WARNING! BIRD NERD ALERT!
It was a big moment on Wednesday, but I didn't realize it until today! We were returning from taking some food to a mother and her two kids who live far out in the country, and both Sister Yanira and Don Gary (our driver) were patient and kind enough to stop along the way so I could take photos of birds I spotted. They both knew I was getting close to a milestone in my life list, so they were indulging me very kindly.
For those of you who aren't fanatic birders like I am, a life list is a count of the total amount of different species of birds you have seen. For instance, there are over 900 species of birds in the United States and over 900 species of birds in Bolivia. Some birds here are the same but many are different. It's been fun to see new birds here, especially ones we don't see in Wisconsin like macaws, parrots and Oropendolas.
On Wednesday, I was at a count of 598 species of birds on my life list, and I was really hoping to get to 600 before I left Bolivia for my visit home. I was able to take many photos, but as I reviewed them later that day, there was only one new species. I was ok with it and thought that maybe I would find another before I left.
I uploaded my photos to iNaturalist (it's an app and a website) to confirm my identifications and didn't think anything more of it. There are people all over the world that look at the identifications and either confirm them or suggest alternates. I was doing some traveling and other things so I hadn't checked back. You might be interested to know that as I traveled to Santa Cruz (where I will fly out of) I did see a new bird, a Maguari Stork. I was excited for that one too, but it wasn't meant to be number 600.
Once I was settled here in Santa Cruz and looked at iNaturalist, I realized that I had misidentified a macaw species as one I already knew. Three reviewers updated the observation to something else, so I knew it was the correct one. So I went back and added the Red-shouldered Macaw and with that change suddenly, I had a new 600th bird species! It's a Rufescent Tiger-heron, and what a beauty!
As I look at this beautiful bird, I can't but marvel at the creativity of the Creator who could make such different and remarkable types of birds - and such different and remarkable herons! What a gift I have been given to get to see so many wondrous birds. And with all gifts from God, giving them away is a joy. I hope you enjoy this photo that I am sharing!
Click here for a list of all the birds I've seen, if you're interested!
When we look at the order of creation, we form in our mind an image, not of the essence, but of the wisdom of [God] who has made all things wisely. - St. Gregory of Nyssa
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