Friday, December 18, 2009

Missing Peregrine!

Ahhh... Bosque Del Apache... for anyone who has experienced birding here it brings to mind visions of fall and winter magic! This gem of the National Wildlife Refuge system here in the US, offers unbelievably wondrous natural spectacles. Many come to view the spectacle of the crane and waterfowl migration which is indeed amazing, but there is SOOO much more to appreciate as well.

adult Prairie Falcon, digiscoped Bosque Del Apache, NWR, NM 11/19/09

The morning of November 19th started like most other fall mornings at Bosque, enjoying the lift-off of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese just before first light. Shortly thereafter, I was forunate to encounter an adult Prairie Falcon perched at roadside very near the visitor's center. In the early morning light, the bird was washed in a wonderful pink glow. The sun was just on the horizon at this point and it looked to be another fabulous day! The remains of a freshly plucked "Red-shafted" (Northern) Flicker lay beneath this perch. It was obvious this bird hadn't recently eaten a Flicker, as it's crop would have been bulging if it had. Clearly, someone had eaten this bird here though and an adult Prairie Falcon would certainly be a good candidate. Maybe that was last night's dinner!?!...

American Kestrel, male digiscoped with Leica APO Televid 65 mm scope & D-Lux 4 camera

American Kestrels are another common falcon species, and we saw many on this day. The male above sat on Route 1 just before entering the refuge from the North. I watched him hunting over 3 days with his bum foot. Even though he had no use of it, he seemed to be faring well. Both he and his tolerent mate (shown below) were camera hogs. They'd obviously taken up residence here knowing how many photographers visit and were hoping for extra photos! ;p
OK - maybe not, but they were remarkably tolerent by Kestrel standards and allowed me to park my vehicle close enough to get some very nice images!
female American Kestrel, digiscped near Bosque del Apache NWR entrance, 11/19/09
Upon breaking for lunch I spotted my third falcon species of the day again just outside the refuge entrance on route 1. A distant Merlin was perched on a phone pole in harsh backlight. The photo below normally would be deleted but it helps to tell the story. Hmmm... 3 falcon species by mid day and I knew of two others being reported near daily in and around the refuge.
falcon species #3 a distant, backlit Merlin in harsh light!

Near sunset, there was time for a short trek around a portion of the loop on the refuge. I was really hoping to run into the gorgeous young Aplomado Falcon that was being reported, and in the late evening light I was fortunate enough to find it. It was amazingly cooperative again and I was able to get a number of nice photos in the warm evening light. Since, I was digiscoping, I had the advantage of incredible magnification so did not have to get too close to the bird!

immature Aplomado Falcon digiscoped through Leica APO Televid 65 mm 11/19/09

Whoa, four falcon species on the same day and the same place. With all of the prey species there where clearly a Peregrine Falcon around somewhere. I scanned the horizon in vain as the light faded. I was hoping for 5 species of falcon in one day in the US. This is a very difficult task to pull off. Sadly my Peregrine didn't show so I had to "settle" for merely enjoying 4 species (although I had 5 for the trip). Clearly though I have no room to complain it was a spectacular day with stunning views of fabulous birds.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Will the smaller 65mm scope fit my needs?...

One of the big questions spotting scope consumers have to answer is, "which size scope should I buy?" Like most manufacturers, Leica offers two different scope sizes: a larger 82 mm model (bottom) and a more compact 65 mm model (at top). The mm listing is the physical diameter of the objective lens which is opposite the smaller eyepiece. A larger objective lens allows more light to enter the optical system, meaning there is a larger circle of light entering your eye (or camera if digiscoping).

Consumers have to balance absolute optical performance with portability, and ease of use in the same way they do with binoculars. Obviously, this is a very personal decision and one that each individual has to make for themselves. To answer this fully one has to consider their individual habits to include: 'will I be using the scope at last light or first light or in very dark conditions?' (tropical rain forests for example), and 'will I tend to not carry a heavier scope?' I suspect the latter question is most important actually because if the size and weight will preclude or dissuade you from using the scope then clearly the more compact, lightweight option is for you!

left to right Kenn Kaufman, Bill Thompson, III, and Pete Dunne at Asa Wright Nature Centre
Along that line, while I certainly feel the APO Televid 82 mm represents the pinnacle of optical performance, I would never discourage anyone from looking toward the smaller APO Televid 65 mm spotting scope either. I think it is superb and it definitely outperforms its predecessor and rivals the performance of our older 77 mm models. Naturally, being an employee of Leica, I'd suspect people will find my commentary suspect, so I'd also like to offer some thoughts from other unbiased individuals.

