly Twitter-links

There are several reasons why it is a good idea to summarize the links that one has shared on Twitter in a blog post. First of all just sharing on another platform is a good idea. Not everyone is on Twitter, and this gives other a chance to discover what you are sharing. You may be sharing the some of the same  things on Facebook, but rarely all – and only your Facebook Friends will be able to see them anyway. On this  platform anyone can see them.

Secondly, the items are searchable on your Blogging platform. More than once have I looked for things that I have tweeted in the past, and had a hard time to find them. This is easily avoided now with a search.

This post is also searchable on Google now. This both gives content to my web-page and makes it easier to find on general Google searches for specific keywords.

The application I use is Twitter tools for WordPress. It automatically, makes a blog post of your tweets. Then I edited the tweets for about an hour into the categories below. Hope you find this useful.

Peru birding and news from Kolibri Expeditions

  • Some ID nuts to crack from a trip at sea on Nov 18. Who is good on Tern and Skua ID? https://bit.ly/83YIb2 #
  • How long will this continue? Unsustainable eco-tourism near Lima, Peru. Swimming with sealions. https://bit.ly/7SvHbK/ #
  • David Cook’s 2 sets of bird pics from Northern Peru! Some great shots here. https://bit.ly/5Lbg4t #
  • Where Will You Be in One Year? Join Corey Finger of 10000 birds on a trip to Peru https://bit.ly/893KrR #
  • Special offer for the days between xmas and new year. Dec 26-Dec 31 Satipo road – short 7 day tour FIXED DEPARTURE… https://bit.ly/6tDeBS #
  • Planning for a combined birding trip and holiday with the family in Thailand in mid-Feb. Should I announce it as a… https://bit.ly/7ROVYG #
  • Here are some bits and pieces from the last Kolibri Expeditions newsletter and some funny videos in the end  https://bit.ly/7Qqbc7 #

Bird Conservation

Birding in general US

Birding in general all around the world.

Social Media for birders

  • How to customize your Facebook NewsFeed to only contain the friends that interact with you https://bit.ly/5qMOt2 Pls ReTweet. #
  • How to read and comment a complete blog carnival in 59 minutes! I and the bird #114 https://bit.ly/7y5HJk #

Other interesting links.

  • How to feed the world? Interesting article to debate! Check all the comments in the Economist https://bit.ly/76XUin #
  • Must see video. Join the animals in this song/christmas carol. https://bit.ly/7Hih0X Thanks Amanda Smith for sharing on FB #
  • RT@burdr: Beer for birdwatchers? “Tactical Nuclear Penguin” is the strongest beer in the world via BBC https://bit.ly/5Cxnzs #

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This site should become a tourist attraction!

Oilbird. Quebrada Quiscarrumi km 515. Moyobamba-Tarapoto. Photo: Gunnar Engblom

On June 18, I was on my way to Tarapoto with a group. Below Moyobamba at Quebrada Quiscarrumi and km 515.5 here is a bridge over this deep narrow gorge.

Puente Quisquarrumi

We stopped here because I heard hundreds of White-eyed Parakeets gathering to a roost at 5.30 pm and consequently I discovered the gorge. It was so dark in the bottom, it seemed likely it would have oilbirds. Not before long, they could be heard and seen from the bridge it self. As we stood there a couple of hundreds White-collared Swifts came swooshing by almost hitting our heads. We stuck around to 6.10.

On the past trip in November, the Oilbirds could be seen again. This time we made a stop in the middle of the day. Still, they could be seen quite easily. The pictures above were taken at this ocassion. Taken with tripod and 400mm lens from the bridge. The pics are cropped hard.

It may be the easiest Oilbirds to see in the world. Has anyone heard of oilbirds one can see simply from the road side like this.

I talked to some people in Moyobamba, who frequently works with tourists and no-one had heard of the possibility to see oilbirds here.
But they mentioned a cave that used to have oilbirds, but with a lot of visitors, the oilbirds had simply left. They speculated that the new site had been colonized by the birds who had left the cave?
What do you think?

