It was difficult wasn’t it to identify my willets yesterday?
Alright! I give you some hints. Here are the best identification articles for Willet subspecies. You ought to pay more attention to these since they are bound to be split very soon.
The pelagic was cancelled last Saturday, so instead we started the morning at Pozo Arenillas at La Punta.
I got some pics of Willets. Since they are likely in for a split. I would like to invite the readers of this blog to help me identify them. Of great use is “The Shorebird Guide” by Michael O’Brian, Richard Crossley and Kevin Karlson.
I could do it myself but leaving for Huanuco in 10 minutes, so I’d thought I’d send you a quiz – instead of an ordinary blog post.
If you use wordpress, this is done automatically to other wordpress blogs (supposedly I should say, because there have been some problems reported lately related to WP 2.7. I will let you know how and if it works). To relate other blogs, you specify the blog address in the trackback box. For Blogger there is no trackback function, but you can activate linkback that simulates the service. For more advanced trackback, that you may also want to consider check Haloscan. A couple of years ago Haloscan was standard for trackback for Blogger blogs, but since there is little mention of Haloscan from recent years, my guess, without penetrating too much how this works on Blogger, is that the linkback service has improved and covers much what you need in this respect. Please comment, to let me know how it works. I did a small test in my post about Nature Blog Network blog the other day, and it seemed the pings worked fine with WordPress but only a link showed in those Blogger accounts that had activated linkback. I still have not found a blog that uses Haloscan, so I can’t give any opinion, but as far as I understand it should give a short quote.
Give a little Link-love to each other!
In a series of blogposts, I shall use this technique to comment other blogs and fish for readers to my own blog this way. I suggest you do the same. You probably heard of Blog Carnivals. Well, they work very much in this way. There is no reason why you can not, every once in a while host your own little carnival. While I am at it, I am adding every blog I write about to my Google Reader, and also put a link to my blog roll – and I hope you link back to me and add me to your readers as well.
I am not yet sure exactly what form this will take, but it is likely to be something like “news in my reader”. I am also considering setting up my own carnival for a young birders up to 22 years old that are blogging. More on that in another post. Let me know what you think about this idea?
Some new blogs in my blogroll.
I have read quite a few blogs the last weeks, some for the first time. I am surprise how many good blogs are out there that I had not heard of before. I know many of you would like to get more readers, so a mutual interchanging of mentioning other blogs and specific posts should work for everyone’s benefit.
I have choses to group my blog roll to different categories.
As I mentioned in my last blog I am doing an e-course during 31 days held by Problogger Darren Rowse. Some great tips are shared. Pretty amazing, this guy got 1000 people signed up to the course. Best part it is free. 11 days have past and it has been extremely useful. One task is to write a blogpost linking to others. In fact I had already, planned to do a blog-roll prior to the asignment, but the course is so good, that the least I can do is to pay a mentioning in my blog. Darren also runs a very popular blog for digital photography.
Nutty birder is a blog by two young brothers Eric and Rob Ripma who blog about birds, wildlife and nature photography. I particularly zoom in on their post on plover identification, that they presented a couple of weeks ago. Hand on the heart, can you ID the plovers in this quiz? If not they provide a key with the key features to look for.
Some birders have been generous in retweeting my blogposts that I have sent out on Twitter. This is much appreciated of course. How to pay back? Well, for starters I tend to check out their blogs and just yesterday I found Laura Kammermeier’s excellent blog called Birds, Words and websites. The title is well choosen, because Laura is a writer and web-consultant and an avid birder. In happenend to land on part 2 of her story about chase for Black-headed Gull at Niagra Falls. I love this story. She says that finding the Black-headed Gull among a couple of thousand Bonnies is like that famous needle in the haystack.
Rachel Jenkins of Rachelbirder has also been generous with retweeting. She blogs about the wonderfuil nature around the farm where she lives in eastern Kentucky and has some automatic cameras on the trails that catch photos of wild turkeys, deer, foxes and racoons. One of these days, there may be a Puma, as she has found tracks nearby. In her blog there are lots of photos of nature. THe last post has an immature Bald Eagle as the star of the show.