Bill Thompson III of Bird Watcher's Digest magazine made the following comments regarding the new Televids after trying both on a recent trip to Asa Wright in Trinidad and Blue Water's Inn, Tobago, '...I used the 82 & 65 and loved them both, but where portability and weight were a factor, I preferred the 65 mm. Even in digiscoping where light is crucial, I feel I only missed the light gathering of the 82 mm when I was digiscoping Oilbirds in near complete darkness...'

Read more of Bill's exploits in Trinidad & Tobago here:
and particularly about digiscoping at Asa Wright Nature Centre here:

Of course, while commentary like mine and Bill's (and others) is clearly helpful, these are still opinions and as I already pointed out scope selection is a very personal endeavor. As such, I feel that often images can speak louder than words. While I've carried the 65 mm Televid scope around, I hadn't really run it through its paces properly so I decided to use it solely at the recent "Festival of the Cranes" at Bosque Del Apache NWR last month.

The following images were all shot through the Leica APO Televid 65 mm spotting scope using the Leica D-Lux 4 camera and matched digital adapter at the festival. I'll let the images speak for themselves and leave it to you to judge your thoughts on performance!

No crane fest would be complete without cranes,
so here are two Sandhill Cranes dropping in from on high.

Townsend's Solitaires were common in Juniper habitats
in the foothills of the nearby mountains.

Greater Sandhill Cranes probe in mud for small invertebrates!

fresh plumaged Red-winged Blackbird males show
tawny-golden feather edges on their backs.

the bird above shows these feather edgings on its crown as well.

an adult Prairie Falcon is washed in pink early morning light as the sun just rises!

an adult female Northern Harrier (Hen Harrier in Europe...) cranes its neck

an "Oregon" race Dark-eyed Junco feeds on seed heads

immature Aplomado Falcon perched up at sunset

Bald Eagle pair sillhouetted at sunrise

male American Kestrel perches on a wire near noon!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Magic of Cape May

Recently, through the glamorous life of travel, I returned to Florida from Newark, NJ. The interesting thing was this was following the annual Cape May Bird Observatory (NJ Audubon) fall bird show. So with a left side window I was able to enjoy the scenery as a southbound hawk might see it (even though I was considerably higher)!

The first landmark I recognized was the north pointing peninsula, Sandy Hook. A fair hawk watching spot in its own right. North bound spring migrants use this spit of land to get halfway across to Long Island and other points north.

New Jersey has always gotten a bad rap for the human congestion in the northern portion of the state, but heading south from Sandy Hook, most of the coast is a giant system of contiguous salt marshes and waterways! If you blow this image up you can just make out the only real heavy human congestion in this whole area. Note the skyscrapers of Atlantic City near the center of the image on the coast.

Continuing south from here was that magical south facing peninsula itself. Like a giant avian funnel the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean conspire to offer birders unimagineable concentrations of all types of migrant birds at the very southern tip of this land mass.

famed Cape May lighthouse and convent photographed D-Lux 4 camera, Oct 2009
This magical spot is of course, Cape May, New Jersey. A mecca for birders worldwide who descend on this community by the thousands each weekend in September & October. One of the crowned jewels of this fabled town sits literally in the shadow of the Cape May Point lighthouse in the state park here. The Cape May Hawk Watch has been run every year for... well... err.. a long time. I hate to stop and do the math actually because when I do, it reminds me of just how much further from young I get every day. It was actually 22 years ago when I first conducted this hawkwatch. Every day from sunise to sundown beginning in mid August and wrapping up near early December, I'd sit on a smaller platform that sat on this very site and count each and every hawk I saw.

But the Cape May Hawk Watch had already been a staple in the birding community long before I was invited to take the prestigious post and earn my official membership to "National Brotherhood of Professional Hawkwatchers". I'd guess the official hawkwatch dated back at least 12 years before this, and the stories of shooters lining the streets to hunt hawks here are infamous dating well back toward the turn of the century. The famed father of American birding hiself, Roger Tory Peterson, hitch hiked to Cape May as a very young man to witness the amazing migration spectacle here and was taken in by a local family. For dinner they served (what else?!?...) Sharp-shinned Hawk. Later in life at a talk I remember Roger recalling this and suggesting that it actually tasted a lot like chicken!

