Newsletter

Newsletter from Gunnar Engblom

This is a very exciting newsletter with10 topics, for example The-Best-Bird-of-the-World Cup, an attempt to break the Big DAY World Record, the Future of Birdwatching, How to Niche an Ecolodge into a Birding Lodge, stunning Bird Photography from Peru by Glenn Bartley and several articles from Peru about our recent AvistarPeru event in Lima, Pelagics, Whalewatching, the popular selection of a New National Bird of Peru, etc.

It is a bit long to read completely, so I have done teasers so you can click through to get the full story for each article. Mark this mail to read it later and please consider sending it forward to a birding friend. I hope you like it.

TIP: If you use lots of different devices, such as Ipad, laptop and a smartphone with Internet I suggest you try Instapaper which works like magic to transform web-pages to reader-friendly articles you can save for later reading across the devices.

Saludos

Gunnar

1. Bird World Cup

Make sure you follow this exciting December game to choose the Ultimate Bird of the World.  Right now we are playing Quarter finals.  The games are as follows:

  • Spoon-billed Sandpiper vs Kakapo
  • Marvelous Spatuletail vs Wandering Albatross
  • Harpy Eagle vs Wilson’s Bird-of-Paradise
  • Philippine Eagle vs Shoebill

How can one choose, when they all are good birds.  And why was your favorite missing? It didn’t make through round 2 (where you can see photos of all) last week nor the Facebook filter the week before.  Yet, here we are with 8 matches played and entering the quarterfinals.  Vote HERE!

2. The biggest Day

Ted Parker in action by Haroldo Castro.It is soon 30 years since legendary Neotropical superbirder Ted Parker set the amazing record of 331 species in 24h at Cocha Cashu together with Scott Robinson.

The year was 1982. Scott has later told me that they had around 300 species already by 11 AM, and that they from then on searched for more birds rather casually.

They did not have access to terra firme and did not use motorized vehicles. The record was beaten in Kenya by  John Fanshawe and Terry Stevenson who recorded 342 birds on a single day, but also using light aircraft.

I have often thought that these records could be beaten in Peru with modern playback equipment. This year it will happen.  In fact there shall be a competition between the US and Peru in September 2012 at Explorer’s Inn. BirdingBlogs’ Rich Hoyer is on the US team and I am on the Peru team.  The whole thing shall likely be filmed by Adventure Birding TV. Read more about this birding event of the year on Birdingblogs.com……
Maybe you want to join us?

3. The future of birding

I am wondering if traditional birding as we birders knows it really has a future.  You know, the whole listing game and the finer arts of bird identification.  Are Big Days or Big Years really that interesting to people in general?  Is twitching? Can birding really become main stream, and will listing be interesting enough for masses of people?  The only thing regarding watching birds that seems to become main stream is bird feeding, and hard-line birders argue that that is not really birding.

Did you ever wonder why there are more hunters in the world than birders? Why are there more people interested in fishing than in birding?  For all I know, there are probably even more stamp-collectors than birders.

Maybe that is the point. Birding is just a collection of observations. At the end of the day, you only write down in a notebook (or insert in a database) your observations – and if you are really lucky, you can put a tick in the check box in a yearlist or a lifelist or next to the bird’s name in the birdbook.

Take a look at yourself, and try to explain to a non-birder, that that is really exciting. A hunter or a fisherman at least gets a trophy. A stamp collector at least has the actual stamps. But YOU, what do YOU have?  You have a tick in a checklist!  Try to explain to the non-birder, that this really is more exciting than train spotting.
Read the rest of this article on Birdingblogs.com.

4. Jaw dropping bird photography from Peru by Glenn Bartley

Once in a while you come across bird photography that is so jaw-dropping that you simply want to throw your camera to the floor in dispair and scream “I need a new camera with a longer lens, more megapixels and a flash as strong as sunlight”.  Then  you buy a new camera only to realize that the results are still not what you wanted.  The simple truth is of course that you suck as a bird photographer.

Glenn Bartley is a professional photographer, who just returned from a 3 month trip in Peru, and has produced the best set of photos from Peru I have ever seen. Not only of common species, but some that are rarely photographed. The Long-whiskered Owlet for example at the top of this post, is of a species so rare that it has only been documented with some shaky video and a few half decent shots. I have only seen the bird once, and then it was a dark object flying from one perch to another without actually seeing the bird sitting.  That is all, after some 5-6 tries for the species.

