Spanish Version

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Bird watching, a surprising activity!

One in five people in the United States and a similar number in Europe use to enjoy bird watching. And it is increasingly becoming even more common. What is attracting people? Why such popularity? What are the benefits to us? This article will try to give an answer to these questions.
Figure 1. A male black-throated mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis),
very common in Southamerica

Bird watching allows us to know better the birds and learn more about nature and wildlife. The idea is, first, to identify the species that has been found according to the audio and visual features that are detected. It can be done with the naked eye, with the aid of binoculars or listening to the sounds they produce. It is an activity that can be done with the family and you do not need to go far from where you live.
The park located near your home or even your own garden will probably provide excellent opportunities for that. All it takes is time and patience. While the most seasoned observers try to find rarest birds in more complex habitats, using cameras or audio devices to watch birds, the general idea is the same in our case. You have to consider that over 10,000 species of birds have been identified in the world, so there are plenty of opportunities out there.
Figure 2. A male red-necked tanager (Tangara cyanocephala).
It can be found in the south and east part of Brazil, north of Argentina and Paraguay.
But how can we identify birds?
It is very similar to how we identify our neighbors. At the beginning everyone may seem strange, but after a while we detect certain particular characteristics such as size, shape, habits, etc. Birds are like little treasures that are ready to reveal. Once we put our attention on them, we begin to know them better and to admire its beauty. Many of these animals are colorful. Think of a color, and there is probably at least some birds that have that color. But its appearance is not the only feature that attracts our attention, there are its singing and all the details of his life, mobility and environment . Actually bird watching is a bird's study.
Birds are vertebrate animals having beaks. Although not all fly, they have always wings, they are hatched from eggs (egg-laying) and have feathers, which makes these animals unique. It is interesting to note how each type of bird has adapted to a specific environment and can be found from the southern end to the northern end of our planet.
Figure 3. A female burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia)
found throughout North and South America. 
The shape of the beak is usually related to the type of food they have. Some are thin and sharp for fishing as heron's beaks, others have a curved beak and pointed to tear the flesh like eagles, others like parrots can have strong beaks to eat hard fruits and so the variety is immense. Each type of bird has adapted not only its peak, but his whole body for a specific habitat. This is the reason also for migration or moving long distances even changing continents to find the right place with the type of food they require. So far it is not known with certainty many of the characteristics of these migrations and how well they know the right places to go at the right time. Some biologists have devoted to studying birds and they are called ornithologists. They have classified birds in various ways, for example, considering the type of food, like fruit-eating birds, granivorous birds, feeding on grains, insectivores, feeding on insects, nectar eating birds, carnivores that feed on meat, fishing birds, scavengers, which feed on dead animals, omnivores that feed on eggs, etc.
There is also another division according to the type of habitat or environment in which they live as jungle, mountains, wetlands, sea, etc.
The best way to identify them is to start getting to know the different groups of birds that share similar characteristics like the silhouette, posture, behavior, etc. For this there are books that have all the detail and help.
Figure 4. A male violaceous euphonia (Euphonia violacea) is a small
passerine bird found in Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina.
Why people watch birds? It's hard to explain. When we do this activity all the accumulated stress of daily life goes away. The contact with nature recharges our energy. We need also to display some physical activity like walking that improve our health, we get in tune with nature because generally we wear using natural colors or camouflage to not scare birds and we are also doing an activity that contributes to the preservation of these animals. Finally, this results in greater environmental education and love of nature that moves us to act on their preservation. "In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught" (Baba Dioum, Senegalese conservationist).
This is the purpose of this article, to put more attention to birds and nature and motivate you to study them and to preserve and spread this to more people.
Our future as humanity and consequently our survival depends on preserving nature. To do this, we must shift our focus from just thinking about us, and start paying attention to our surroundings and their people and animals.
Feel free to share this message with your friends.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Textures and abstracts

Most of the photos are currently aimed to specific objects or persons. The art in photography has developed, however, an abstract way. It tries to transmit a feeling or mood through the shape, colour, texture, light and shadows instead of a specific image in a commnon photo.

In this blog, the idea is to show some types of textures and abstract photos taken from nature. This is done to show the amazing details that sometimes are not perceived in our day by day activity.
How reach and beautiful is nature! It is a present from God and it is accessible to all of us.

Enjoy the following photos. We hope you will like them.

Texture series:
Trunk 1

Trunk 2

Trunk 3
Trunk 4

Nature 1

Nature 2

Nature 3

Nature 4

Nature 5

Nature 6

Nature 7
Nature 8

Nature 9
Abstract series:

Surface tension


Fashion colours

Bright colours
Sensual flower

New symbol

You decide

Iluminated undulations

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Titikaca lake, a treasure full of wonders

View of the Titicaca Lake with its typical blue color near the Copacabana town.

Lake Titicaca is one of the most beautiful lakes in South America. It is known as the highest navigable lake in the world and it is also the largest freshwater lake in this part of the world. It is also one of the most ancient lakes in the world with over than three million years of age.