On some days, particularly in late October as the migration tapers off a bit, the platform can be a bit slow...

but when the winds turn to from the NorthWest people and hawks will come out of the woodwork. On these days it is nothing to see thousands of hawks and if you don't want to work to hard at it, never fear there will always be nice close views. Often Shrp-shinned & Cooper's Hawks will swing by at or below eye level hugging the contours of the brush as Accipiters are prone to do. Falcons like Peregrines, Merlins, and Kestrels will buzz low overhead offering fabulous views, while Northern Harriers (or Hen Harriers to our friends on the other side of the Atlantic) will course low over the marshes just in front of the watch. The official hawk counter is responsible for trying to spot and count them all but the rest of us (including the helpful interns looking the wrong way above) are free to just enjoy the views of the closer birds if we choose.
On Friday night during the festival a cold front passed and the winds turned Northwest at 10-20 mph! Knowing every birder in the point would make their way to the hawkwatch I set up my extra binoculars and spotting scopes on the hawkwatch and was sharing these with any who cared to borrow a pair to view the fantastic natural phenomenon that was unfolding right above our heads. There were hawks migrating everywhere and the views were phenomenal!

As the crowds broke in the evening I put my extra binoculars away but stayed on long after everyone else had left. I continued scanning even though the birds had mostly settled in and the flight was done for the day. I was hoping perhaps for a Short-eared Owl or some other late surprise and candidly feeling a bit nostalgic as I stood alone on the platform with my thoughts. As the final rays of light faded, an American Bittern flapped purposefully across the marsh out front and dissappeared behind a thick section of reeds. I spotted a Peregrine Falcon as it labored across the cloud-strewn sky, coming from offshore carrying some unidentified prey that had made the ultimate sacrifice on this treacherous journey south.
After surrendering the Peregrine to the darkening sky, I hoisted my scope & tripod and slowly retired for the evening. Still enjoying the rush from the spectacle I'd enjoyed!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

quick comparison

In the comments section of my last post I was asked why I prefer digiscoping. The crux of my explanation was that I'm a birder first and photographer second, but I also alluded to the differences between the two set ups particularly as it relates to magnification.

The image of the Red-headed Woodpecker above was digiscoped through the Leica APO Televid 82 mm spotting scope with the D-Lux 4 camera at the equivalent of near 1800 mm lens. (ISO 100, 1/160th sec, f/2.8, +0.3 stop)

This is the same image with a bit of photoshop magic applied. I've assumed 400 mm is the most common length lens for bird photography, with a 1.5x crop factor on the DSLR body. What this means in lay terms is that the sensor in many common DSLR bodies is smaller than a 35 mm film frame so the subsequent captured image is magnified a bit to reach the size of a 35 mm film frame. The net effect is that a camera lens that is rated as a 400 mm on a film body, will offer 1.5x the magnification, or the subsequent subject size will be comparable to that of a 600 mm lens shot on 35 mm film.

At any rate, 600 mm is 1/3 rd the size of my 1800 mm so in the image above I've reduced the size of the original image to 1/3rd the size of the original. Then utilizing cut & paste techniques filled in to create a uniform sky and extended the pole to offer a the illusion of an accurate comparison of subject size difference between my image and that of someone shooting with a 400 mm lens right next to me.

I took my image of the bird from across the road on top of a phone pole. The DSLR photographer could naturally move closer, but the perspective would change dramatically and the subsequent image would be staring straight up the bird's back or side to accomodate a closer distance.

Wilson's Plover digiscoped w/ Leica APO Televid 77 & C-Lux 2 camera

The image above was taken 2 years ago on the "beach photo safari" at the Florida Bird & FotoFest in St. Augustine, FL. The walk is designed for long lens photogs to get images of gulls, terns, and shorebirds in late evening light. They are driven out to a distant point of a barrier island where these birds concentrate. When they arrive, they target a specific bird or group of birds, then drop to their bellies and slowly crawl across the sand toward their subjects.