A DC Birding Blog by John Beetham – aka Dendroica is one of my favorite blogs. John is generous with retweets on Twitter and also fast on giving advice to anyone stuck with a query. His knowledge and span of blog topics make this a blog I often come back to. I am interested in splits (who isn’t?) so the recent news on the New Crossbill aptly covered by Dendroica is picked to illustrate his blog.
Another top 10 birding blog is BirdFreak run by Eddie Callaway and Jenniger Outcalt. This has all the qualities in the world to become BIG. They do a lot of work to try to get kids to start birdwatch and have written two good downloadable manuals. They also host a weekly event called Bird Photography Weekly and do great bird book reviews. I have chosen to illustrate the blog with a book review of the Swedish bird painter Lars Jonsson (A hero to me ever since I started birding). His new coffee table book is called Paintings from a near Horizon.
Dawn has a bloggy blog, I often come back to. She lives with her husband Jeff in a motorhome after having sold the house 7 years ago and now lives a nomadic lifestyle travellign all over the US. The blog is one of the best out there with a very attractive design. I have chosen to illustrate her blog with a recent unsuccessful morel hunt, that instead gave an owl. Stalking the wild Morel. Who gives a Hoot?
Last but not least. I am about to start a new carnival for young birders up to 22 years old. Ali Iyoob in North Carolina is only 14, but already a blogger since a month back. His blog is called “Ali’s birding Journal – the life of an obsessed birder. Here is a teaser Photo Quiz.
Hope you liked this little carnival. If all start facilitating the backlink option on Blogger and check out the Haloscan software, let me know how it works for you and if you start getting more readers and subscribers this way. Please send me suggestions of blogs of birders up to 22 years old.
There is hardly a nature blogger who is not checking out their statistics on Nature Blog Network.
Yes, I adm¡t it! I am also following how my blog is doing compared to other birding blogs. This can be done selecting only birding blogs. I have reached 11 at the highest – and right now at a modest 21. Sometimes I am checking out the statistics so much that I forget to write blogposts!. Today is obviously not such a day.
In a recent posting they summerize some Nature Blogs in South America and I am happy to see that my blog is mentioned and recommended. (Less happy that my name is misspelt – but that is alright – you should just see what they have done to my last name Engblom in this country! Spanish speaking people have a hard time to tackle more than two consonants in a row – and when they do they need to put a wovel before everything i.e Speak eSPANISH. Engblom has four consonants in a row and that is asking for trouble, Many times it comes out Em-blong! Poor Luciana Engblom 2 years old! Maybe I should change my name translating it to its Spanish meaning – Flor de la Pradera? Update: My name has been corrected now. Thanks Nate!).
More South America Nature Blogs
Ooops, I think I lost my thread there for a while and got distracted. Anyway, check out the above link for some suggestions. I should mention two other excellent birding blogs from Peru and a blog ifrom Brazil that I also follow closely that are not mentioned on the site.
PS: I am experimenting with pings and trackbacks on this post, so a teaser-comment from this post shows in the comment sections to particular posts I am metioning above. Let me know if they don’t show.
Birdwatching is a specialized hobby. The birdwatchers aim to see hundreds of birds during a holiday in Peru. However, there are certain birds that transcend to more normal tourists. Some birds that you don’t have to be a birdwatcher to appreciate. Those birds that will leave an impact on anyone who lays eyes on them. These kinds of birds become banner species and tourist attractions and could be decisive to turn a non-birder into a birder. They are also important for conserving habitat and supporting local small scale businesses which often give direct revenue to local communities. I hereby present the 11 most important birds in Peru as tourism attractions.