The lake has many islands that generate an exceptional view.
 The lake is located between Bolivia and Peru and its altitude is over 3800 m above sea level and it covers 3200 square miles (8300 square km). The area is frequented by many tourists from all-over the world. The lake is known of having Inca ruins and also many interesting cultures like the Uros who live in artificial islands made of floating reeds as 'totora'. There are plenty of information about them in the internet and elsewhere.
Pre-inca ruins in the "Isla del Sol" Island

This article is focused on the natural beauty of the lake. The ecosystem of the lake is unique, because of a special microclimate generated by its presence. While the highlands are characteristic of a dry and cold alpine climate, the lake and its surroundings are warmer with higher humidity. This allows large populations of water birds and other animals like the famous and threatened Titicaca water frog.

Another view of the lake
In spring the surroundings of the lake are full of flowers.
The micro-climate offers excellent conditions for agriculture and fishing activities.
Quinoa crops in the "Isla del Sol"
Flowers give more beauty to the landscapes

The lake is part of a closed basin (100% of the water is balanced by evapo-transpiration due to strong winds and the high altitude). It is conformed by several lakes and rivers in the highland of Peru and Bolivia. So the environment is very unique and this allows the presence of awesome animals and plants.
Puna ibis. It is a typical example of the birds that may be found on the lake.
It is interesting to note that the touristic guides are indigenous people from the surroundings and the spot may one of the most visited places in the country (Bolivia).
Most of the people are peasants and belong to the aymara's culture.
Dusk in the Copacabana port.

These were some views of the lake and its surroundings, hope you have enjoyed them!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Flowers, a color Fair

This is the month when the Earth Day is celebrated and this celebration is aimed to increase awareness of the environment. From this blog we want to help showing the beauty of flowers that at the same time make a tribute to God. As Steve Irwin, the famous Crocodile Hunter, said with respect to wildlife: "There is no way to love something if you do not know it".  And through photos we can see details that although are sometimes close to us, we do not pay much attention to them. Today, more than ever, we need to assess the nature and contribute to its preservation, and the best way is to show it. Join us for this virtual Flower Fair!

Lantana Camara also known as Spanish Flag.
The color that we perceive depends on the sensitivity of the eye's cells, which is part of the visual system of each animal including humans. In fact, our brain interprets different wavelengths of visible light as a different color. Newton was the first one to show that sunlight is formed by all color bands of the visible spectrum and we can appreciate it naturally when we see a rainbow. Chromatography is the science that studies all color properties and the whole phenomenon related to it. There are other sciences that study the effect of colors on the mood of people, etc. But besides all the technical details that are very interesting, it is important to appreciate the wide range of colors that we have in nature and flowers are a big exponent of the color wonder.

Wild flowers have in general less petals but their beauty is amazing. This one here is an Oxalis articulata.
We know that flowers have a reproductive function, which is found in all plants of the division Magnoliophyta or angiosperms. The beauty of their colors and how they attract different animals for pollination is amazing. It is interesting to note that the name of the plants with the characteristic of attracting insects is entomophilous and literally means (in Greek) "loving insects". They have a relationship with insects that has been defined by science as co-evolution. When we see how it works it is impossible not to think of the divine authorship for all the beauty and perfection of this system.

A butterfly and some wild flowers.

 A perfect symbiosis between insects and plants.
Many of us, humans, use colors to reflect our mood or feelings, and flowers are an essential part of our lives. This explains why our cities are plenty of flower shops. Yes, in any event such as weddings, births, or deaths, we use them as an expression of our feelings.

Another example of wild flower.
All flowers are wonderful, but wild flowers are noteworthy for being precisely those that grow in their natural habitat without assistance from man. In Bolivia there is a fairly wide variety of this type. There is an estimated of 1865 recorded species of higher plants and 2,900 species, more likely, or 27% of all known plant species in the country. This number grows much more if one considers the entire continent.

A cactus flower in Patagonia. We can find beautiful flowers even in inhospitable places.

Portulaca Grandiflora, comúnmente llamada 11 horas, pues a esa hora se abren los botones en un día soleado.

Another wild flower in Patagonia. Undefined species.
The shape of this flower is quite unique.
Asclepias Curassavica, Nacional Park Amboró (Santa Cruz - Bolivia).

Lupinus  is a wild plant from the northwest of U.S.
Retama (Patagonia).
Cultivated tulips (Seattle, U.S.)
Tulips (family Liliaceae).
Japanese cherish blossom.
A wild plant in a tree shows the existing symbiosis between plants.

Note the same red tone in the butterfly wing and in the flower.
Sphagneticola trilobata, or Wedelia trilobata. It is not a cultivated flower, neither is perfect but it is beutiful.
Orchids  should also be present.
It is interesting to note that the color combination is always perfect in flowers.
The colors are not used only to attract insects, they also show the path they they should follow.
A simple flower with a nice color combination.
Note here the special shape like a heart.
Other flower with a singular beauty.
Wild flower with its pollinator.
Heliconia, locally named Patujú in the east part of Bolivia.
Another flower very similar to the former one.
The different shapes are amazing.
The beauty of flowers can only be found taking some time to assess it.

That is it for now. It is your turn to look at your place for these beauties that are definitely very close to you and to help preserve them.