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This one got away!

Red-legged Cormorant. Photo: Gunnar Engblom

Red-legged Cormorant. Photo: Gunnar Engblom

For November 18 there were 8 people ready to do a pelagic tour, but no matter how hard I tried, there was no boat suitable to take us. There are only three boat owning companies that have permits to operate with tourists in Lima.  One boat was too large – and weeks before the trip already occupied, the boat we have used in the past has propulsion problems and been in dock several times the last year, but seems never to get it fixed. For this particular departure, we were told it should be ready…..but alas it wasn’t. The third company has open speed boats without toilet.  We got very wet the last time last year –  my camera was destroyed. It was my last resort and certainly not my favorite substitute. But that did not work either. One idea remained, to go to Paracas and charter an open boat there, but it meant a surcharge at around 100 dollars per person, and some people in the group were not prepared to take that.

So we ended up doing a short trip to the sea-lion colony on a nearby islet called Palomino. Not what we expected. One passenger asked whether to bring bread crums for the ducks in the pond.

End result: very common birds photographed  and, as I blogged about the other day,  two good ID-nuts to crack – a Skua and two Terns (now supplied with comments from Alvaro Jaramillo). I also already ranted about how eco-tourism should not be carried out in my blogpost about Swimming with the sealions  in  Until Jaws or Willy comes along.

We also visited the excellent Poza Arenilla mudflats at la Punta  before the boat trip. On the way there we stopped at a recently reliable stake-out for Peruvian Thick-knee along “La Costanera” highway.  The boat-trip was pleasant and the Pisco Sours small but repeated!

Peruvian Thickknee.

Peruvian Thickknee. Photo: Gunnar Engblom

Here is a sample of the birds we did see, which hardly made up for not seeing all those tube-noses we did not see, but at least gave us a pleasant days birding.  Three of the people asigned to the pelagic cancelled. When you want tubenoses, you want tubenoses. It is not negotiable!
But the Chilean Skua and the South American Terns were good.

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Newsletter summary

The lekking males can be seen December to April at our private reserve. Marvelous Spatuletail. Photo: Alejandro Tello

The lekking males can be seen December to May at our private reserve. Marvelous Spatuletail. Photo: Alejandro Tello

Thought I’d share with you some content from the last newsletter sent out about 10 days ago. I have done some editing, so please have a read through again if you already read this once. Another newsletter is in the pipeline. If you have not signed up, please do so now to the right. You will get blog summaries, notes on upcoming trips, discounts and special offers. This particular newsletter is a compilation of 6 weeks of posts and hence way too long. Future newsletters will be shorter.

In this issue:

  • Upcoming trips Dec-Jan
  • Request for suggestions for fixed departures 2010
  • Blog posts by Gunnar since the last newsletter.

    1. Fascination by Mega twitches, new species to science, re-discovered species and critically threatened species.
    2. Social Media
    3. Peru
  • Recommended links the last month from Gunnar’s Twitter and Facebook stream.

Upcoming trips December-January.

After our busiest November in Kolibri Expeditions’s 11 years in business, December is slowing down somewhat. In fact a month ago we did not have a single booking. But now we have 3 upcoming trips that are confirmed in December and will run regardless of number of number of people and one trip that needs more takers.

In January, 2009 there are more trips. Some are already full, but we can open space on other trips if we get demand.

The rest of the year 2010?

There are still very few departures scheduled for 2010. And in the coming two weeks, we shall start filling the calendar. I would like your help.Are you ready to interact with me? I am playing with the idea of offering some fixed departures for max 10-12 people, with 2 fixed top well prepared guides (not only for birds), fixed (good very compatible) price and fixed dates. What do you think?

