One of my "unofficial" duties every year is to survey the bird life at Rancho El Aribabi during the month of July. It is usually hot, miserable and the best time to find amazing birds!
|a male Varied Bunting comes into the pasture for a drink|
|a cicada sheds his form to grow wings and fly|
Finding a Jaguar is a privilege and many times, quite a bit of work on the researcher's part. In my opinion, this information should be kept secret from the public. I've only seen 2 in my lifetime but I hid their exact locations when recording the data. The data should ALWAYS be recorded. I do the same with rare birds. And I am super protective of any endangered species. In the beginning, I assumed most people were honorable. Then I discovered otherwise. That's when I changed as an observer.
On my trip to the Amazon years ago, I discovered that I wanted more from my camera. These poor photos of the Jaguar helped motivate me buy a better camera. My 6th sense had gone off on this day. I remember that I was on a canoe. The small crew was quiet and I noticed two vultures curiously looking at something. As we silently floated around the bend, we found this male Jaguar along the banks for a brief moment. Our guide was shocked. This time I was ready with my camera for the Jaguar. Today, on the ranch, several people and organizations track these endangered mammals. Finding a Jaguar is a gift and a curse at the same time. The wildlife official knows s/he will have to release the information at some point. And when that happens, everyone wants to take credit for the person's find. Meanwhile poachers, secretly take this public information and plot a course.
These are just my words, but you can read the article link above and form your own opinion. These good people are just trying to protect the corridor of these magnificent beasts from human development (and also because they are in love with the chase and possible first time discovery of these rare cats). I'm a birder first. I get it. We seek the impossible. And if we find something rare, the personal rewards from all the risk taking made the difficult trek absolutely worth it. It's like winning the lottery. You want to share your excitement, but you know that if you do, there will be consequences.
|a sexy male Rufous Hummingbird|
|dolphins with wings, the Violet-crowned Hummingbirds|
Broad-billed Hummingbirds sparkled in the brief moments of morning sunlight.
|the brilliant gem known as the Broad-billed Hummingbird|
|a mummified Pallid Bat|
|the western subspecies of the Yellow-breasted Chat|
|Carne Asada never tasted better|
|I call a Gray Hawk over to my location by making a mournful whistle|
|nasty alien bug from a group known as Windscorpions, not poisonous|
For every in depth research project, there should be a fun birding expedition after wards. Everything in my life continues to change. Every experience away from what I know, changes me. Nothing is black or white anymore. Over the next several weeks, we'll explore the island of Maui. 28 new bird species were added to the list towards the 1,000 bird marker I've set for this year, but what I saw, or didn't see, changed me in ways that I hope I will be able to write down properly.
For the El Aribabi Report, click here. Next week we explore the beautiful world of Hawaii. For now, I'll leave with a Sunday Morning moment I had during my survey along the Cocospera Riparian corridor. I wanted to sleep in this spot. It was so relaxing.