I am surprised that I waited 5 years to join the list. Making full use of the internet is no easy thing. I have now joined Surfbirds to bring to your attention a little birding project of mine. I call it a cooperative field trip. It is non-profit if any of you were wondering.
If been e-mailing US birders for three weeks now getting the word out. I am reposting here the most up to date version of my tome-like e-mail.
Thanks for your time, and I hope to have some great conversations with the Surfbirds community about this project and future anything and everything.
Dear Fellow Birdwatchers,
My name is Morris Gevirtz and I am an American birdwatcher now residing in South America. I left the US in July of 2009 to spend a year or two travelling and birding South America. After having spent six months down here, I have decided to organize a coöperative birding field trip to Peru. I invite you to join me in April or May for three weeks or so of Peruvian Birding.
If you still haven’t deleted my message, what follows is an explanation.
This is what I call a birding coöperative. I organize a small group of people to go bird watching in hard to get to and very important birding areas. The idea is meet new birding friends while reducing the cost of birding. I earn no money from these, directly or indirectly. It’s about some people getting together to do interesting, memorable and cheap birding.
In January of 2009 I organized a coöperative to the Duluth area of Minnesota to look for boreal rarities. That was the first time that I reached potential group members through the internet. The Minnesota coöperative birding trip was one the best experiences of my life. Now I am organizing another coöperative and this time the destination is Perú.
I present more information about coöperative birding trips, this upcoming Perú trip and about me in titled sections
The Philosophy behind Coöperative Birding Trips
For many reasons, a very large number of American birders haven't birded abroad. Two major factors contribute to this including the high cost of birding tours and organizing one’s own requires a certain disposition. It is also true that some people are a little afraid of traveling in countries where English isn’t the national or commonly spoken tongue. I want to make the opportunity of foreign birding and travel available to those who otherwise might not be able to afford it, might be unsure about to striking out on their own, or would like to try the bird tour thing done a little differently -grass roots style, if you will.
This trip is open to anyone. Even if someone in a wheelchair is interested, believe or not, they can participate in 100% of the trip.
The coöperative nature of this field trip, along with the non-profit aspect, will make for an unbelievably inexpensive adventure. This will be a dynamic trip, which will incorporate many aspects about birds and bird life. Participants will come out of this intellectually and culturally enriched, having learnt about birds, their natural history, paleontology, and interaction with man today and millenia ago ...among many other things.
A Few Details about the Mechanics of a Coöperative Birding Trip
The first step is finding participants. This is by far the hardest step. Finding people isn’t easy.
Once a group of interested members is found, the e-mail volley begins and several decisions are made: the dates of the trip –one tries to include everyone, the specific birding areas people would like to visit and the like. There’s plenty of organizational issues to be discussed. But, if you are reading and e-mail like this one, it is because I have spent months getting information about routes, transportation, lodges and accommodations, guides, learning the local languages etc.
This Perú Trip
Like I explained above, I got here to Perú in July of 2009 and have spent the last six months travelling the country from North to South. I saw its many deserts, trekked its highest mountains, and have even been to the jungle. I have visited to Machu Picchu twice and it will be three time by the time you join me.
The trip might take place anytime, beginning April 3rd and ending May 30th.
No route is yet decided upon, since that is up to the group. There are some important things to consider. April and May are ideal times for Jungle birding. At that time of the year the rainy season has come to a close leaving the jungle in bloom, lush and restless with bird activity. We have to go to jungle and I doubt people will be much opposed...
In the high Andes the rainy season is also coming to a close during the boreal spring, making for wonderful birding. Throughout Perú, and the Andes in general, every 1000m elevation change comes with a radical change in climate and bird species.
But, since it's Perù we are talking about, we're probably going to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu, and given that, the choices become fewer. I would like to give the members a "taste" of the costal desert -Paracas, The Arequipa Canyons and plateau, The high sierra -Junin, and the lowland jungle -Manu.
Still, we can do anything we want.
About Me, Morris Gevirtz:
I got interested in birding after a summer 2004 trip to Cuernavaca México. I’ve been hooked ever since. I traveled at every opportunity after that, birding in Chile, Ecuador, England, Estonia, Costa Rica, the Western US, the Midwest, Florida, and several other places, many more than once. I have gotten fairly involved in birding since then, conducting Audubon Society field trips and teaching a basic ornithological concept course at a community development center in my college town.
I do photography for a living (among other things) and studied Latin and Classical History in college.
In 2008 I started Epic Bird Tours. The company offers discount birding to several locations is the Americas. THIS TRIP HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MY COMPANY.
I REPEAT, these coöperative tours have NOTHING to do with my business, are not listed on its website, and have no other association other than my very involvement in both.
This brings me to explaining why I do this. I like to. I have always invited friends and acquaintances to join me in my world travel and other projects including vegetable gardens, house restoration and photography. Some people whittle, others surf, I travel and invite others along. I gain companionship, life-long friendships, knowledge, and save some money by inviting people.
So, would you like to bird with me in Perú?
.....If you have stuck this e-mail out to this far, then you might as well e-mail me with your questions. I hope to see you here in Perú.
Morris A. Gevirtz