I went along to bird and see what was out there as this point would normally require a VERY long trudge through sand taking a couple hours. As the happy photogs were slowly inching toward their subjects I happily snapped a few shots from the truck over their heads not even bothering to crouch let alone belly crawl.

Then I continued birding recording over 30 species of birds including other gems like Snowy Plover, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Northern Gannet, Red Knot, and 6 species of terns. I was the only one in the group carrying binoculars let alone a scope. About an hour later one happy photog returned to the truck wet and cold, and proudly showed me his best image. He didn't know what it was but was thrilled with the result he'd gotten and asked me what it was. I explained it was a Wilson's Plover and pulled my point & shoot out of my pocket and showed him near the exact image as seen above. So in this instance at least it seemed that digiscoping produced near the same exact result with much less effort with a lot of time left over to appreciate the many bird species out there.

Granted, if a Peregrine had winged up the beach, I would not have gotten an image likely by digiscoping, but I'd still have enjoyed the view of the mighty bird streaking past. If one of the beach bound photographers had even noticed the bird going by and knelt or stood up they might have gotten the image, but would still not have the appreciation for the powerful flight with wingtips arcing smoothly up and then rolling downward like a wave while peering through their small viewfinders.

As I said at the outset, it's just a matter of preference and perspective and under varying conditions each style of photography will outperform the other. If you are more likely to tuck the binoculars away and do without a scope, and are willing to creep or sneak in on birds to get within 20-30', then the DSLR with telephoto is likely the way for you. For me though, I prefer to simply setup the scope, mount the camera and take the shot to not miss too much of the wildlife activities around me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Alabama & odd sightings

adult Red-headed Woodpecker digiscoped @ Fairhope, AL 10/2009
I recently returned from Fairhope, Alabama where I attended the Alabama Coastal Birdfest. The event was great fun even though a backlog of work kept me from enjoying many of the field aspects here. None-the-less, even with extremely limited field time I managed to find things to enjoy! Red-headed Woodpeckers are always a treat to observe and these birds seemed particularly abundant in and around the town of Fairhope. The bird digiscoped above was found on Saturday evening just a block south of the college where we displayed!

Brown-headed Nuthatch digiscoped Fairhope, AL 10/2009
Brown-headed Nuthatches also seemed quite commonplace and it seemed I heard their "rubber ducky-esque" calls any time I was near conifers in and around Fairhope. Of course seeing them on the trunk of a pine is not unusual but seeing one on a power line is!
Brown-headed Nuthatch digiscoped through Leica APO Televid 82 with D-Lux 4 camera
The nuthatch digiscoped on a low power line above (at least in my experience) was the first odd sighting I enjoyed and was able to get an image of. I was muttering under my breath, "Stay.. stay.. stay.." as I quickly set my scope up and slid the camera on to capture proof of the event.
dramatic skies at sunset Fairhope, Alabama 10/10/09
Being my first visit to the area, I used the last bit of fading light on Saturday to explore. I pointed my vehicle west knowing eventually I would find Mobile Bay and maybe a bird or two. Not surprisingly I saw Red-headed Woodpeckers and Brown-headed Nuthatches along the waterfront in the hillside pines here, but I was too late to see or hear much. I turned my attention to the dramatic sunset instead.
digiscoped sunset, Fairhope, Alabama 10/10/09

As the sun sank below the horizon I was hoping for a green flash or similar when I had yet another unusual sighting.

Canada Goose wrapped in reflected sunlight

The brilliant reddish-orange sunlight reflected off the water and framed Canada Geese sitting at the shore in a cool brilliant halo or aura. Unfortunately, I was not able to capture this as vividly as it appeared to my eye, perhaps due to the scope coatings designed to control stray or reflected light?!?... I don't know, but it was still neat to see and I couldn't ever remember seeing this effect so vividly.

