As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.
Of Birders and Breaking the Rules
In a prior Tumblr, “A Blue Morpho … and a Jaguar,” I mentioned a trip to the lush rain forest La selva Maya, or the Maya Forest in Belize.
The Maya forest ecosystems are among the richest in the world, extending from Chiapas through the Peten, Guatemala to Campeche, Quintana Roo (Mexico) and Belize. “The importance of this lies in the rich combination of biological resources, cultural and economic” (http://bit.ly/LLnobi). This region includes pine and oak forests to tall evergreens and humid lowlands. Tropical rain forest is the most common environment found there.
I took this trip with a fairly large group of serious “birders” courtesy of Victor Emanuel Nature Tours. La selva Maya is home to a diverse and truly amazing bird community. We stayed at Chan Chich Jungle Lodge (chanchich.com), which was a perfect choice and very comfortable. I recommend it highly to anyone wishing to travel in this region.
Keep in mind, I am a novice birder. My colleagues carried with them telescopic lenses, sophisticated binoculars, detailed field guides, and years of experience. They were eager to fill-up their “life lists” with new bird species and other wildlife, and to do so before their fellow tourists.
I had drilled myself in the proper etiquette of birders well in advance. The Audubon “Birding Etiquette” web page gives you a good idea of what behaviors are expected: http://bit.ly/LLvAty.
My experience is that birders like to stand silently in groups in the midst of a beautiful forest, not far from one another, all staring intently in one direction waiting for a rare bird(s) to come into view, and for significant lengths of time. I quickly got tired of such a punishing stance. One day, I decided to break ranks.
“Oh, look, what is that bird down the road?”
I had turned in the exact opposite direction to discover a small group of magnificent Great Curassow slowly making their way along the forest’s edge.
Follow this link: http://bit.ly/MTfQma, and you will find more stunning photographs by Peter W. Wendelken on Flickr of birds that call La selva Maya home.
This turned out to be the case the entire week-long trip. Every evening we would gather for cocktails before supper to report our discoveries and to fill up our “life lists.” Mid-way through the trip someone remarked:
“Go with her. She is seeing all the really great stuff.”
My “hints” for people on birding trips:
- Break the rules once in a while (without being rude, of course);
- Go on walks by yourself now and again (which is how I saw the jaguar);
- Don’t think for one minute wildlife don’t “see” you when a you are standing with a large group of people bearing funny-looking contraptions like binoculars and telescopic cameras.
Case in point regarding the last suggestion ~ during our trip, a fellow tourist and his magnificent camera with a two-foot long telescopic lens were singled-out by a troop of spider monkeys one afternoon, and pummeled relentlessly from the treetops with nuts and other forest detritus.
What did his fellow birders think of that … I guess I’ll be polite and not say (smiles).