2008/12/27

Work, work, work

It's been a month or so since we moved. Well, kind of moved.

At the office, our division was on the 6th, 5th and 2nd floor... all mixed up with other areas. We all moved to the second floor now.

I had no windows on my previous work station on 6th floor. Now I get to see some action on trees planted next to the building...


This West Peruvian Dove (Zenaida Meloda) seems to be working too. Holding a twig this "Cuculí", as we call this bird in Peru, flew to another tree, far from my curious eyes to keep on building a fine nest (I presume)

They are easy to id, as they have some blue facial skin around the eyes and white patches on wing coverts (very visible when they fly)

It was nice to find this one so close, the photo is not great, as the double window and my poor camera were not really liking each other! But, hey, I won't complain, I do have a better view from my work station than a month ago, and now that the summer is here, I hope to see some more action outside, even though the financial area in this very grey city has little nature around.

BTW, some people from work who used to look at me in a funny way when I stared at birds or went on and on and on about some new bird I discovered, are now the ones who point out the windows and take pics even with their phones to send them to me! Maybe a future post should be related to the pictures sent by friends and family, who now, are ACTUALLY staring at birds, even if they say they don't!

2008/12/20

Mom made me a Christmas present!


Yes. Made by mom. I LOVE IT!!

¡FELIZ NAVIDAD! MERRY CHRISTMAS!
¡FELICES FIESTAS! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

2008/12/14

Marly's Pics

Last Sunday I went on my first birding trip. It was only for a few hours but it was AWESOME.

I met a few great people and, one of them, Marly Orrego, sent me some of the pictures she took that day to post here! All of these pictures were taken at La Arenilla (La Punta, Callao)

Selmipalmated Plover by Marly Orrego

I want to thank Marly for letting me post her photographs.

Whimbrels by Marly Orrego

I hope we are able to go on a birding excursion together soon, it was sooo much fun!

by Marly Orrego

These gulls started to fly all of the sudden. Turns out there was a Peregrine Falcon going around, it was really amazing to see; too bad we couldn't get a good shot of the action.

2008/12/09

Another first!


This is another first!!

Dawn @ Dawns bloggy blog was crazy enough to give me an award! I've been following her blog for a few weeks and I really enjoy it.

These are the rules I am following and the rules that I pass on to you all.

You can pass it on or not, it is your choice :)

The rules are:
1. Name 5 other Superior Scribblers.
2. Link to the author and the name of the blog that gave you the award.
3. Display the award on your blog with this LINK, which explains the award.
4. Click on the award and at the bottom of that link, add your name to Mr. Linky’s list.
5. Post these rules for your recipients.

I'm passing the award to:

- Lynne @ Hasty Brook
- Ruthie @ Nature Knitter
- Robin @ Naked In Eden
- Sherry @ Q's Corner
- Susan @ Susan Gets Native

It's always a joy to visit you and enjoy your posts.

2008/12/07

My first time!

Mr. Squirrel 'giving me the eye'

It was 7:45am.

Gunnar Engblom's Kolibri Expeditions, organized an excursion to La Arenilla, in La Punta, Callao. We were going to meet at 8:00am to learn about some birds at Parque Mariscal Castilla in Miraflores.

I've followed Gunnar for a while. At first, on INCASPIZA yahoo groups, and later on through Facebook and Twitter. It was via Facebook that I learned of today's trip.

To be honest, I was a little nervous. For me it was the first actual 'birding excursion' with a guide (person) - an expert - and not just my field guide, my camera, and my dear Tommy to enjoy the birds with me. I was a little nervous about the other people too, 'will I be THE ONE not knowing a thing???'... But after that, the excitement took over and after sleeping just two hours thanks to a neighbour's party, I woke up with the biggest smile I'd had for a couple of months.

Gunnar was great, fun and patient! He showed us some birds, explained about them, helped us find key facts to id them faster and let us borrow binoculars. Yes, it was my first experience with binoculars too. I'm 31, and I finally got to see the world through them!

This is the list of the first part of the excursion:

- Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus)
- Eared Dove (Zenaida auriculata)
- West Peruvian Dove (Zenaida meloda)
- Croaking Ground Dove (Columbina cruziana)
- Red-Masked Parakeet (Aratinga erythrogenys)
- Canary-Winged Parakeet (Brotogeris Versicolurus)
- Scrub Blackbird (Dives warszewiczi)
- Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola)
- Blue and Gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus)
- Long-Tailed Mockingbird (Mimus longicaudatus)
- Amazilia Hummingbird (Amazilia amazilia)
- Harris' Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus)

The last one we were hoping to find, but we didn't expect it! It was awesome!! Gunnar took the next picture with my camera using his scope, not perfect as there were no adaptors or whatsoever, but it's much better than me trying to do it with my zoomless little camera.


