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lunes, 7 de abril de 2014

Laguna Blanca 2: Return of the Birdman

I spent three days in 2012 and three months with Para La Tierra (PLT) at Laguna Blanca (LB) last year and had the most amazing experience. I returned to London and became immersed in my regular job with the Metropolitan Police but knew I would return someday! I applied for extended leave during March and April 2014. Once the leave was approved I began preparing for my return. I am a birder, twitcher, or whatever other label can be put on my hobby. Many people look at me and cannot work out the combination of the two, many think I am winding them up when I tell them about my feathered friends. But in truth being a Cop and a birder complement each other perfectly and by this I mean the chaos of my daily working life needs to be offset with complete relaxation with the bonus of my desire to travel to relatively unknown destinations thrown in. This is where PLT enter the room and take a huge step forward. Four years ago a scientific research station was set up at LB. The area is one of outstanding natural beauty and is probably one of the best kept secrets in South America. Interns and volunteers can come and complete projects in their field of expertise with a team of dedicated scientists at hand to assist in maximising the potential of such a project. Where do I fit into the above you may ask? I do not have a scientific background but I have a passion that burns inside for interaction with my feathered friends. With the assistance of the staff at PLT I have been guided along the path to thinking about the science behind what began as a hobby! I have been taught to apply scientific techniques to my bird watching and I feel that the term ornithologist is becoming a more appropriate description of my activities. I have the greatest admiration for the work that is carried out by the PLT team and sometimes wonder if the staff appreciates the difference that they make within the community! This is most evident when you venture outside the reserve and you are welcomed with open arms wherever you go. The PLT house brings together people from all over the world and presents a great opportunity to broaden ones horizons and to make life-long friends! There is also the possibility that you could find a new species for the reserve or even for science! I have assisted with other onsite projects which have broadened my knowledge of the beautiful surroundings I have the privilege of walking in each day. If you have not visited LB I can only suggest you download a map and look up Laguna Blanca San Pedro Dept Paraguay then get planning! You never know you may even bump into a crazy birdman because he has every intention of returning! Kevin Guest Para La Tierra Volunteer March-May 2014 (London