Fortunately, for those of us who suck, Glenn organizes bird photography workshop in the Neotropics. I was fortunate enough to get Glenn to agree on an interview for Birdingblogs and I am allowed to share some of his amazing photos from Peru.  Check out the  rest of the interview with Glenn Bartley on Birdingblogs.com. Check this video too

5. How to niche a nature lodge to a birding lodge.

Ten years ago, the Wattled Curassow was thought to be practically extirpated from Peru. Then came rumors of sightings by fishermen from the fishing village of San Juan de Yanayacu. All of a sudden the Wattled Curassow was not only present in Peru, but in fact quite accessible.

Of the three areas in South American where you can spot one, Yanayacu is the easiest.  In Bolivia it is a very  long journey and at the site in the Brazilian Amazon, the birds are difficult to see.  So for a very special birds and a fantastic Varzea/Igapó experience the Yanayacu area has a secure place for visiting birders in the future.

I visited Amazon Refuge Lodge on Yanayacu. They have initiated a new program to turn the eco-lodge into a birding lodge with a 10 step program recounted here.  The strategy can be used for any lodge really. Check out 10 ways to turn an eco-lodge into a birding lodge.

6. Avistar Peru

I already talked about Avistar in the last newsletter that ran Nov 2-6, 2011.  just wanted to make a fast recap of the event.  It lasted 3 days in Miraflores. We had several excursions to near and afar. At least 5000 people attended the fair. 192 photographers participated in the bird photo contest.  Here you find the 10 best photos in the dslr category and in the compact camera categories.  Around 380 people went birding, most who had never been birding before.  We got quite good media coverage and we formed a small group of people who go birding together in the weekends.

Birding in Peru shall grow much in the way I discussed in “the future of birding” above. We can already see how people enjoy to share photos on the newly created groups  Facebook.com/avesdelima and Facebook.com/avesdePeru.

7. Peru’s national bird

Cock of the Rock IMG_8495 Gunnar EngblomUnofficially Cock of the Rock is the national bird of Peru, but it has never been established by congress or a presidential decree.  This void can be used to start debate in Peru  about the virtues of electing a new bird as national for the sake of conservation, of environmental education and simply as a tourist attraction.

The top seeded candidates in the first round are Marvelous Spatuletail, Condor, Cock of the Rock, Inca Tern and Junin Grebe.  Check out all 10 candidates on AvistarPeru (in Spanish).

By bashing up interest on Facebook, we hope that in the next stage we can present the idea to PromPeru (the state tourism agency) and Sernanp (the conservation agency) and the biggest newspaper in Peru and with their help take the contest with the 5 top candidates to the next level. In a similar program in Taiwan they got over 1 million votes between five candidates.  It would surely be a great publicity scoop for the birds of Peru when this happens. If you like to vote in the first round, check out the Facebook Question and vote.

8. Whalewatching in Lima

Peru is really megadiverse for Cetaceans. If you’re fascinated with whales and dolphins, and live off a coastline that harbors over a third of all cetacean species in the world , you’d be crazy not trying to go out there and see them. If you don’t live here, let me introduce you to 15 species you can see off Peru. Maybe, you’d like to come to Peru and see some of them. Check out the rest of this post if you like dolphins and whales.

9. 20 best pelagic birds of Lima, part 1

Ringed-Storm-Petrel-Oceanodroma-hornbyi Gunnar EngblomAbove is one of the most sought by the pelagic fanatics. The Ringed Storm-Petrel (aka as Hornby’s Storm-Petrel). We present the 10 best birds here, and hope that you can name the remaining ten for part 2, by adding your favorites to the list.

10. Kolibri Expeditions 2012

Finally a few sentances about Kolibri Expeditions programs in 2012. First of all until Dec 31, 2011, we are starting the VIP club.  For a contribution of $500 VIP club members get 10% off on all tours and several free daytrips in Lima, including pelagics, starting in 2012 for as long as they live. The $500 will be invested in infrastructure  for birders in Peru.  Hurry up, the offer ends on 31st of Decmeber.  Read more about it here.

Even if you don’t want to join the VIP club at this point, but still concider coming on a trip with us in 2012, do check out our tour Calendar. If you  order your trip with a deposit before Dec 31, you are entitled to our low 2011 prices. The calendar has many intersting trips such as Central Peru and Northern Peru with Marvelous Spatuletail coming up.  There are even trips to Argentina (Patagonia) and Chile with Juan Fernandez archipelago in this years program.