Emblematic bird of the Andes. 100.000 people travel yearly to Colca Canyon near Arequipa to see the mighty Condor. Kolibri Expeditions have found a good viable population in Santa Eulalia canyon only 3 hours from Lima, which also is a good place to see this majestic bird. You’d be surprised to learn that most tourists that come to Peru, those that do not visit Colca or Santa Eulalia Canyon, will not see a condor in spite it being such a tremendously important symbol of Peru and the Andes. The closest they will get is hearing “Condor pasa” – the Peruvian song Simon and Garfunkel made world famous. At every little coffee shop to every fine restaurant in Cusco you will hear it played with panpipes and charrango. You cannot avoid it – not escape it!
Strangely enough Peru has yet to raise the awareness of the importance of the species for eco-tourism in other rural areas. As such it may become an important cash cow for communities. This would change the present situation in many places where the species is persecuted and seriously threatened.
There are two major macaw-licks in SE Peru where these giant parrots descend on sunny clay river cliffs to ingest the clay with thousands of other parrots. The best one that attracts 5 species of macaws is situated in the Tambopata area near Tambopata Research Center. There is extremely important Macaw research going on here and you can help as a participant volunteer. See Tambopata Macaw Project. The other important one is downriver from Manu at Blanquillo near in vicinity of several lodges.
Wow! Exclamation mark is necessary! This surreal member of the Cotinga family has a wide distribution from Venezuela to Bolivia. It is one of the most colorful birds of the Andes. The males gather in “lek” – displays – where the perform ritual dances and make noisy grunts and shrieks. In many places leks have become tourism attractions. The most famous is perhaps next to Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge, but there are several places in Central and Northern Peru where leks also can be seen. Locally, it has become good incentives to conserve forest. Since the cock-of-the-rock is also un-officially national bird of Peru kids all over the country learn to appreciate it. Only five years ago, when traveling in Central Peru inquiring where I could see it, I was directed to the zoo or a man that allegedly had stuffed ones for sale! Things have changed now.
Its coral red bill and feet, and yellow and white waxy mustache on a slaty blackish body makes the Inca Tern the most beautiful Tern of the world. This specialty of the Humboldt Current is not difficult to see in large numbers. In many places it can be approached for a photograph. A spectacular event on the Lima pelagics is when the fish scrap leftover that is used to attract seabirds at the high sea is thrown out after the boat and up to a thousand Inca Terns come in to the stern.
Peru has yet to develop more places with hummingbird feeders, but the ones available are truly spectacular. My favorites are the following.
Amazonia Lodge at the bottom of Manu road, with specialties such as the rare Rufous-crested Coquette, Koepcke’s Hermit and Gould’s Jewelfront and another dozen of more common hummers such as White-necked Jacobin, Blue Emerald, Gray-breasted Sabrewing and Black-eared Fairy come to the garden with feeders and blue vervain in front of the ample porch of the main building..
Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel the luxurious hotel with precious subtropical gardens decorated with orchids and bromeliads at the foot of Machu Picchu next to Aguas Calientes village. The hotel also have dozens of well maintained hummingbird feeders spread out in the compound open only to its guests. The specialties include Gould’s Inca, White-bellied Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Chestnut-breasted Coronet and Booted Racket-tail.
Cock-of the-Rock Lodge on the Manu road, has a open veranda dining room looking out to the garden where tanagers are fed and Blue Vervain and feeders attract the hummingbirds. The specialties include Violet-fronted Brilliant, Many-spotted Hummingbird, Wire-crested Thorn-tail, Booted Racket-tail and many more.
If I should choose just one hummingbird species in Peru this would be the one. It is the most spectacular Hummingbird in Peru. The male has long streamers ending in blue rackets. It may not yet be a large tourist attraction since it occurs only in Amazonas department and a bit off the beaten track for most general tourists coming to Peru, but it is certainly on the birdwatcher’s radar on the Northern Birding Circuit and the principle attraction. Kolibri Expeditions has initiated a project here together with local farmer Santos Montenegro obtaining funds through our clients allowing Santos to buy some land from his neighbors. The idea is to turn the small reserve to a Hummingbird information center.
