The Illustrating Birder

Like the birds, many of us living the cruising life, migrate.  We can't sail in the hurricane/cyclone season, so we use the opportunity to go 'home' for visits.  We left Peregrine docked in Marina Chiapas and like a dozen or so other sailors, flew home.

When we return, we clean our musty boats and those who are moving on ready and provision for the next leg. On our first day back, our neighbor, Dave, on Hopalong, was on the dock cleaning something and told me another birder was in the marina. He said the guy was writing a bird guide for Costa Rica and I should meet him.  Of course, I wanted to, but we had so much to do to make Peregrine livable, that I didn't seek him out immediately.  One of  my aka names for Peregrine is the Leaky Sieve and we always come back to more than just 'musty'; we come back to moldy.  After several days of cleaning, I took off for an evening bird walk.  As I was wandering near the restaurant, Gene and another guy came walking toward me and I was introduced to fellow birder, Bryan of Copernicus.    

It turned out that Bryan is the illustrator for the bird books he is working on. We chatted for a few minutes and he said a group was gathering at the restaurant for cocktails to send off a departing sailor and asked us to join. While we were sitting, I asked him about the book.  He had one of those mini laptop things and showed me some of his illustrations. I was blown away!  I guess I should have known that if someone is good enough to illustrate for a field guide, they would be good, but these drawings are better than just good. He showed me some of his hummingbirds and I could see iridescence!  These are not the usual flat colors one sees in field guides. His illustrations look like very detailed photographs. I can't tell you how many times I have needed to see that kind of detail when I'm trying to identify a bird.  

He told me that the guy he works with gives him lots of feed back about the birds; this should have longer feet...this should show more white, etc. etc.  It sounds as if they are really going to have some quality products.

The Costa Rican birder Bryan is working with is Noel Urena.  They plan to do a series of books beginning with the 100 most common, then the endemics, etc., etc., etc.!  I will most likely not be birding again in Costa Rica, but I would be interested in a coffee table art book of Costa Rican birds he is working on.  I asked him for a link to some samples and he was good enough to supply it:
I also include a link to Noel Urena's company:

It's nice to have a fellow birder around. Bryan told me about an owl he has been seeing at dusk and I have been out for three nights now trying to ID it. I'm pretty sure it's a Barn Owl.  It figures, as that is one of the few owls I already have on my life list.


  1. Lovely illustrations. I am pleased that you have a fellow birder to compare notes with!

    1. It was a pleasure meeting Bryan--very nice person. Unfortunately, he is going south and we have already gone north. We are now in Hualtulco and I am having a great time. It is really beautiful here and the birding is easy. If I could just stop being lazy, I'd write about it.