After the park, Gunnar drove for about an hour to get to 'La Arenilla', where it has been changed in the past couple of years. Part of the beach has been recovered for birds! Now you can find big signs with details of the resident and visiting birds.


Yes, this next one is me, I haven't posted many pictures of myself here. But I had such a great morning, I just had to!


Once again, Gunnar used his scope. This Black Skimmer is a migrant from the Amazon! GREAT!! Never seen it before - cool!!


The list for the second part of the excursion:

- Peruvian Pelican (Pelecanus thagus)
- Peruvian Boobie (Sula variegata)
- Neotropical Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)
- Little White Egret (Egretta thula)
- American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus)
- Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)
- Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
- Sanderling (Calidris alba)
- Band-tailed Gull (Larus belcheri)
- Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus)
- Franklin's Gull (Larus pipixcan)
- Elegant Tern (Sterna elegans)
- Grey-hooded Gull (Larus cirrocephalus)
- Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
- And a stunning Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)


A group photo before leaving: Marly, Zarela, Milagros, Gunnar and Mel.

I sooooooo want to do it again!!

2008/12/05

Instead of bright coloured 'birds'


Last night I had a couple of news that made me wonder if I am crazy or if it is the world that has gone mad. Hypocrites and their stupidity filled my evening with comments and actions that I could never think of myself.

Nobody should hide the true colours of the soul behind masks and bright feathers.

I rather have a good friend and a heart full of love, than a fat wallet that won't buy me real treasures.

I rather be around a simple, honest, beautiful 'bird'.


I decided to ignore the 'songs' of those colourful creatures. My plan is to be happy :)

2008/11/30

A good luck bird


Hello my friends. As you know, I'm trying to finish my thesis already, to be able to finally dedicate to this blog again.

A couple of months ago I started to notice a funny thing. Everytime I left home for work (7am), and I saw a Vermilion Flycatcher on my street I had "good luck" all day. Of course it could also be that beautiful birds make me smile always and maybe I just didn't notice the bad things happening around.

Anyway, I decided to proclaim this bird my "good luck bird", my "huayruro" on wings!

If you never heard of it before, I bet you are curious now. Well, keep reading and you'll find out!

The "Huayruro" (Ormosia) is a tree from the “fabaceae” family and it is at least 40 meters high. Its seeds are also named “huayruros”. They are shiny red (female), or red with a black spot (male). VERY beautiful. The seeds can be found in different sizes, personally, I preffer the tiny ones.

The Huayruro has many species, mainly found in the Amazon, extending to Central America and southern Mexico. Its name differs from country to country. The seed of huayruro is also called: bean of the luck, tintoria (Brazil), cairuro (Colombia), huayro, huayruro, (Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador), etc.

The seed is a symbol of the origin from which all living beings are derived: plants, animals and humans. It is a symbol of fertility and abundance. It is also a symbol of good luck. In Peru it is used as an amulet to attract good luck and to protect against negative energies.

In several regions of the Peruvian Andes, the huayruro is used in religious ceremonies and in the Amazon region the native people use this seed to make necklaces, bracelets, earrings and different handcrafted. This has extended to other regions and now you can find quite expensive jewelry made with these seeds.

2008/11/21

Let's play "find the bird"

I've been away from blogging for a while.

I wish I came back with lots of great pictures and stories to share with you... Instead I bring you a "game"... I call it "find the bird"... (Click on pics to enlarge)


I know, I have to get a better camera and enter the exciting world of digiscoping. Not a chance for me to do so anytime soon, so, please, play along...


Find the heron, the killdeer, the hummingbird...


Try seeking for the Saffron Finch or the Tropical Kingbird...


Pretend you do like the game (at least until I get a REAL camera and stop taking such bad pics)

2008/10/15

Blog Action Day 2008


It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.
Aesop

I believe that is true, literally and… metaphorically.

I want to share something with you. It is related to 'birds' with not so fine feathers (to the eyes of some).

I met these 'birds' a couple of years ago. Broken, ill, dirty. Ignored by 'finer' ones until they became invisible.

The birds of my story are very, very young. They have beautiful souls and hearts, talents that nobody thought they could have, and dreams, like any other bird their age. Some of them have broken wings, and others live in a cage.