Flamingos are big tourist attractions all over the world, and the Chilean Flamingo in Peru is not an exception, especially since legend has that the flamingos San Martin saw in Paracas before leading the liberation from Spain, inspired to the design of the Peruvian flag. There is not a person in Peru, that is not familiar with this story. Unfortunately, many flamingo colonies are well off the beaten track, except that of wintering flamingos still present at the Paracas bay. One may hope however those remote flamingo colonies could be integrated in sustainable tourism packages and this way supply income to local communities at the same time protecting the colonies. The practice common is the past to scare the colony to take flight for a photograph, is fortunately no longer carried out. It seems to me that Peruvian awareness for the well being of the natural attractions has increased in recent years.
Without being a particularly rare bird, the Hoatzin inhabits lake sides. It prehistoric looks, similar to the Archaeopteryx and the fact that the young have claws in the wings, make it a tantalizing. The hisses it makes add to its pre-historic image. It occurs in colonies and is mostly not hunted because its meat is smelly and not good. It has constantly bad breath as its digest is completely leaves which are fermented in the crop. Hoatzin can be seen in many places in the Amazon. Most photogenic perhaps at Amazonia Lodge.
Paracas has been the traditional place where many tourists come in contact with the species for the first time while visiting the sea-lion colonies at Ballestas Islands. In recent years however trips have been arranged to sea-lion colony at Islas Palomino from Callao, Lima, where also the Penguins occur and this is a time effective alternative to Paracas. Recent studies show that Humboldt Penguins are very sensitive to disturbance – much more so – than its close relative Magellanic Penguin that occurs in Patagonia and with colonies that attracts tens of thousands of visitors. Fortunately, there are no colonies in Peru that are accessible to tourists to walk around in. The large colony at Punta San Juan near Nazca is closed to the public.
Other places where one can see Humboldt Penguin include Pucusana and the new San Fernando reserve close to Nazca.
A highly dimorphic beautiful duck specialized living its life in streaming water and fascinating to watch. One of the best place to see them is at Aguas Calientes below Machu Picchu. In fact, they can often be seen looking out the window from the train to Machu Picchu.
In spite of being a bird breeding on the Galapagos, practically all individuals of the species will spend considerable time in Peruvian Waters in its lifetime when not breeding. The pelagic birdwatching and whale-watching trips from Lima has made it possible for larger numbers of people to see an albatross at relative ease. Waved Albatross is critically threatened due to high adult mortality in recent years. In spite of being one of the smaller albatrosses, with 2.30m wingspan it is still impressive and a highlight for anyone venturing to sea to see it.
This article was brought to you by Kolibri Expeditions. Kolibri Expeditions runs tours everywhere in Peru and can take you to all these birds, providing a full-fledged birding holiday or a holiday to culture and nature on a more general level.
Special thanks to Tim Ryan of The faraway, nearby blog, for letting me use his Macaw pictures from Tambopata. All other pictures by Gunnar Engblom and Alex Duran (Rufous-crested Coquette and Torrent Duck). GE´s and AD´s pictures may be used under creative commons license. Link and acknowledge this page. Thanks.
Who says I only do Social Media on my blog? Carajo!
Luciana is both too young to use binoculars or a camera. But she can check the screen!
Maybe someone who actually regularly reads my blog can enter a vote and write a review for this blog on Nature Blog Network. I got a grade 2 of 5. I haven’t done so poorly in any task since I got a 2 (Swedish 5 grade mark system in schools) in 2nd grade primary school at age 8 in Christianity, cause I did not like that the teacher made the fairy tales told sound like it was the truth! (Christianity later became Religion studies – an overview of all the worlds religions – in which I did very well), Anyway, my pride has been hurt and I am set to bore my readers with some extremely common birds in the Lima parks in this post just to put the birds of Peru back into the blog. It will be sort of a follow-up to my previous two posts on preferring digital camera instead binoculars for a beginner birder
The first part of these clips can be found here. Here is the second delivery of Keith Blomerly’s videos from the trip he did with Kolibri Expeditions in 2004 together with Simon Wotton, Richard Winspear and Guy Shorrock. These videos cover principally the Manu road and the lowlands. The birds species seen are mentioned in order. There are quite a few butterflies filmed as well if someone want to have a go identifying them.
