Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dreaming at the top of the trees: Canopy Birds

Watching the world below me I feel like a bird that always belonged here, I feel so good, so peaceful I just need wings to feel the freedom of be alive. Here in the canopy of the Rainforest you can hear, smell, watch, touch and taste the life.

I have been working here for about two years and every day is something new, but now I am just going to talk about canopy birds. Here at the top of Earth`s lungs you can find awesome creatures and colourful birds. For example, you can see mixed flocks of Tanagers: Paradise Tanager (Tangara chilensis), Green and Gold Tanager (Tangara schrankii), Turquoise Tanager (Tangara mexicana), Opal-Crowned Tanager (Tangara callophrys), White-Shouldered Tanager (Tachyphonus luctuosus), Swallow Tanager (Tersina viridis) with Dacnis, Woodpeckers, Honeycreepers and sometimes even with mammals.

I can see the Toucans (Ramphastos sp.) eating fruits at the top of the trees and flocks of Aracaris (Pteroglossus sp) flying one after one from tree to tree, "talking" between them while they search for food. I feel part of this conversation, because they are around me, looking at this rare bird, without wings nor feathers, that is staring at them ... and I think ... as the song says: "what a wonderful World".

White-Throated Toucan

Lettered Aracari

But, then I realize that I am not the only one looking quietly around here. Just in front of me, on the next tree, there is a Roadside Hawk, searching for it´s next prey, very quiet, just moving the eyes and sometimes the head, just waiting for the correct time to make the move. Suddenly, he flies towards the ground, he saw something, but I can´t see what, he is going fast, the ground is close and finally he hits the prey with his talons. The prey is fast too, and by now it´s alive... good luck for the next time my friend, you are going to do it.
Roadside Hawk

It´s a totally new experience up here, a new perspective of the life of the Rainforest, another reason to preserve this paradise. There are a lot of new creatures that that born, live and die in this ecosistem and I am going to do whatever I can to keep this place healthy.

Yellow-Rumped Cacique

Rufous-Bellied Euphonia

Plumbeous Pigeon

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Of birds and sea

Every time that I think about the sea, the sand under my feet, the fresh air in my face I wish to be a bird, to fly with the wind over the blue ocean and experience the freedom of my body and imagination. Well, I am not a bird but I love to watch them, specially the migratory birds, because it is so exciting to try to understand those awesome long distance trips and their behavior. So, I decided to make a quick trip to the Lagoons of Mejia National Sanctuary, a Peruvian protected area that was created to protect resident and migratory birds, to search for the very early northern and some southern migrants. I found a very few Ruddy Turnstones (Arenaria interpres), some Black-bellied Plovers (Pluvialis squatarola), Sanderlings (Calidris alba) and some Franklin`s Gulls (Larus pipixcan). Some of the young individuals of the first three species oversummer in the wintering areas but I am not sure about the gulls. I took all these pictures on the 29th of July. Also, I found lots of Gray Gulls (Larus modestus), they come from southern South America, they are very common here and are preparing to go back to the breeding grounds about late August. This protected area is a very good point to make birdwatching, here there are over 200 birds species and you can see at least 80 in one day. It is located at the south of the Peruvian coast almost in the middle of South America, so you can see here northern, southern, andean and rainforest migrants in one spot, besides the resident birds like the Inca Tern (Larosterna inca), Kelp (Larus dominicanus) and Belcher`s Gull (L. belcheri), lots of ducks, cormorants, etc.

Snowy Plover

Kelp Gull

Red-Legged Cormorant

American Oystercatcher

Surfing Peruvian Pelicans