Finally, wishing everyone Merry Christmas – somewhat embarrising, but I wanted to offer you something really special – me singing, or whatever you shall call it.. so please don’t laugh.
This is for you! Merry Christmas!

Photo credits: Long-whiskered Owlet and Common Potoo Glenn Bartley, Marvelous Spatuletail by Roger Ahlman, Ted Parker photo by Haroldo Castro, Peruvian Birders by Barbara J. Fraser all other photos by Gunnar Engblom. All rights reserved.
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Kolibri News

The Kolibri Expeditions News has already reached our subscribers. Here is an extended version for you on line. Nevertheless, the newsletter is quite short this time and contains several special offers for the remainder of 2010 and 2011. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter, not to miss any important information.

British Birdwatching Fair 2010

If you happened to be at the British Birdwatching Fair and looked for me, you looked in vain. I could not go this time. In fact, in spite of it surely being a great social event, it seems a bit silly to use as a sales point. The cost to participate is high, when you add up the fees, the flight and the material one need to produce. Then consider the enormous amount of trees used to produce all those broschures and the fuel used to transport both exhibitors – across the globe – as well as visitors. What was that about global warming and the clearcutting of the forests again? Why not make a Virtual Birdfair on line instead? So I blogged about it on this link. See what you think!

Considering all the money I saved not going to the birdfair, I figured I could do some special offers instead to you and your friends. If you scroll down to the bottom you shall find the time limited Special offers. The offers are valid only to Sep 5.

Photo Safaris in Peru

Not all birders are listers, and when the photography becomes more important than the life-list, then hard-core birding and photography is not compatible. With the boom of digital photography and more and more people getting into birding via photography (and the other way around as well), we want to offer a new set of tours for photographers and videographers only. Right now our collaborator Alejandro Tello (birdguide and photographer) is writing up new itineraries.  A few have been uploaded to the web-page. Some of these are still in Spanish but will be translated within the coming week. The prices will also be set next week.

Here is a sample itinerary from the Coast. If you are interested in photography, contact us

Satipo road and Carpish

Cock of the Rock - by Ruth. Apaya-Calabaza. Satipo roadAs you know I helped Rainforest Partner ship with the fundraising for Satipo road and the Pampa Hermosa area. Over $15000 was raised.  From September there shall be proper beds at Apaya-Calabaza and a working shower with hot water.  In December it is planned the building of a community lodge will start! To celebrate we are giving extreme discounts for the remaining trips this year. It is a good idea that the area is commercialized now and this way by the time the lodge is ready there will already be a lot of birding information amassed and a demand created.  You find the itinerary here.

New Budget Tambopata trip a smashing success.

We just ran the new budget trip to Tambopata and Alex was a magician (again!).  He even managed to find a new species for Peru. Unicolored Blackbird – check that link! We have 5 trips coming up giving the great discount as mentioned above – time limited to Sep 5. On the first September 17 trip shall have a very interesting crew with myself, Alex (the magician), Rick Wright (from Wings and ABA) and young birder whiz Chris West plus two other clients. We have three spaces left only for $1180 including the flight from Lima. Don’t wait too long.
If you can’t make it on this one, you may come on the ones in October, November, December and January. This trip can be combined with Satipo road/Carpish and a Pelagic trip in between. Prior to the trip you may add a day at Machu Picchu and maybe a day at the Polylepis forest at Abra Malaga. The new budget trip you find here.

List price guarantee

The last offer is simply a pre-booking concept for 2011. We guarantee the list price based on groups of 7 people even if you are on your own on any trip. Read more on the relevant blogpost here.

Pelagics

I also must mention some pelagics. We had the first confirmed Chatham Island Albatros last year, this year the first photographed Brown Booby and a month ago first confirmed Westland Petrel with photos.

Westland Petrel

More from the July 26 pelagic here.

We have finally found a boat which is faster than the one we have used previously. It is an open large speedboat (that usually take 30 passengers) for a maximum of 12 birders – and 4 staff equipped with 2 brand new 100hp Yahama outboard engines.  This new boat shall allow us for extended stay at deep waters if necessary and their is a wish to do so. Since the boat is faster and get back to shore earlier, it also allows for some birding on shore (there is an excellent shorebird locality nearby at Poza Arenillas).  On the downside, it is an open boat, which means that you may get sprayed upon in higher seas.

