Sunday Snapshots: Sunny day on the rail trail

Jack and Raven on the rail trail

We’ve been promised spring this week, and I’m sure hoping they don’t take it back! We’ve had some beautiful, sunny days, and the snow has mostly melted in the sunny spots as a result, but the wind is nippy and it doesn’t make me want to go out and tackle the garden clean-up or other outdoor chores. Lovely to see so much of the sun again, though!

The puppy, whom we named Jack Kerouac, has continued to grow steadily and is now over 12 pounds at roughly 13 weeks old. He’s up to more extended hikes now, so I’ve been taking him and Raven back to the rail trail on our afternoon outings. He’s still looking forward to the time when his legs are long enough to keep up with Raven, though!

Creek at spring - ice-free!

Jack and Raven on the rail trail

Horses along the rail trail

Jack and Raven, heading home


You know you wanna

"Baby Boa" by CB Photography on Flickr; borrowed through Creative Commons

I haven’t mentioned much about Peru lately, since my Monday Miscellany went on hiatus over the winter months. I’ve been meaning to revisit the region for a little while now, and thought it would be best to do so while we’re “enjoying” a bit of a cold snap here in Ontario. Rain and wind today, the progression of spring put on hold temporarily while Mother Nature gets the last of winter out of her system. In a week or two activity will pick up outside and I’ll have some trouble keeping up with it all.

To refresh your memory, or in case you’re a new reader, I’ve been invited to join Kolibri Expeditions on an 8-day tour of the Manu region of southeastern Peru, and I’d love for you to join me! The trip will act as a fundraiser to help local communities in developing ecotourism into a viable source of income, which will in turn contribute to conservation of the region as the residents will be less dependent on ecologically-destructive income-earners. You can read a little more about the reasons for the tour at my post from November.

"Moths eating minerals from the mud" by Sarah_and_Iain on Flickr; borrowed through Creative Commons

Technically the trip is a birding tour. Although Kolibri does make an effort to include other notable regional interests, such as trips to Machu Picchu, or viewing stops at mammal salt-licks, their focus is primarily on birds. Most of their clients come for the birds, and enjoy the scenery along the way. So you’ll be seeing a lot of birds if you come along.

But you’ll also be traveling with me. I have a rather sneaky suspicion that the pace of the trip is going to be somewhat slowed as I pause to check out this bug, or this frog, or this plant, or this flower, or this fungus, or this… well, you get the idea. I’m not going to have a clue what any of them are, of course. But that won’t stop me from appreciating the incredible diversity that the tropics offers.

Like the lepidopterans above. Those are moths. Yup, moths. Pretty amazing, huh? They’re Green-banded Urania, Urania leilus, diurnal species that are often found sipping minerals from mud or dung.

"butterfly" by kaitlyn_rose on Flickr; borrowed through Creative Commons

More fabulous colours. This one is actually a butterfly. Periander Metalmark, Rhetus periander.

"Leafhopper" by cordyceps on Flickr; borrowed through Creative Commons

Or what about this leafhopper? One of the commenters on the photo ID’d it as Membracis foliata.

"Ra" by cordyceps on Flickr; borrowed through Creative Commons

Or this planthopper. Another commenter suggested family Derbidae.

"Amblypygia" by cordyceps on Flickr; borrowed through Creative Commons

Fans of Harry Potter will recognize this guy as the creepy critter used in the fourth movie to demonstrate the Unforgivable Curses. Also called tailless whip scorpion.

"Frosch" by sprain on Flickr; borrowed through Creative Commons

How about this pointy yellow-green frog?

"Frog on a bog - Manu Park Reserve rainforest " by baronvonhorne on Flickr; borrowed through Creative Commons

Or this one wearing racing stripes?

"Vorsicht, Zähne!" by sprain on Flickr; borrowed through Creative Commons

Maybe fish are more your thing? Yes, that’s a piranha.

"Common Squirrel Monkey" by Jyrki Hokkanen on Picasa; borrowed through Creative Commons

Mammals, and particular monkeys, should be easily seen. Or at least heard. Common Squirrel Monkey.

"bats" by kaitlyn_rose on Flickr; borrowed through Creative Commons

Maybe we’ll even have bats roosting in the eaves of our accommodations.

Moth, probably Idalus herois, taken in Columbia by my friend and moth-guide-coauthor, but wide-ranging. Borrowed without permission. Hope he'll forgive me.

You can bet your boots I’ll be doing some nighttime moth-hunting.

"Fleur autour du lodge" by Veronique Debord on Flickr; borrowed through Creative Commons

Interesting plants will receive a closer look.

"pretty waterfall" by kaitlyn_rose on Flickr; borrowed through Creative Commons

And don’t forget the gorgeous scenery.

Bottom line: there’ll be something for everyone, and because you’ll be on my trip, you can be pretty sure we’ll be pausing to look at most of it.

(All the photos in this post, by the way, with the exception of the white-and-yellow moth, were taken in the region we’ll be visiting.)

My departure is November 12, 2010 through Nov 19 (originally scheduled for Nov 13 but moved back a day to accommodate another tour that wanted to depart Nov 20). The cost is $1680 per person (or $1580 if you’re a blogger with an active blog); this covers everything but your personal expenses such as souvenirs and airfare from your local international airport to Lima. It’s a pretty incredible deal for a guided tour, with all the organization taken care of for you and somebody who knows a thing or two about the area to help you with ID. And don’t forget you’ll be getting to go with me! You can read more here about what your fee covers.

"Golden Tanager "Tangara arthus"" by dermoidhome on Flickr; borrowed through Creative Commons

Gunnar, owner and organizer extraordinaire of Kolibri, suggests putting your name down even if you’re not sure if you’ll go or not yet. You’re not locked in to anything until you’ve sent in a deposit, which you don’t have to do right away. However, signing up for the trip now confirms the departure date on their booking system and makes it more attractive to other potential participants who are looking for a trip with Kolibri. And the more people who come, the cheaper it is for each. Which means this has the potential to benefit you.

So if you’re considering going, even in a “well, it would be nice, but I don’t know what my money will be like, and there’s always the dog, and Susan’s due to have her baby about then, but I’ll think about it” kind of way, send me an email (canadianowlet [at] gmail [dot] com) or leave a comment to let me know, just so we can get you down as a potential participant and make sure the trip’s locked in. You can always back out later if you need to.

Meanwhile, you can go back and read my previous posts here, here and here, with more delicious photos to whet your appetite… :)