To describe my lifelong fascination with flight and with creatures that fly I like to echo the words of John James Audubon who in 1839 wrote of himself as "...one who never can cease to admire and to study with zeal and the most heartfelt reverence, the wonderful productions of an Almighty Creator."
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Widow Skimmer (female)
Today I did my first real birding since returning from Ecuador. As I have experienced before when coming back from a birding experience in an "exotic" location, the familiar birds of my home area become even more interesting than they were before I saw all those new ones. These birds are my "neighbors" and I feel more connected to them. I know them well, but I know almost nothing about the new ones I see in foreign places. Anyway, I did see a "new" flying creature today -- this Widow Skimmer dragonfly down in my favorite nearby "wilderness" near the Willamette River.
Toward the end of my time in Ecuador I had almost given up on my hope of seeing Toucans, but then within a two-day period I saw three species, including the three Choco Toucans that were competing for the right to use this perch on a dead tree top. After becoming familiar with their croaking voice, I then occasionally heard one from a long distance, maybe 1/2 mile, even though I could not see the bird.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Having watched our North American creeper, the 5-inch-long Brown Creeper, for most of my life, it was hard to get used to seeing large creepers in Ecuador. In particular, the 12-inch-long Strong-billed Woodcreeper was almost shocking as it captured 4-inch moths and beat them on a tree branch until the wings fell off. Quite entertaining, to say the least.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
More Ecuador hummers
Sunday, July 15, 2007
The Pacific Hornero, according to one source, is found only in Ecuador and Peru. The family of Horneros takes its name from the oven-shaped mud nests these birds build, "horno" being the Spanish word for the outdoor oven that is often seen beside country homes in South America. I hadn't anticipated seeing this bird, but did encounter a small group of them walking around on the weedy edge of a dirt road.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
More from Ecuador
I spent most of my 9 days in Ecuador birding in the cloud forest in one deep valley near Mindo, about two hours northwest of Quito in the western foothills of the Andes. The mornings were generally sunny, and in late afternoon the mist flowed in from the lowlands, spilling over the ridges like an incoming tide. Hummingbirds thrive in this environment, and I saw 18 different species of them, including the stunning Violet-tailed Sylph.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
My Ecuador birding adventure