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Aug 9, 2012

Gerry Binsfeld ~ 23 days in Peru ~ 524 species

King City resident and neighbour of mine, Gerry Binsfeld has just returned from Peru, South America, where he saw 524 bird species in 23 days.   His sightings were made in a variety of habitats, including  Peru's Pacific coastline,  the Andes Mountains and on the Amazon River.   Gerry got warmed up for his Peruvian journey by visiting Mexico for three weeks in January of this year, where he recorded 293 species of birds.   He estimates his life list is now somewhere around the 1600 mark.   Gerry is a retired locomotive engineer, a volunteer fireman in our village, and a full-time birder.   Gerry and I sat on my backyard deck for an hour one morning this week and I got to hear about what Gerry calls his best birding trip ever.   I thought when I asked him for his favourite bird on the trip, that he might hesitate while trying to pick one bird from a list of 524, but he quickly mentioned the Ornate Hawk Eagle (art print below, left, by Frederick Pallinger).   He also recalled, as special, his sighting of an Inca Tern (pictured below, right, By Adrian Pingstone) while on the Pacific coast.    Another highlight was a special outing to look for hummingbirds.   That search turned up 32 species of hummers!   I've only ever been birding with Gerry on one occasion and that was three years ago when he was leading a birding walk at Jokers Hill, the University of Toronto's Koffler Scientific Reserve, here in King Township.   Now, Gerry has asked me to join him this fall for a couple of days birding at Point Pelee, Ontario.   I'm looking forward to it.

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