Larger groups will be managed with the comfortable Catamaran we have used in the past.

Upcoming confirmed pelagics

Here are the confirmed upcoming pelagics for the remainder of the season.

  • Sep 9  Speed boat
  • Sep 25  Speed boat – extended itinerary
  • Oct 2 Catamaran
  • Nov 13 boat to be determined
  • Nov 26

So many reasons to come to Peru now!!

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Tawny Antpitta on Flickr - Michael Woodruff

Long due!

Long time since the last newsletter. Rather than doing another gigantic newsletter, I thought I’d put you in the loop what I (Gunnar) have been up to lately and where I will be in 2010.  Check this blog post regarding my whereabouts in 2010. It includes a 3 week Antpitta hunting trip in December from Tarapoto, Peru to Coca, Ecuador via north-western Ecuador and Canande Reserve. OK, there will be far more birds than Antpittas, but there are 20 species of Antpittas on our chosen route and we will try to see as many of them as possible. It is possible now as several of them are staked out at feeding stations. There are also hoards of hummingbirds on this trip, including Marvelous Spatuletail and Black-breasted Puffleg. Another exciting trip contains an attempt to break the BIG DAY world record – and you can join us.  Would you not like to record 332 species in 24hours? It would be the ultimate birdathon, wouldn’t it?

Meet-up! Tweet-up! Face-up!

I also plan to visit the British Birdfair in September and run a Marathon in Brazil in July (and do some birding of course). Maybe our paths will cross. It would be great to meet you`.

Life is full of encounters. Yesterday, on our Lima Pelagic (see photos here) I met with Martin Reid for the first time – a gull and hummingbird fanatic based in Texas whom I have known for 17 years on the internet and his partner Sheridan Coffey a blogger whom I have known on Facebook and through her blog since 2008, when I joined Facebook and started Blogging. It is great to put a face to a name. The magic of the times we live in. Internet and Social Media.  I shall be arranging Meet-ups, Tweet-ups and Face-ups to connect in real life once every month or so. I will let you know ahead of time where I am. Maybe some birding in Lima on May 29, a meet-up in Rio to hike for Gray-winged Cotinga in Serra dos Orgaos in July or a meet-up at the British birdfair in August.

Our own community on Facebook Pages

Talking about Social Media. A couple of years ago, I tried to start a community among Kolibri clients. We spent considerable time (and money) in programming, just to find the whole system very short of what I wanted. I wish I had known about Facebook then. On the other hand it was good to let Facebook mature to what it is today. The networks one can form today on Facebook are very useful for a brand. It is not about selling, but about connecting. It is more give than take.
The newest thing on Facebook is Facebook Pages. With Pages a community is created with anyone who have interest in learning more about a company, brand, organization or even celebrities. We created a Faceboook page and this have served Kolibri Expeditions very well with close to 1700 members as I write this. If you have not visited us please to so at http://www.facebook.com/KolibriExpeditions.  The advantage with a page is that it is open for anyone to see. You don’t need to be a Facebook member to see it. Our guides (and good photographers Alejandro Tello and Juan Jose Chalco) regularly put their bird photos there and our clients post their photos and comments from past trips.

Bi-weekly Newsletter

I am consciously making this newsletter short. Hopefully, I shall be able to post every two weeks from now on although in a couple of days, you shall receive a more detailed summery of our other upcoming trips, as well as links to some of my most popular blogpost and the most interesting links I have shared on Facebook and Twitter that hopefully you find useful. See previous newsletter to get an idea what kind of stuff I am sharing.

Comments?

Before, I sign off I’d like to emphasize how much I appreciate your comments. I truly believe that this space invites to communication and that we should take all the opportunity to listen to you. Please hit me back with comments on this content and what you would like to see here in the future.  Saludos  Gunnar.

Tawny Antpitta photo by Creative Commons license – Michael WOodruff
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Kolibri Expeditions bi-weekly Newsletter.

Golden-backed Tanager - one of the star birds possible during Kolibri Epxeditions Give-Away of 15 birding tours during 2010.

Golden-backed Tanager - one of the star birds possible during Kolibri Expeditions Give-Away of 15 birding tours during 2010.

I decided to present the full version on the Kolibri News directly on the blog today.  However, the give-away of free birding trips is only for the opt-in Newsletter. If you haven’t signed up yet, do so on the right of the blog.

