Archive for December, 2008

Birdwatching in Bolivia

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Birdwatching. What a boring activity. I can think of many better things to do with my limited time┬áthan to walk around looking for birds just to see them. Maybe if I’m out to photograph them so I can share what I see with others that’s time better spent, but even that doesn’t seem very appealing. Birds are hard to get on camera, and there’s many better things out there to photograph after all.

That’s what I thought about birdwatching before I came to Bolivia. And in a way that is probably still how I feel about going to look for birds in Canada or most other places I know. The birds there just don’t excite me.┬áBut there’s something about the birds here that makes them actually interesting.

They are big and small, plain and colorful, fast and slow, something for everybody. One of the (few) nice things about working out in the field was working close to nature, and being able to, at times, just sit and watch the birds do their thing. Driving to and from site, sometimes a bird or two would fly beside our car for a good 5-7 seconds (an eternity when watching birds in flight). Or they would fly right in front of our windshield for a couple of seconds, enough to get a good look at the dynamics of its flight.

Once, on one of the very last days of the job, I saw a bird chasing a pretty big dragonfly. It was an intense chase, with swerves and dives and going back and forth, in a way I could hardly believe the bird was fast and agile enough to keep up. The scene reminded me of an intense air combat scene from something like Top Gun or Star Wars or something like that. It was intense, like ‘wow’ intense. Yeah.

I was lucky enough to get some birds on camera, most of which were taken by this watering hole on the drive to site. They are not quite representative of all the different colors and types that were there, you’ll have to take my word for it that it’s nicer to be there and see the variety in real life. So what do you think, could you ever consider birds to be interesting, or have I been in the field too long with a desperate need of real life? :-)