LIFE, LATELY

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Heavens- it’s been a while, hasn’t it? As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I’ve had to put my blog on the back-burner for the past couple of months. May, June and July featured both my PhD thesis deadline and the opportunity to demonstrate on Manchester’s Tropical Ecology field course; a double-whammy that has seen most of my time evaporate in a flurry of work, travel and celebrations. From the moment on the 8th June where I handed over the product of the past three-and-a-half years of work to now, sitting in Quito trying to get two week’s worth of Amazonian mud off my feet, life has been a total whirlwind. To add to the excitement, tomorrow I’m heading off to the Galapagos Islands for a week of sea lions, finches and marine iguanas (I’m still pinching myself).

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So- this isn’t a normal post, but rather more of a ‘please-hang-in-there’ post to say that I hope to resume normal service in August. I have an enormous back-catalogue of incredible wildlife I’ve been lucky enough to see over the past few weeks- and as a preview, I thought I’d put up my favourites from our annual pre-field trip visit to Quito Botanic Gardens. The orchid house, was, as ever, utterly spectacular- for me, the highlights were some large, slipper-like ones with long tendrils stretching down to the ground, which is apparently an adaptation for ant pollination (I didn’t note down the genus name- must do better!). Another was a pair of red-crested cardinals bathing in one of the streams, their resplendent crests catching the sunshine that made it through the tree canopy. BirdLife International informs me, however, that the species is native to Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay- so I genuinely have no idea why or how they came to be there. Maybe I’ll find out before August, in which case I’ll update this post. Until then- happy wildlife viewing!

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