Unexpected Birding for Lifers!

A couple of weeks ago, Tommy and I got an invitation for a family gathering in Mala, south of Lima.

At first we didn't want to go, as I had some writing to do and Tommy needed to study for his classes.

Finally, we decided to go, and take the binoculars and the camera with us, just in case we managed to escape for a moment and explore around the area before the meal was ready.

It ended up being a great decision. We found some birds there, including a few lifers!

Now, pardon my excitement, but my favourite were by far the owls (lifers!) we found just a few metres from were we were going to have lunch! We counted five Burrowing Owls, so close to us that we couldn't believe it!

We found them by total chance. We had already found some common birds there, and were about to head back to the house when I asked Tommy to take a picture of the flowers of the peach tree in front of me.

While he was taking the pic, I felt movement to my left and decided to look around with the binoculars. I found two owls staring at me! And after a moment we could see three, four, five!!

This was the third time I spotted owls. The first and second time were Peruvian Pygmy-Owls (VERY cute lifer!) and this time a Burrowing Owl. Tommy started calling me 'Owl Spotter', lol.

I'm still hypnotized by the owl's eyes, you must forgive me, but all the bird images I took that day were of these guys.

The list for that day:

- Southern Beardless Tyrannulet
- Amazilia Hummingbird
- Croaking Ground Dove
- Hooded Siskin
- Vermilion Flycatcher
- Blue-black Grassquit
- West Peruvian Dove
- Long-tailed Mockingbird
- Blue-and-white Swallow
- Blue-grey Tanager
- House Sparrow
- Groove-billed Ani (lifer)
- Drab Seedeater (lifer)
- Chestnut-throated Seedeater (lifer)
- Collared Warbling Finch (lifer)
- Burrowing Owl (lifer!!!)
+ a couple that we haven't been able to id, and don't have great images.

I'm looking foward to another unexpected birding-lunch-date!


The Violin Player

As you know, I'm on 'thesis mode', so, no birding time for me, not even on weekends (for a few weeks at least).

Tommy, however, has some time after classes and can walk around watching beauties and taking some pictures. Here is his photo of a Blue-gray Tanager.

Here, this Blue-gray Tanager was introduced some time ago in the capital (Lima) from the Amazon. Some people brought birds as souvenirs from jungle trips or to sell in the black market and somehow a few escaped and started a colony in the city. It is very common to see them now in parks and gardens in the city, mostly in pairs.

Something that interests me a lot is the different names of birds around the world. Sometimes there are discussions about the 'correct' scientific name, the common name, the English name, etc. But, it gets even harder if you are - like in my case - living in a Spanish speaking country, and there is no agreement on how to call a bird.

Locals from all over Latin America give them different names, which can be quite annoying if you are in another country trying to ask a non-birder about a particular bird and have no image refference to show.

Let's take this Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus) as an example. The most literal translation to Spanish should be 'Tángara Azuleja'. In Colombia it is called 'Azulejo' (azul means blue), in Costa Rica it is 'Viuda' (name given to a female widow), and in Peru it becomes a 'Violinista' (violin player), this last one explained due to the song of the bird. I bet there are many more names for it all over the world, given by local non-birder residents or ancient cultures.

Do you have problems like these with the English names?? I know that there are some discrepancies, but most of the times it is a unique name, isn't it? Please, tell me about it!

Oh, did you know that
in Trinidad and Tobago this bird is called Blue Jean?? Cool!


Back on thesis mode...

Yes, I'll start working on my thesis again.

It's been a while since I worked on it and I have to finish and defend it by the end of the year.

Sorry, I won't be able to post often (something that has became 'normal' this year, sadly)

Please, send me good vibes and tips on how to focus on this while working on a full time totally un-related to thesis job; with just a few hours a week to dedicate to it.

I wish you happy birding and lots of adventures.