Eastern Phoebe digiscoped with Leica APO Televid 82, Fairhope, AL 10/11/09
On Sunday evening, I was making my way toward the Mobile airport enjoying the numerous migrants that had come in on the NW winds. Yellow-rumped Warblers and Indigo Buntings were calling everywhere. I watched a tired Eastern Meadowlark and a Yellow-billed Cuckoo drop into the small waterfront park near lunch.
I decided I had time for one last stop on my way to the airport near 3 PM so pulled into the 5 Rivers Nature Center on the causeway back to Mobile. Eastern Phoebes and Bluebirds were en force here. I found my first Golden-crowned Kinglet of the fall and saw 2 different Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers here.
Eastern Phoebe, 5 Rivers Nature Center, AL 10/11/09

I'd been enjoying great photo ops all day and had been lucky/quick enough to capture 2 odd sightings in a row. I should have known my luck would soon change. After digiscoping yet another Eastern Phoebe and a male Pine Warbler, I laid my scope across the back seat and my trusty point & shoot on the passenger side floor. I continued down the main park road passing the canoe & kayak launch, viewing Northern Mockingbirds and Brown Thrashers teed up at roadside, eventually reaching the proverbial "end of the road".

It was near 4 PM and the road ahead went from pavement to gravel/shell and the sign here instructed that this was accessible by employees only. As I prepared to turn around I looked out the driver's side window. A bird perched on a low fence near 40 feet away, lifted off and flew directly away up a small slope. The lighting was perfect and I noted a pale gray back and contrastingly dark tail that was splayed out and slightly notched. The bird hung and wind hovered for a bit before dropping to the ground. The shape, and color pattern struck a familiar chord and I knew that bird wouldn't be likely here so I quickly glassed it.

I noted the relatively uniform light gray head and upper back, before it lifted off and flew directly back to perch on the short fence. My initial suspicions were confirmed as I saw the unmistakable peachy underparts of a Say's Phoebe! It was so close, I was certain it would spook if I stepped out. Instead, I turned and detached my scope from the tripod in the back seat and was beginning to attach it to the car window mount when my luck ran out. The bird lifted off and paralleled the river here. With a strong wind to its back, the bird quickly drifted further and further away... 100... 200 yards then it swept across a side channel and dropped out of sight behind a large white house.

It appeared the bird had landed but my view was blocked by the taller stream side vegetation here. I spent the next few minutes looking for lingering birders but only dog walkers and folks coming in for an evening meeting of sorts.... not a binocular in sight. I tried calling the few birder's numbers I had, leaving message after message but it was time to go. I reluctantly loaded up and headed back under the tunnel to catch my flight. A good bird seen but unfortunately not confirmed.

Worse yet I had been unable to share this rarity with any locals and with light fading and no one contacted it was unlikely anyone would even get a chance to find it until the following morning. It was neat seeing a bird like this far out of its normal range, but I'd seen Say's on both of last two trips to Monterey & Colorado respectively. I know from past experience what an exciting experience seeing this bird would have been to most in the local community.

C'est la vie! You win some, you lose some. The score this time was Birds 1, Birder zero. Still win or lose, I always enjoy playing the game and had a wonderful day on the shores of Mobile Bay!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Colorado digiscoping

Bill Schmoker @ Littleton, CO digiscoping seminar

Had a great time at the recent Colorado digiscoping seminar held in Littleton, CO. The hosts and guests were great, we had wonderful dealer support... Unfortunately, the weather was less than great. On the night prior to the event, the first winter storm rolled in and temps in the teens turned rain to snow! Too cold for this FL boy. Fortunately, the Littleton, CO crowd is a tough lot and many showed to learn a bit about digiscoping.

female American Kestrel, digiscoped during seminar w/ Leica APO Televid scope

After a classroom session, we made our way out toward duck blinds where participants practiced on the many Wigeon and other waterfowl that were obscured in the fog-covered water. The overcast gray hung with us all day making the images further dull unfortunately, but I think most got the idea of how the basics work and should be able to get better images when the sun returned.

immature Black-crowned Night-Heron digiscoped October 2009

The female American Kestrel at top was sitting on a wire just behind the nature center upon returning from the duck blind. A cold, young Black-crowned Night-Heron sat along a stream edge in the image above. This was taken during the second (cooler) afternoon walk after the wind had picked up making digiscoping even less enjoyable. The organizers did a great job with every aspect of the event, but I guess the weather was out of their control! :)

Black-billed Magpie digiscoped @ road-edge, Littleton, CO 10/2009

The following morning was still cold and gray but I managed to enjoy some of the local bird species just outside the hotel. Black-billed Magpies were very abundant and it was nice to be able to study plumage variation in Lesser Goldfinch as above. All that I saw in CO, appeared consistently different than those along the California coast from weeks earlier. I may have to look into some of the known subspecific variations.

