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!!


evilbirder said...

I'm glad you had a great time Mel, and a big thankyou to Gunnar for sharing his knowledge on the trip!

As you know Mel, if things happen in a certain way in the near future, then I could be on that next trip with you, my love.


Lynne said...

Yahoo Mel!!!

I'm so glad you had fun on your trip. Your list is impressive too. A good guide makes all the difference and can really build confidence. I saw my first black skimmer in October too.

Mel said...

Hi babe!
It was awesome, but I missed you sooo much!
I need you around!

Mel said...

¡Hola Lynne!
Yes, I'm still smiling! Gunnar is a great guide, and you are right, it makes a huge difference.
I felt comfortable and not ashamed of not knowing stuff, I believe I'll become a fan of his company!

John said...

Black skimmers are really cool birds!

Mel said...

Hi John!
Yes they are! Never saw one before today, so it's double fun!

vrajesh said...

nice.see my squirrel also.

Kolibri Expeditions said...

Great Blog Mel, saved me from writing a trip report myself.
That last photo of the group looks like a VORTEX commercial, doesn't it.

Meggie said...

Hey Mel: So glad that your birding experience was a good one. I find that most of the time avid birders are quite patient and willing to share their knowledge with neophytes like myself.

RuthieJ said...

Wow, Mel, what cool birds you got to see!
I'm so glad you went on the trip and enjoyed yourself.

S.C.E. said...

Looks like it was a great trip! And some digiscoping too.....

3 of those species I can see in Japan too.

Don't be nervous around other bird people. Most are very helpful, those that aren't are just idiots.

Thanks for your comment on my facebook page.

Mel said...

Hola Vrajesh!
Thanks for visiting, your videos are always interesting, bit documetary, bit nature, bit every day living.

Mel said...

The excursion was AWESOME, at least for me, totally new to this (at least on the field!)
I had a great time, thank you for the explanations and the advice.
You are right about that last pic! hahaha... Everybody say cheeeeessssee...
See you soon! (hopefully)
Un abrazo,

Mel said...

Hola Meggie,
I really LOVED the experience! Just a few hours but I must say I'm hooked for life, no antidote for this! hahaha
I was lucky to find such great people, as lucky as finding great bloggers and friends here :)

Mel said...

Hi Stuart,
Yes, a bit of digiscoping, mostly on Gunnar's part but it's fine with me ;)
I mean my comment on Facebook, here's a friend if you need one, ok?
Cheers mate!

dAwN said...

Hi Mel,
I have been enjoying your blog and want to thank you.
I am giving you and award..just go to this blog post On my


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Gunnar is a lucky guy to have gotten to hang out with such beautiful women.

shirl said...

Hi there Mel :-)

I had a great big smile thinking of you smiling all day!!! What a fantastic first trip for you - I am guessing it won't be the last now either :-D

Thanks for share your day with us and it was nice to see you too :-D

Beverly said...

Wow, somewhere I had the notion you'd quit blogging! I'm happy to see you have not, and are happily learning more and more about birds and bird watching.

You probably remember I'm new to this too, and having a blast...though I've not been on a 'guided hike' in awhile either.

Thank you so much for sharing yours!


Mel said...

Hola Dawn!
Thank you for the award :)
I enjoy your blog a lot!

Mel said...

Hi Dr. Monkey!
Thank you for the comment, you made me blush! hahaha
Don't think he noticed any more than the birds! hahaha

Mel said...

Hello Shirl,
Thanks for stopping by :)
It was a trip to remember, a short but fun one!

Mel said...

Hola Beverly,
I've been away trying to finish my never-ending thesis, not enjoying life that much :S
But I'm almost done (hopefully will be able to defend it next March), so, I decided to do more of what I love ;)
Thanks for visiting!

T.R. said...

Actually, this would make an even better IATB post!!!! Plus I am profiling Gunnar too! THIS IS AWESOME!!!!

T.R. said...

I met Gunnar on Facebook also! If you are on too, look me up.

Mel said...

Hi Tim!!
Feel free to use whatever you think is right ;)

p.s. How cool is that you profile Gunnar also!!