Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Exciting News about Hugo, our local bird guide

Many of you know that I have been working this past year with Victor "Hugo" Valencia, a local birder from Erongaricuaro. He is an exceptional birder, and I couldn't have a better partner if the field. (see June 8, 2009 entry for more information about Hugo)

We recently received news that he has been selected one of three individuals from Latin America to receive free training from Long Point Bird Observatory in Ontario. His program begins mid-August and ends early Novemember. While in Ontario, he will receive advanced training in bird banding and data management techniques and other field techniques related to bird research and conservation. Since Mexico is recognized as being an important wintering area for Canadian songbirds in Latin America, this training has practical benefits to Canadian researchers and conservationists. This program is also supported by the government of Canada, in particular Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service. Both Hugo and I hope his training will enhance the field work being done by Dra. Laura and Dr. Fernando Villasenor Gomez at the Universidad de Michoacana in Morelia.

While all of his air travel costs, course training, and all living expenses in Canada are covered, he will need financial assistance to support his wife Lupe and two young daughters (Mariana 5 yrs) and Lucia (5 months) in his absence, and to pay for his visa. Moreover, it would be nice to send him north with a bit of pocket money.

I will underwrite some of his expenses but, more importantly, Hugo wants to do as much as he can to pay for his training. This is a poor area of Mexico and there are not many full time jobs. If you are reading this blog and live in the area, perhaps you have some work on the back burner that Hugo could do. He's a master tile-setter, has a certificate to repair refrigerators and air-conditioners (he can fix most appliances!), has a green thumb, does interior and exterior painting, and is able to handle most plumbing and electrical work. There is no job big or small that he will turn down. Oh, I almost forgot - he's fluent in English, so he can act as a translator for you.

This is a chance of a life-time for him. Some of you have added life birds to your list or have experienced many rare sightings in the field due to his skills. If you have birded with him, no doubt you will agree that no one sees or hears birds as soon as he can! He's a patient and exceptional teacher as well. If you don't have a job for him but you are willing to donate funds on his behalf, please write to me privately {antep10[at]aol[dot]com}. I have set up an account for deposits on his behalf. Nothing is too little or too big.

Let's congratulate and support a local birder!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Challenges to Gardening Hereabouts

As I planted one of my raised beds about 7 weeks ago, I heard a repeated chittering nearby. Yep, an adult hummer was letting me know I was invading her territory. This Broad-billed hummer had built a nest and had two eggs awaiting her attention. I let her be for the most part, and she fledged two youngsters. Now, my Oregon sweet peas and Chinese peapods are about to blossom, and I am looking forward to eating them. (FYI, these edibles are NOT available hereabouts.)

Then last week, Hugo pointed out another hummer nest. This one a Broad-tailed. Lucky for me, I can monitor the progress with my spotting scope planted in the living room. She seems comfortably brooding two eggs. Hopefully, she too will fledge her youngsters.

Difficult to spot this nest, isn't it?

Soon to be youngsters

Here's how I monitor the nest.