When and where should the tours go? How long should the programs be. One idea which is already happening is promoting the community lodges in Manu through the blogging tours, but one may also do a longer trip to maximise the yield. There are also the community programs in Central Peru of various lengths (one week or Birding Carpish and Satipo road 18 days). We may also want do offer some more comfortable trips ot Manu and Amigos as well as North Peru.
For Amigos, I am playing with an idea of offering a 14 day workshop at Amigos in September to learn rain forest species both by sight and ear ending with a BIG DAY attempt – and a go at the world record. Have to break 332 species for the record of one site!
North Peru could have a combined Cactus/Orchid/Butterflies and Birds trip in January-April. Furthermore the lek of Marvelous Spatuletail is active between December and May and can be sampled in trips as short as 5 days or 7 days.
Please send me a lot of comments.
I have a several other trips piled up that needs to enter the web-page and the calendar – work for the coming two weeks. Several trips in Asia with Ashley Banwell, a trip to Guyana/Suriname/Roraima in SE Venezuela and possibly trips to Bolivia, Colombia and NE Brazil as there are already requests for these areas.
Also contemplating maybe make our family holiday in mid-February to Thailand into a tour. Are there other couples of mixed birder/non-birder that would like to squeeze in tropical birding in Thailand during a family holiday? Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Guerney’s Pitta, elephants, tigers (tiger temple), temples, thai food, beaches, mangroves, theme parks. Our kids are 7 months and 3 years by then.

Gunnar’s Blog

Recommended links from my Facebook streams.

I would have included links from Twitter here as well, but this got quite voluminous as is, so I won’t this time.

The number one link was without doubt the BBC high speed footage of the Marvelous Spatuletail lek from the series Life – presented by David Attenborough. A bit bitter-sweet though, because our protegé Santos Montenegro was paid peanuts (290 US$ for 3 weeks of work) and no funding was secured to protect the lek-site on the small reserve which Kolibri Expeditions have funded by raising the money so Santos could buy the land. I am preparing a longer blog post about this issue during the coming days so please check in later – and BBC will be approached. I am sure it wasn’t intentional not to give a larger donation for the conservation project of the lek.side. Needless to say, I was not involved in the filming. I was however approach in an early stage of BBC:s planning and did recommend both Santos and our reserve as well as mentioning the importance of securing the site.
In any case, if you want to see this lek live and in action – the only known place in the world where it can be seen with certainty is within Santos and Kolibri ‘s reserve between December to May.

Seabrooke Leckie is a blogger who is invited by us to blog at the Manu-Amarakaeri community eco-tourism project that Kolibri is support. Her blog explains it all – this is what it is all about. Learn how your trip to Manu can help the local indigenous community

Jean Paul Perret has done some excellent blog posts on Neotopical birds that I highly recommend. For example.
Some trip reports from Peru – not necessarily in our regime – are always worth sharing:
Niall Perrins from South Africa has a report from North Peru and Lima.
Rick Hoyer from Wings has made an excellent trip report in 19 parts from his Lima-Cuzco-Machu Picchu-Manu recent trip on his blog. Here is part 1. Nice to see a trip report that also include plants and critters.

Birds elsewhere

Disturbing pictures how albatross chicks on Midway are fed garbish and died from it.

Superb Lyrebird special by Paul Hurtado

Susan Myers blog post about Asian Owls was featured in the Blogger ‘s Tweet Club.

Other links:

If you ever wondered what I did in my previous life, well here is the answer. I was a punk-rocker singer/song-writer. Turning 50 next year, was probably the trigger that “forced me” to set up a My Space page for my music project “Guran Guran”. Now, you can be nice and say its good – not to hurt my feelings.
The Cow-parade finally made it to Lima. Took my family to see part of it last Sunday.
Laura Miller book review: Why can’t we concentrate?
Twitter and e-mail aren’t making us stupider, but they are making us more distracted. A new book explains why learning to focus is the key to living better.

Funny videos shared on Facebook:

Old secretary back to work again!

Swedish Midsummer – German banned IKEA advertising.

The biggest snake found dead. (Not for faint-hearted)

Bathroom break.

What to not do on a one-night stand.