In this issue:

  • Free birding trip in Peru
  • Upcoming trips – Fixed departures
  • Blog posts by Gunnar since the last newsletter
    A. Birding in Peru
    B. Fascination by Mega twitches, new species to science, re-discovered species and critically threatened species.
    C. Social Media for birders
  • Recommended external links the last month from Gunnar’s Facebook stream

Free birding trip in Peru

Last Saturday, I pulled a PR stunt, giving away 14 birding trips to Manu and Carpish/Satipo road in Peru. The give-away is still active if you follow the directions on my blog.  This is not just bold advertising for my company, but more than anything else an attempt to draw attention to birding areas that have communities that can be involved in the conservation of the same and initiate eco-tourism benefiting the same communities.

To be eligible for a free trip, you need to sign-up for our opt-in newsletter – if you have not done so already (there is a form on the blog), and you need to start sharing this link  http://bit.ly/8s830C where ever you can (Facebook, Forums, Blog, Twitter, Listservers for birders, Flickr, etc.).  The newsletter that will be sent out to you after you have signed up will contain all the additional information and rules that you need to participate.

Fixed departures-upcoming confirmed tours.

The Kolibri Expeditions Birding Tour Calendar for 2009 is beginning to take a more final shape. Our fixed departures have been placed here. There are still a couple of tours that need to be uploaded as fixed departures so do pop in later. I imagine by the end of the week it shall be complete. The give-away hosts will be announced on Christmas Day. The fixed departures shall have both a lower price and an expert leader designated well in advance. Some tours are promotional for new areas and some are an intention to get slightly larger groups so that we can give you a better price.  If you don’t find a departure to your favorite destination for your preferred dates, we can still arrange a trip for you. Just let us know your preferences.

Here are a few examples:

  • Satipo road – short 7 day tour FIXED DEPARTURE Guide: Jose Antonio Padilla. Before: $1085 Now: $868 based on 5 group of five people.. Support the local community at Satipo road. Birding like Manu road and several yet undescribed species. Dec 26, 2009
  • North Peru 1: Tumbes and pelagic FIXED DEPARTURE: One extra day in Tumbes forest (surcharge 120 US$). With pelagic from Punta Sal. Only 2 vacancies. Jan 4, 2010.
  • North Peru 2. Piura to Tarapoto. Featuring White-winged Guan, Marvelous Spatuletail, Crescentchest, Royal Sunangel, etc. Departure: Jan 9. More North Peru trips will be scheduled for later in the year.
  • Amigos SE Peru. The best birding in SE Peru. A place where you have a single base for your birding during the entire stay. 7 or 14 days. At least one departure per month leaving always on a Thursday. Can be arrange also on demand. On Sep 2, 2010 we arrange a lowland amazonian birding workshop. Learn how to separate all the Furnarides, Antbirds, Flycatchers and Woodcreepers by voice. The trip ends with a BIG day for the clients and finally on the last day an attempt for the 24h world record. Everyone should get a personal best.
  • Guyana, Suriname and Roraima (Guyanan Tepui area in Venezuela) 3 weeks. Start on March 27. Price to be announced. It is possible to make a shorter one or two week trip.  I am working on the details and the price for this tour the coming week.
  • Butterfly-watching. Trip in May in Central Peru is under production. Also a the trip to Manu Communities in December with Corey Finger will include a fair bit of butterflies.

Gunnar’s blog the last three weeks.

A. Birding in Peru.

B. Critically endangered species.

C. Social Media and Blog Carnivals for Birders

Recommended Links picked up on Facebook.

Kind of hard to chose a favorite external link from the past 3 weeks, but since Christmas is coming up and I just announced on my Facebook wall, that I don’t want people to put bulky Christmas greetings applications there (If you are on Facebook, you know what I mean – the hideous virtual gifts are worse than spam), I thought I had best show that I am not Scrooge or the Grinch, the following video has been viral on Facebook. Happy Christmas everyone.

Links about Peru

From the last newsletter, you may remember the story of the Peruvian human oil extractors – The Pishtacos. Dan Tallman who accompanied the LSU expeditions in Peru in the 70s, wrote a great comment on this blogpost about his experiences in Carpish in the 70s. Things have calmed down now and a visit to Satipo road last week had no incidents. Good to know for all of you who plan to host Central Peru in the freebie bird tour give away.

