Monday, March 2, 2020

2019 In Review – September Moving and in Oregon and Peru

I hosted one last pizza and wine-tasting party at my Tucson guesthouse, thanks to my generous landlords and close friends Paul and Irene, though sadly Irene wasn’t able to return from her summer volunteer job in time. The next day was cleaning up from the party and packing everything into the U-Haul, which would have taken me a full week without the amazing help of so many people.

There was one last smaller going-away party at Gavin and Celina’s.

Then very early on September 6, my brother, sister-in-law, and I set off from Tucson, making it as far as Reno the first day. In Reno we were treated to a most amazing dinner by two clients who had been on this year’s Gambell tour. They were so impressed with my cooking for that week that they wanted to treat me to the same. It’s one of those meals you never forget.

The next day was a shorter drive from Reno to Eugene, and here we are just south of Klamath Falls.

The piano movers were early, so another team of volunteer friends were ready to quickly unload everything, and within an hour and half I was able to play on the piano that my dearest friend Beth gave me as a housewarming gift.

So many people helped, but the most sweat was poured by my brother Randy and his wife Michelle, some of the most generous and loving people I know.

I had just 10 days in my new home before having to lead several tours, and it wasn’t really enough time to do any meaningful organization of my stuff. Of course I had to feed myself, so getting the kitchen at least operable was the first step, and then I couldn’t stand to see all the tomatoes in the garden go to waste…so I canned a few quarts and even made tomato sauce from the meaty Italian tomatoes the previous owners had put in.

I also had to treat my clothes with permethrin, finding the roofed part of the deck ideal during this unusually rainy September.

Then I was off to Peru for my first of three back-to-back tours, starting in Lima and flying to Cusco. We first visited Machu Picchu, and with some time in our hotel in Ollantaytambo we got great views of the endemic Bearded Mountaineer.
Bearded Mountaineer

The tour went really well, with 390 species of birds in 10 days, highlights being Common Potoo on a chick, Hoatzin, Golden-headed Quetzal, Masked and Band-tailed Fruiteaters, Ornate Flycatcher, Aplomado Falcons, and Black-banded Owl. The group’s favorite bird was a Blue-crowned Trogon that flew in one morning, landing in perfect light at close range below eye level. After birding was done for the day (and even on some mornings before breakfast) I enjoyed photographing hundreds of moths. (One participant actually complained about my taking too much time from the tour to photograph moths, when I only ever did so on my own time when the day’s activities were over. Yes, I get people who are merely desperate to find things to complain about.) There were too many moths to choose from for this blog, so I’ll post this amazing damselfly, which thanks to the contacts I made in Texas this year, was able to name as Euthore terminalis. Most damselflies have perfectly clear wings, but this one iridesces purple-blue on the upper surface only; what you’re seeing here is my flash reflecting this blue on the left (back) wings through the clear underside of the right wings.
Euthore terminalis

This tour ended back in Cusco, with our group flight from there to Lima. In Lima I met up with the next group for the tour to the Jungle Lodges of the Madre de Dios, with just a couple continuing on with me to do both.

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