My birds are as real as you and me. They spend their youth working. They work on the streets, selling flowers, candy, and cigarettes, to help their families and be able to eat. Most evenings and nights they go out and walk around shopping centers, restaurants, discos, wherever they can find people having the fun they can't have.

Angel (15), Pamela (14), Sandra (13), Flor (12), Francis (11), Alicia (8), Diego (4). They are just a few of the ones I had the pleasure to spend every Saturday with for a year (a couple of years ago, before I moved abroad).



More than 2 million kids and teens between 6 and 17 years old are forced to work in Peru. The work varies from shoe shining, selling products, agriculture with their family members, to slavery in mines and sex tourism.

Departments (states) like Huancavelica, Huanuco and Puno, where extreme poverty is higher, the percentage of working kids and teens between 6 and 17 years old is 96%, 94% and 92% respectively.

My experience with the ones I met was heartbreaking but also rewarding. I met amazing kids with unbelievable strength and the will to learn and become better people in the future.

We were a few crazy friends (ages 17 to 28, guess who the oldie was…), trying to take their mind away from the cold and danger of the streets for a few hours a week, teaching them handcrafts, playing with them, giving them some food and love along the way.


Sad news when we had to stop, the meeting place was closed to build something that was profitable for the owners, a few of us had to move away, and the rest couldn't continue without a place and on their own (everything came from either our pockets or friends and family who supported our 'cause')

I sometimes run into these birds, they chirp around calling my name, hugging me and asking (after almost 2 years), when are we going to start again. It's heartbreaking to tell them that we can't. You can tell they get a bit sad, but then they start making jokes and laugh until they spot a tourist or a happy couple and fly away with their flowers and their candy trying to sell enough to buy the next morning's breakfast.

I met some fine birds, with not so fine feathers.


If you are curious about what we used to do, visit my old blog here.

2008/10/06

I was born in this country...

2008/09/21

I'll be back


Dear friends,

Due to a series of big changes in my personal life, the lack of time due to work, and the necessity of focussing attention on long forgotten Thesis, I'll be gone for a few weeks.

I tried to keep up but the truth is I've been neglecting this blog and missing most of your posts also :(

I hope to be back soon, with more time, stories and pictures to share with you.

Until we meet again! (SOON!!)

Mel

2008/09/06

These shoes are made for walking...

2008/08/30

A random bird quote


A bird does not sing because it has an answer.
It sings because it has a song.

Chinese Proverb

2008/08/23

New visitors

We've been missing birds VERY much.

But at least we had some unusual visitors at home lately.

This one was on the kitchen door, don't ask me what it is, because I have no idea. This is the first time I've seen this.


This snail left a 'gift' on the front door. We found it at 3am.


The next picture was taken by Tommy. He says it was about 10cm long!!! VERY unusual for where we live.


We are not familiar with this species either. So, this post is mostly to get some information. We would like to properly id these visitors.



We hope to be able to go on a little trip next weekend. Hopefully we'll be able to see some birds and get out of this grey city for a change (winter down here)

2008/08/18

Broken back doesn't mean a broken spirit

Hello, dear friends.

It's been a while since I really posted something. I've been busy with work and something that is keeping most of my attention these weeks (no, it's not the neverending thesis)

I want to share with you a very personal story, it is about a friend of mine called Rita Lucía.


Rita Lucía turned 21 years old last month. About a couple of months before that, she had an accident and broke her spine.

After long hours of horrible pain, doctors decided for surgery, totally convinced that this pretty girl with cat's eyes wouldn't walk again. In fact, that's what they said to the family.


But she decided to prove them wrong. She was moving... and she wasn't supposed to!! She began with physical therapy and improved more and more. Today she can make a few steps with some help and keeps getting better. But, as over here the medication and therapy is not cheap at all, the family is thinking about many ways to help.

I decided to create a blog. It is called "Los amigos de Rita Lucía" (Friends of Rita Lucía), and the idea is to 'collect' ideas to help her and the family so she won't stop with her therapy and walks again really soon (her doctors still can't believe it!!). The blog is in Spanish, but it's open for anyone to leave support messages and ideas.


Thanks to some friends we managed to open bank accounts for her, a group of great women from Spain and Mexico decided to make some handcrafts and send them over here to sell for Christmas, another group of people is trying to get medicines and vitamins she needs, and so on.

IDEAS are VERY welcome, I know there's a lot of creative people out there, and I need your help!!

Rita is a great girl, and she wishes to continue helping others after she gets better, as so many people is helping her (even sending their get-well-soon thoughts) and that is something I admire of her.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know what I've been doing these past weeks, and ask for your advice and ideas. THANK YOU.