Lesser Goldfinch digiscoped with Leica APO Televid & D-Lux 4 camera

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day (and night) of the Goliaths!

male Goliath Beetle, Trinidad, 7/23/09

On one of our days in Trinidad the highlights fell not on birds, and the emphasis wasn't on digiscoping either... GASP! No on this day there was a unique treat in store, this was the day of the Goliaths!... (and an early birthday celebration).

female Goliath Beetle nearly filling my palm, Trinidad, 7/23/09

The morning started with some birding that was really great, but I won't dwell on that for now. Instead I'll talk about a personal treat, running into Goliath Beetles. The male at top (while cool looking) was unfortunately dead, but still photogenic I might add. The girl below though was an alive one I found on a chain link fence that I had to share with my friends.

positively prehistoric!

Below, Kim Kaufman finds the answer to one of nature's mysteries, "I wonder what would happen if I tried to get a picture of a Goliath Beetle on my shirt?!?..." also proving this was very much an alive Goliath Beetle. Sorry Kim, you didn't deserve it, but glad she waited to get off my hand! Perhaps it was something you said?!?.... ;p

Kim Kaufman displays her badge of honor left from the cool Goliath Beetle!
From the title you realize this adventure stretches into the night! One HUGE advantage of a summer visit to Trinidad over the typical fall & winter trips is the wondrous natural spectacle that occurs nightly on the beaches of Matura! Following our typical fabulous lunch and some mid afternoon veranda time back at the Asa Wright Nature Centre, we packed our evening picnic gear (complete with early birthday cake) and headed to the beaches. We enjoyed a hot picnic dinner prepared by the centre staff complete (naturally) with famed rum punch as the sun went down and soon the fun began.

Juie Zickefoose studies a young Leatherback Sea Turtle
We were treated to a spectacle that is rarely observed by most of us and indeed none in this group of esteemed world travelers had ever enjoyed this spectacle of nature before. Above Julie studies one of these diminutive creatures barely larger than the Goliath Beetle, as only an artist could!
the "Thopso-foose" couple in awe of these amazing creatures!

Of course it wasn't long before the curiosity just leads to pure joy that any naturalist would be sure to feel at a time like this. I think the faces say more than my words possibly could. Above Bill Thompson, III & Julie Zickefoose are clearly thankful to be able to assist in the research taking place. Below Kenn & Kim Kaufman are equally blown away!
Kenn & Kaufman study a rare close-up look of Leatherback Turtle hatchlings.

Despite the impression given by the photos, most of the time the beach is kept completely dark except for one or two dim red lights used by researchers. There are often many researchers and visiting guests on the beaches so young turtle hatchlings like these are sometimes collected and hand-delivered to the ocean so they are not accidentally trodden on. Guests donations and permit fees help to fund the project here and since its inception, the community has rallied behind the world class spectacle here. With the community support turtle nest poaching (once common) is now a thing of the past! Another example of how tourism has actually aided in preservation/conservation.
Julie takes advantage of a rare opportunity in nature!

Now these tiny swimmers hardly seem worthy of the title "Goliath" however, if they are one of the very few to beat the odds and live long enough to return to this beach to breed they will indeed be giants. The largest of the Sea Turtles, Leatherbacks typically reach over 1,000 pounds! On this night we were fortunate enough to not only see hatchings but we had multiple adults on the beach as well. At first we had two together, one did a "false crawl" where it came out of the water and did a short loop then returned not finding the precise spot it wanted. The second began digging but the sand in this spot was too soft and the sides kept collapsing. As I said, most of this is observed by whatever ambient light the moon & stars cast, and to some degree the dim red lights used by researchers. It was amazing to watch as an enormous dark shadowy form would de deposited by the black waters retreating from a wave crest. I was forunate enough to be staring toward the sea as one of these shadowed behemoths magically "appeared".

the crew enjoys the show!

At long last though this female found firm sand and was able to dig a hole she approved of to lay her eggs. It is only at this point that researchers will allow flashlights and photography in the short window as she lays her eggs. Apparently, in this semi-torpid state they are oblivious to the disturbance. It was a long day but an adventure and experience that none in our party will ever forget! Thank you again to Asa Wright Nature Centre, Caligo Ventures, and the team of dedicated researchers at Matura for allowing us to experience such an amazing and rare spectacle of nature so few have the opportunity to enjoy!