Manu road, Pillahuata, Rocotal and Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge
Spectacular birding on the Manu road to Cock-of-the Rock Lodge with birds showing in this order Saffron-crowned Tanager, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Golden-headed Quetzal, Woolly Monkey, Highland Motmot, Blue-banded Toucanet and Versicolored Barbet, Brown Capuchin, female Wire-crested Thorntail, Russet-backed Oropendola, Andean cock-of-the-rock, Dusky-green Oropendola, White-bellied woodstar, Wire-crested Thorntail, White-bellied Woodstar, Variable Antshrike and Hooded Tinamou.
Cock of the Rock Lodge and Manu Amazon Lodge. Blanquillo Macwa lick.
Starting at Cock-of-the-rock Lodge on the Manu Road via Quitacalzones Bridge to Atalaya. Here a boat took us to Pantiacolla Lodge. From Pantiacolla the trip went on to Manu Amazon Lodge (formerly known as Manu Camping Lodge). A visit to the famous Macawlick is the final highlight of this section.
Species in chronological order Violaceous Jay, Lanceolated Monklet and Plumbeous Kite, Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher, Red Howler Monkey, White-browed Antbird, Squirrel Monkey, a brief view of a probable Yellow-breasted Warbling Antbird (collinsi form), White-winged Trumpeter, Wood Stork, Horned Screamer, Sand-coloured Nighthawk, Scarlet Macaw, Blue-headed Parrot, Orange-cheeked Parrots Mealy Parrot and Red-and-Green Macaw.
Manu Amazon Lodge, canopy Tower at Cocha Camungo and Cocha Camungo catamaran canoe trip.
First some birding near the lodge and then on to the Cocha Camungo area with canopy tower and lake. In the afternoon birding is near Manu Amazon Lodge.
Saddle-backed Tamarin, Striolated puffbird, Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Squirrel cuckoo, Purus Jacamar, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Neotropic cormorant, Sungrebe in flight, Greater Ani, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Striated Heron, Black-capped Donacobius, Squirrel, Llesser Kiskadee, Hoatzin, Amazon kingfisher, Blue-and-yellow macaw, Crested Owl, Razor-billed Curassow and female Plumbeous Antbird duetting with a male.
Cocha Blanco Lake Catamaran Canoes.
Mainly Cocha Blanco and Manu Amazon Lodge.
Birds filmed are Wattled Jacana, Amazon Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Ringed Kingfisher, Black-collared Hawk, Swallow-tailed Kite, Muscovy Duck, Least Grebe, Horned Screamer, Limpkin, Squirrel Monkey, Giant Otter, Amazonian Antwren, Sunbittern, Sungrebe, Ladder-tailed Nightjar, Red-necked Woodpecker, Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin and Undulated Tinamou, Black-fronted Nunbird, White-flanked Antwren, Spectacled Owl and Southern Chestnut-tailed Antbird.
The remaining 5 video clips by Keith Blomerley from the Kolibri Expeditions Manu trip in 2004 will be posted shortly on this blog. Stay tuned. Want to visit Manu. Check out our Manu page and the calendar. There are many different trip options at different prices depending on comfort level, time available and specific interest.
I am participating again with a posting on I and the bird # 97. This time the host is extinct for a long time – that is – Great Auk or the Greatest Auk? – and very wittily has asked two other dead – Charles Darwin and Edgar Allen Poe – to help out to guide you through this issue’s participating birding blogs. Don’t miss it and the great blogs it links to.
You have to embrace technology, to make someone into a birder!