Just a few days after my post about the Swim-with-the-Sealions tourism activity in Lima, I find a local post (in English) that praises the whole thing. I just had to ventilate my thoughts in the comment section….and get insulted!
Check it out – and do leave a comment to show that I am not the only one thinking this is too much intrusion.

Diana Fruguglietti and Paul Ippolito posted some of their pictures from our recent Northern Peru trip. The pics are on Facebook, but with the new more lenient privacy rules I hope they can still be seen by all.

Alan Wilkinson did part of the North Peru trip and part of a Manu road trip with us. Here are his photos.

Rich Hoyer has don a fantastic job blogging from the latest Field Guides birding and natural history tour to SE Peru including Manu and Machu Picchu.  Here is delivery of Day 6, but any of the posts in October and November from the trip is worth you time.  There is also a lot of photos about herps, butterflies and plants.

And a couple of referrals to the Manu and Carpish trips giveaway here. All websites are well worth a visit per se, not only to see the referrals.

Here a great picture of one of my favorite Hummingbirds. The Sword-billed Hummingbird. Check out that bill.

Other birding links

One of my favorite bloggers, Jochen of Bell Tower Birding, made this hilarious view on The Splitting of Birds.

The Guardian has provided a number of good posts on birding, especially in The Observer supplement. Here is a piece that explains what make the birders “tick”. To a birdwatcher, one glimpse, one moment is happiness enough.

You may remember I wrote about Floreana Mockingbird in the last issue of this newsletter. This post also received some interesting comments from the main scientist that made the study of the DNA from Darwin’s specimen. What an honour for me and my blog to get such qualified comment to my review!

David J. Ringer has a great blog for anyone interested in new species and taxonomy. His posts are ofter very thorough, and I always feel I learn something from his detailed style, but yet easy to understand. Here he writes about the recently described Limestone Leaf Warbler from limestone karst region of West Vietnam and Laos.

Darwin Finches Tatoo. You got to see this.

Again from Facebook – and not sure if you will be able to see it. But this photo on Jeffrey Gordon’s wall of  people looking at an Ivory Gull at Cape May is probably one of the coolest picture of birders doing their thing I have ever seen.

The ultimate birdfinding guide to iPhone. Kenn Kaufman reports on Birdseye – an amazing application for your iPhone.

Some Funny Videos that I shared on Facebook.

Warning: You watch on your own risk. I find these funny, but it may not be your case.

Rowan Atkinson tells the Gospel of John

Robin Williams on Bush and Obama – introduced by John Cleese.

Por eso es mejor sin condon

You need to know Spanish for this one

That is all folks. Another newsletter will be published in about 2 weeks. The winner of the 15 trips to Manu and Carpish will be published on Christmas Day. Maybe you get a trip to Peru for Christmas?

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NewsLetter – Kolibri Expeditions

Yes, we all hate spam. And most unsolicited mail would qualify as spam. However, once in blue moon I do get some unsolicited stuff, that catches my attention and that I don’t dislike. Those occasions always have to do with targeted messages. If as a birder I get an unsolicited message about birds, that should not ruin my day. And especially if there is a lot of value in the message such as a trip report or some great photos there is good chance I don’t send it straight to the trash bin. I have tried to use such strategy in my business, admittedly with mixed success, as I on rare occasions get very strong negative reaction. Some would argue that anything unsolicited is spam. However, with the commercial bombardment of ads for totally un-relevant stuff and spam such as Nigeria scams, Viagra sales and explicit porn, a very rare newsletter about birds would be quite harmless for most of us as long as there is no problem unsubscribing.
I have until now included some ads for my tours in these newsletters, but from this day on I am changing strategy. Why? Because, I would like to inform those interested in new tours and offers on a more regular basis, which would be too frequent for an unsolicited newsletter. So I am splitting my previous efforts into two different strategies – a massive non-commercial informative targeted twice yearly newsletter and a more direct opt-in bi-weekly newsletter which also features some tours.
I chose not to push any tours in the first newsletter, to strengthen the message that I am sharing my knowledge with you, without expecting anything in return. This past 9 months as a blogger has taught me that in order to be successful with a business using social media, one has to share much more than one tries to push sales. When someone wants to buy, they will hopefully look me up. This non-commercial approach should be great for branding.
Although I would be nice to take some credits for these thoughts myself, I humbly credit 100% to my house-hold social media heroes for the inspiration. They are probably familiar to you and if not check out the links to their blogs. Darren Rowse of Problogger, John Haydon and Chris Brogan.
It would be interesting to read your comments. Will I get away with my massive unsolicited but targeted newsletter? And will I get anyone signing up for the opt-in newsletter, I wonder? Comment below.
Below, follows the sales-free Newsletter that is currently being distributed to a lot of birders. The content should be interesting if you are a birder and if not serve as an example of my points in this introduction to unsolicited newsletters.

