Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wow Spatuletail

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Couldn't wait to share this one photo – a few that I got of one of the world's most incredible hummingbirds, the Marvelous Spatuletail, Loddigesia mirabilis. It's found only on the upper slopes of the east side of the Utcubamba River drainage in the Andes of northern Peru. You have to see it to believe it.

I'm nearing the end of my scouting in Peru before heading to Costa Rica in just a few days. Steve Howell and I have had a good time this past week – we've seen some pretty incredible places and birds, and I'm now looking forward to sharing it with tour participants in the future.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Yay Asteraceae! – Some Composites of Peru

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My favorite family of plants is Asteraceae, formerly known as Compositae – the composites, sunflowers, asters, daisies, or whatever you want to refer to the family as. It's the second largest family of plants in the world (not far behind orchids), and I'm always excited to see such amazing variety of forms, colors, sizes, and arrangement of heads.

I such a book existed, I could curl up with a key to the composites of Peru, samples of the following, a 12X loupe, and key them out to my heart's content. As it is, I have little clue what any of them are, but the first (above) is quite similar to Trixis, a very small genus (only 3 species) of composites with very unusual, two-lipped flowers. I suspect this is one of them.

All of these were in the Santa Eulalia Valley inland from Lima, the capital of Peru.