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How to read a blog carnival!

iandthebirdlogoolive-largeSo you participated in a blog carnival! Do you read the other posts in the blog carnival you participated in. What? You rarely have time?  In this carnival there are 23 blogs represented.  How long time does it take to read one? Usually not that long. Maybe two minutes each. Do you have 46 minutes to spare – and maybe half a minute to comment each blog? This is how to read and comment the entire I and the bird in 59 min. Obviously, you may use this same strategy if you are not participating in IATB  to read and comment – or you can use the same strategy to other blog carnivals or my birdbloggers Tweet-club (new edition coming shortly..sorry for the delay).

23 blogs read and commented in 59 minutes.

Materials needed:

  • A large Screen so you can have two windows opened at once.
  • A mouse or scroll pad
  • a timer
  • open a note pad on the screen and fill in four rows
    your name
    blog address of your blog
    I really liked the picture of ….

This is to copy and paste fast to the fields in the blog comment form.

Step by step instructions.

  1. Open I and the bird #114 by Susan Myers in a new window – not a just a tab.
  2. Press ctrl with one finger as you scroll the cursor (with the mouse or scroll pad) over each link and click left for each. One by one the blogs will open in new tabs. Start from the bottom, so my blogpost comes first! (Just kidding!!)
  3. set the timer on 2 minutes 30 seconds – and start with the first tab.
  4. Check the title and the photos first. Here you get an idea what the blog is about. If the topic is not very interesting to you…give it a very brief treatment …but still leave a comment of something likable you have detected. Use your notepad to copy and past to the comment section and say something nice regarding one of the photos.
  5. Now repeat 3 and 4 with the next tab.’

Let me know if this strategy worked in the comment section below.

The future of “I and the bird” blog carnival

Still, even with this sound approach it is a bit overwhelming with so many blogposts in one place. Also, it is not an easy task to host a blog carnival. There are so many good birding blogs now on Natureblog Network, so in reality there should not be too difficult to find a host for IATB. Still, there are often a bit desperate call for more hosts – and this probably has to do with that many old-timers simply feel it takes too much time and effort to host.

Recent IATB I have participated in have had many weaknesses. First of all, they don’t produce that many visits to my web-page. Usually only around 5 hits.  Secondly, some of the material is really dull. The idea is that the bloggers should give examples of their best blogging posts. Hand on the heart, was that your best post you just submitted? Thirdly, there are too many posts included that lose focus of the hosting blog and scare off the regular visitors rather than the other way around.  In the end it is only the same bloggers that will check out if their post made it. Some may read a few blogs – or at least comment that they intend to and never to open the carnival post again.  It is the same circus and participants over and over again and the same people that comment.

Questions to ask yourself

Who are you blogging for and why are you participating in blog carnivals? Was it not because y0u wanted to reach new audiences?

I think, if I may give my opinion, that IATB is in need of some new guidelines. It is not for me to impose of course, but a discussion on the topic may be fruitful. Here are my suggestions. Please give your thoughts in the comment section.

  • Let the host select his favorites and maybe even rank them. If the blog host does not include all posts, there will be more interest from the participant to provide a post that is in the liking of the host and suits his blog well. After all, the whole idea is to get the usual reader of the blog to discover new blogs and this will not happen if there is no connection to the hosts interest and style.
    If the host is Singapore Nature Club, what point is there to have 6 posts about birds at feeders in the US on this blog carnival? Most US bloggers would have a hard time getting selected by the Singapore host.  A blogger from the US would have much better chance of acceptance if he/she rather included a blog post with great photos of colorful or impressive birds such as Cardinal, BlueJay, Bald Eagle and Gold-Finch and a title like “The five most mind-blowing beautiful birds of North Americans”.
  • Give a tweetable headline and a short url so that the individual reader can re-tweet a post that he/she has liked
  • include a picture from each selected blog with the link.
  • Maybe, in fairness to the poor bloggers that did not make it to the top 10, 15 or 20 or whatever, one could make a second post containing a list of the blogposts that did not make it, with title and short url, so at least there is a back-link provided. Saying something like: Here is a follow-up to yesterday’s IATB with a list of the posts that did not make it to be included in my selection. This does not mean they are not of interest, only that they did fit this time.

Now shoot me!

Related posts regarding Blog Carnivals and the Tweet-club.

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