Who am I – I live in the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas, two miles from the border with Mexico. I moved here in 2003 so I could be close to Mexico, driving there frequently to study and photograph the butterflies. I’ve been a birder for most of my life and have traveled extensively throughout the Neotropics, through Central and especially South America. Back in the 90’s I started getting more and more into the butterflies in addition to the birds. As digital photography became more available I started doing a lot of butterfly photography, and realized it is much easier to photograph butterflies than birds. Over the last ten years, and especially since moving to Texas, I’ve been building an extensive set of files of as many live Neotropical butterfly species as possible. As I’ve met more and more other photographers, many of them have been giving me their photos and I help with identifications.
I spend several months each year down south, usually in South America, chasing butterflies. My favorite areas in the world are the east slope of the Andes around 1,000 to 2,000 meters. This is probably the richest area of biodiversity in the world. Walking down a dirt road with good habitat all around on a sunny day, hopefully with some streams washing over the road, is about as good as it gets. This blog will be my trip reports and comments from my travels.
I am currently concentrating on mid elevations in the Andes for a future series of books on the butterflies of the cloudforest. That is many years away, as the fauna from this area is very poorly known, and much needs to be discovered still. In the meantime, I plan to set up checklists for some of my favorite places in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, and eventually Bolivia and Venezuela. I also want to set up folders on flickr that will show photos from the different locations to go with the checklists. These will be online and available to all. Hopefully others will use these checklists to id their own photos from their trips, and if they find species that aren’t on my lists, they will send their photos to me for identification, and so I can add them to the lists. This way we will all be working together to build checklists for many different locations in the Andes, and we can all learn the common species and get excited when somebody gets something new.