Birders, how do you promote your hobby among non-birders? Do you tell them: “It is very easy. All you need are three things. Binoculars, notebook and field-guide”?
WRONG! That is sooo 1900s!
You have not understood the power of technology! As of this day and age – the 21st century – all a non-birder needs to become a birdwatcher are two things.
A 10-20x optical zoom “point and shoot” camera. Forget about binoculars, at least for the time being. Of course anyone sees the birds better with binoculars, but bring nothing home at the end of the day if only binocs are used. A camera is what makes the difference
Internet connection. To share with friends on Facebook, post the pictures on blogs and direct more experienced birders to these pictures for a positive ID.
A superzoom point and shoot cost between 100-400 dollars. With the free google picassa program the “new birders” can edit the pictures. And with a good photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop, he/she can even reduce noice and grain, improve the colors and delete features that disturbs the picture.
The best feature with a camera vs binoculars is that the camera can be used also for other things than birds. They usually have decent macro and wideangle that makes them great to document loads of things on the naturewalk. Additionally, they have a film function making quite poor quality film in small format, but which is perfect to upload straight away to You-tube.
Ask your kid or just anyone what he/she prefers. Binoculars or a 15x P&S camera? I think you already know the answer!
Steve Ingraham’s blog on the topic is helpful. Steve uses a Sony DSC H9. Also check Steve’s other blogposts, becuase there is much to learn about point and shoot photography. Steve, quite obviously has a lot of knowledge about photography and uses the camera’s many functions with perfection. When it comes to shooting at extreme magnification you need to know what you are doing for best results. Having said this, these cameras are quite inexpensive, so anyone can learn a lot just from trial and error. And in case you missed this: You don’t have to pay for film anymore!!
A large number of incipient birders in Peru post pictures on the pics and files ID-section of my web-page project Birding Peru. Many of them don’t even own binoculars. Scroll through the lists and and you will find many Peruvian ringing names.
I have the privilage knowing Guto Carvalho, who organizes AVISTAR birding festival in Brazil to almost entirely to a Brazilian public. Birdwatching was practically unknown to most Brazilians just a half a decade ago. During the 3rd year of organizing AVISTAR 2008 in Sao Paolo, there were over thirty thousand visitors to the fair. Last year was the second edition of the bird photo competition and over 7000 photos were submitted by close to 5000 photographers of 650 species.
Birders and naturalists must start embracing technology rather than shun it. It is the only way, to get nature’s voice heard and to recruit the new generation of nature lovers in this day and age. Below are some examples of cameras available from Amazon. The cheapest one is only 103 dollars! How much binoculars do you get for that, I wonder? The kid would be stuck with something, with absolutely no use – except for birding!
No disease, but I knew I was going to see something good on this pelagic, as it was only the second one ever organized. The last trip organized in July 2008 has several good species that I have accounted for in a previous blog-post.
This trip was completely different. The sea was completely calm. In fact. it was quiet and birdless at times since there was no wind, but when we saw birds they were very good ones. And we saw both Blue Whale (see picture above) and Bryde’s Whales, as well as some 15 Green Turtles. And my lifers? Parkinson’s Petrel and Flesh-footed Shearwater. The Sooty Tern, which I had previously seen on Tobago, was my Peru tick.
Flesh-footed Shearwater. Note slender bill. First time photographed in Peru.
Parkinson’s Petrel. We saw 80 of this species. Noticing they were about the same size as Flesh-footed Shearwater but much smaller than White-chinned Petrel which was also seen on the trip.
Finally, in spite that my pictures are rather poor (taken with a cheap Fuji 15x camera), they illustrate well the differences between Flesh-footed Shearwater and Parkinson’s Petrel (aka Black Petrel). But not as well as this extrordinary photo by Stever Arlow. Do visit his fine site Birders Playground and especially his photos of birds from New Zeeland.
Next pelagic organized by Kolibri Expeditions run on April 18 from Callao, Lima. The next pelagic in Tumbes is scheduled for Nov 8. More surprises then?