Friday, November 21, 2008

Colombia trip, part 1: "Vamanos a Colombia!"

Picture at the Cerulean Warbler Reserve in San Vicente de Chucuri, Colombia. This is the first reserve in South America that was designed to protect a migratory bird that breeds in North America.

Eddie asked me a while back to write about my recent trip to Colombia on his blog; well, I haven't had time until this week, so I am going to start and hopefully wrap it up in a few parts. To start, I've added a link of photos that I snapped while we were on the trip; the photos have text/comments with them to try and explain what you are looking at. I'll pull a couple of photos into the text as we go.

For those of you with kids or grandkids, you likely know what 'vamanos' means from Dora the explorer--the title of part 1 says "let's go to Colombia!" I hope you all can experience an Andean country at some point and time.

The reason for the trip was business; I work for a bird conservation organization known as ABC and I participate in 2 working groups that focus on 2 warblers that breed in the eastern U.S., winter in Central and South America, and are both experiencing drastic declines. The groups are known as the Cerulean Warbler Technical Group (the Latin American arm of this group is known as "el Grupo CerĂșleo") and the Golden-winged Warbler Working Group. These groups have done some amazing work over the last several years, helping us to identify what needs to be done for these birds and where.

Take a tour of the photos, and I'll be back soon with part 2: "The house that Juan built." Click on the photo of the black flower-piercer below to hopefully see a wide selection of my pictures; unfortunately, I don't have a nice SLR camera like some readers of this blog, so this is about the best bird photo I took! But, this was a business meeting and most of our time was spent in meetings, so maybe next time on the bird photos!

This flower-piercer was only about 5 feet away, in a shrub not much taller than me. Flower-piercers are cool--there are many different species, but they all have a long bill with a sharp end that is used to slice into the sides of flower 'tubes'. They are like hummingbirds--they eat nectar--but they take a shortcut! Pierce a hole, drink the nectar from the side, and move to the next flowers. We also saw a hummingbird and a giant bumblebee drink nectar from holes they made!

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