Newsletter Nº 008
Date: October 9 – 2009
Dear birdwatcher,

This birding news bulletin from Peru is the 8th since its start in 2004. If you receive this newsletter we probably have birds and birdwatching in common, but you are right, it is unsolicited. You did not ask for it. On the other hand, this is an informative newslettter about birds and their conservation and links to articles which you hopefully find useful if you are a birder. There is no sales pitch in this newsletter and the links presented here are not directed to pages where you are asked to buy something from us.

This newsletter is different compared to previous newsletters. It contains some posts from my blog A birding blog from Peru by Gunnar Engblom, that I think many of you will find useful. The blogposts can be commented, so you can give feedback directly. I answer all questions best I can.

This newsletter covers bird conservation projects, social media for birders, some selected blogposts from the last year – both on broad topics as well as more specific birding in Peru and finally a few updates on the Kolibri staff who are re-producing and producing future birdguides.

Here is the table of content:

1. Facebook for birders
2. Blogging for birders
3. Twitter for birders
4. 11 best birds in Peru as tourism attractions
5. 1000 birds to see before you die.
6. How to become a birdwatcher in the 21st century.
7. 10 best ways to avoid chiggers.
8. A marathon for Satipo road
9. Amarakaeri Communal Reserve next to Manu.
10. Life List – a new book on Phoebe Snetsinger by Olivia Gentile
11. Kolibri staff news: We are producing new birders!

1. Facebook for birders.

With 300 million users, Facebook should not need a specific presentation to you. However, I have seen that many of my birding friends still have not jumped on the band wagon or have not realized the potential it has for birders to connect with each other as a community. It is the perfect place to search for advice when planning for a birding trip. And you don’t have to be real friends to be friends on Facebook. Having birdwatching in common is at least for me enough to connect with you through Facebook. Read the full article: Facebook for birders. A Beginner’s Guide.

For those already on Facebook and would like to become Facebook friends with me here is my Facebook profile. http://www.facebook.com/Gunnar.Engblom/

Also note that I have started three Facebook groups open for anyone to join.

These groups are NOT commercial vehicles for Kolibri Expeditions, but rather open for all that share the same interest.

Finally, there is a Kolibri Expeditions Fan page. In a previous newsletter I introduced Kolibri Ambassadors – a community for our past and future clients. However, with the growth of Facebook, this initiative has become obsolete. I regret that I did not know about Facebook back then. This “Fan Page” shall be a great place to discuss Kolibri Expedition trips with others. I am planning to post a lot of photos and videos here for your enjoyment.

2. Blogging for birders

To maintain an on-line web-log (blog) has become extremely popular in recent years. Digital photography and free resources such as Blogger (by Google) and My Space has made it easy for birders to also publish their own tales and photos of birds on their own site at no cost. In contrast to Facebook you may share with everyone on a blog, not only with your near friends. I too have had a few blogs that I have nourished all to rarely, until I recently understood that a regular blogging section on our company page could actually bring traffic to the main web-page, as well as improve ranking on search the engines. I down-loaded the WordPress blogging platform to my web-page. This platform is also free and popular among businesses because it can be uploaded on your own domain and it has various plugins that makes it easier for search engines to find your posts. You find more info about blogging and how to connect with other bird bloggers and get traffic to your blog in my Blogging for birders blogpost.

3. Twitter for birders.

I am sure I am loosing some people now. Twitter seems to most birders like a complete waste of time. I could not have agreed more, when I first looked at this Social Media fad. I have changed my mind since. If you want to learn more how Twitter can be useful for birders check out Twitter for birders. The biggest value of Twitter for us, apart from the obvious link-sharing, is that we can recruit more new birders from the huge Twitter pool and pass on birding news very fast.
If you would like to connect with me on Twitter, here is my twitter handle @kolibrix. Click on the link and you shall see my latest tweets.I have covered Twitter quite a bit on my blog. You might find the following blogposts interesting.

