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Brasilian Atlantic and Amazonian Rainforests | Femi Faminu video

October 29, 2021

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

Wondering just how long Femi Faminu has been coming to Malibu Lagoon, I searched through my email and found that she first appeared on 10/23/11 among the “new faces.” We first communicated by email about the 12/8/18 Back Bay Newport field trip, I mentioned her in that trip’s write-up as the only one to spot a Sora, and we sorted out the other rail sightings and photos. Since then we communicate in bursts: I help her ID a bird photo, she comments on (or corrects!) some posting of mine, we swap jokes and discuss trips one or the other of us have taken or will soon take.

We’re both rather introverted (yes, really), we both feel that introversion is not a defect, and we both love birds.

Once, after what seemed like the 15th photo of a small blurry bird which she had sent to me, I commented, “I hope you don’t become one of those people who takes endless photos and ID’s everything back at home.” “Too late for that, I’m afraid,” she replied.

Her photography has improved considerably over the years. Her photo last August of the Red-necked Stint was the only one I saw—including all the photos by all the eBirders—that caught the bird walking closely to and paralleling a Western Sandpiper, perfectly displaying their subtle differences in plumage, size, bill length and bill curvature.

Red-necked Stint and closer Western Sandpiper. Malibu Lagoon (Photo: Femi Faminu, 8-22-21, time: 11:08)

About this photo, Femi commented when she sent it to me: “I’m not sure if it’s helpful or a hindrance to have other (hopefully more familiar) birds in the photo to help with identification of our mystery bird.”

If I didn’t say so then, I’ll say it now: Yes. It definitely helps. It makes many ID problems much easier, especially the always difficult estimation of size, at which nearly everyone is far worse than they would care to believe.

I didn’t know until quite recently (last month!) that she also took films. After viewing this short YouTube film I contacted her for permission to put it on the blog. I think you’ll enjoy it. Part of the trip was at Rio Cristalino in the southern Amazonian Basin, an excellent, hot and humid birding spot I’ve visited. Her comments are below the link.

Brazilian people were very friendly. A lot of them speak English and are too shy to use it, however if they see you making an effort (by speaking lousy Spanish), they will do the same. Food at the lodges was pretty good. Food at the airports was like airport food the world over; pretty awful.

Key thing to note is that I requested that no playback of recorded calls be used to lure the birds which I was able to do because I had private guides. Both guides (Atlantic and Amazon) were quite anxious about this in the beginning but eventually they relaxed and were surprised by the number and ‘quality’ of species we did see. 

I missed flight segments both going and coming. Be wary of those ‘legal’ connection times which are nigh impossible to meet due to security checks, etc. To their credit, United re-booked me on the next available flights with minimal fuss. 

At the end of the film there is a complete trip list of birds, the great length of which will surprise most people because, as Femi writes above, they were found without the use of tape recordings.

One Comment
  1. ethanski permalink
    October 29, 2021 5:44 am

    Gracias Excellent picture clearly shows differences!!

    Sent from my iPhone: No puppies or trees were harmed by this e-mail……. ….have a marvelous day!



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