The Peru Pile is building up in one corner of my studio; an open duffle bag receives thrown goods as I think of them or as they arrive by UPS. A good headlamp. Ten 2 gig memory cards. A camp stool that folds down into a flat little triangle in a small camouflage zippered bag. On the pile they go, along with the custom masonite drawing board that fits perfectly in the new backpack, and the brushes and paints and all the paper and sketchbooks and rapidograph pens. And the little sound recorder SNOMNH is sending down there with me, to record bird songs and monkey noises and cicadas and other jungle audio to mix into a Tropical Rainforest Wall of Sound for the Exhibit. And lots of plastic bags.
Besides getting this pile weighed and measured and finally packed, I’m finishing an illustration project. Not the afore-mentioned Birds of Trinidad and Tobago, but a lovely book on urban wildlife for Harvard Press and let me just say it’s wonderfully written, thoughtful and made me cry. It’s by a wildlife biologist at University of Massachusetts, and I’m thrilled to be adding the visual element. The illustrations will go out in tomorrow’s mail with luck and the deadline gods on my side, and on Monday I’ll fly to the Amazon via OKC/Dallas/Miami/ Lima/Iquitos.
I’ve been meaning to share the most wonderful website with you where you can go to see great videos of birds of the world, and besides being a supreme reference for the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago project, it’s incredibly distracting with some wild clips. It’s like YouTube for birders, and completely addictive when you see bizarre behaviors like the mating dance of the Great Argus Pheasant, or the weird facial skin inflation display of the Temminck’s Tragopan (would that be a lappet dance?). I LOVE this website. It just brings home how diverse and infinitely interesting birds are. All 9,724 species of them.