4. Birds as tourism attractions

This is an interesting exercise. Say you were to name the birds in your country or your state that are or could be tourism attractions for non-birders. These are the kind of birds that everyone likes with a lot of Wow-factor. The kind of attraction one would make a detour to see. They could be arena birds displaying in leks, big colonies, penguins, hummingbirds, places of concentrated migration or just very special birds.

Here is my list of the top 11 bird tourism attractions for Peru. Make a list of your best tourism attractions for your area and upload it in a blog and I’ l write a follow-up post linking to you.

5. 1000 birds to see before you die.

Do you feel that there is no way you can keep up with the world birding. There are just too many birds to see. Instead of trying to see them all, why not just concentrate on the top 1000 birds. The most magnificent and special birds that you would like to see during your lifetime. Not only does this make your targets more manageable, but it all also invites you to be less fanatic during your holidays with your non-birding spouse and just concentrate on those special birds that maybe he/she would also enjoy. This idea will summit with a book, and you can help decide which species to include. Click this link: 1000 birds to see before you die.

6. How to become a birdwatcher in the 21st century.

I predict that birding and nature watching will grow very fast in the coming years. Why? Because, the birders are very good at promoting and recruiting, by putting a pair binoculars and field guide in the hands of a teenager? Hardly! That is so 20th century!

I have two blogposts that develop the new way to recruit new birders.

7. How to avoid chiggers in the Tropics.

Chiggers can be a nuisance and difficult to protect oneself from. Often one takes measures after the damage is already done. Here is a fool proof 10 step approaches to avoid chiggers on your visit to the Peruvian rain-forest.

8. A Marathon for Satipo road.

I have the ambition but not always the time to train to become a half decent Marathon runner for my age. My dream is to be able to qualify for the oldest marathon in the world – the classic Boston Marathon. The problem is that there was no Marathon in Peru that was internationally recognized, so I had my mind to train for a Marathon in the US late in the year. But in April I still had not even gotten started to train and I hear that all of a sudden there would be a Marathon in Lima May 31 and the first one to be a qualifying race for Boston and only 5 and half weeks away. I should give it a try although time was short. I needed yet another stimulus and challenge and making my race a fund-raiser for the conservation of Satipo road and for eco-tourism infrastructure was a perfect match. Below follows a series of blogposts on the marathon and the Satipo road project. We are happy to been able to work on this together with Rainforest Partnership.

9. Amarakaeri Communal reserve next to Manu.

Last year I got the privilege to visit four new lodges on the Manu circuit owned by Wanamei – a tour company formed by the 8 communities of three native ethnic groups Yine, Matsiguenka and Harakmbut. I immediately saw a potential for a niche marketing these lodges for birders and we set up some programs. Here is the first report about the potential for birders of this area. The birding is quite spectacular and many of the special birds of the Manu region are easier to see here than at many of the better known lodges in the area.

However, this year two of the lodges never got restored to functionality after the rains. It is quite a shame, so I thought Kolibri Expeditions best make something about it. We are very excited to be committed to make sure that the lodges are re-opened again. Read about the strategy in this update to the community lodges next to Manu.

The first support and promotion trip is scheduled on Oct 29, 2009 and hosted by the well known blogger GrrlScientist (Devorah Bennu). The trip she hosts would be particularly interesting for anyone that loves parrots. Devorah Bennu is a parrot expert. Read my interview with GrrlScientist here.

Also check this blog post by Seabrooke Leckie who host the blogger promotion trip in Nov 2010.

10. Book review: Life List by Olivia Gentile.

One of the nice things about writing a somewhat popular blog is that sometimes one gets a free book. The new biography Life List: A Woman’s Quest for the World’s Most Amazing Birds I probably would have bought anyway. It is a wonderfully told story of the world’s greatest birder Pheobe Snetsinger. Read my review of Life List here.

11. Meet the crew. We are producing more birders.

It is time to present to you our staff for the season 2009-2010. Here is Kolibri Expeditions staff and the latest additions to the pool of new Peruvian birders. We are very pleased being sponsored with great optics from Vortex Optics during 2009. Reviews of our equipment will follow in future blogs.

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That is it folks. There is no commercial interest in this newsletter, but I admit that the link to Life List on Amazon.com would give me coffee money if anyone would buy it after clicking the link. Do sign up for the twice-monthly opt-in newsletter below if you got interested in our tours or just want to stay uptodate with my blog posts without having to check the actual blog to see what is new.
Good birding to you all
Gunnar

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