Saturday 31 March 2018

A day in Lima, The Olive Tree Park in San Isidro

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I am trying to raise money for two charities and obviously I would love you to donate to them.

Birdlife International

Chaskwasi-Manu Children's Project

OK! The adventure starts on Sunday next, the first of April, at Los Pantanos de Villa nature reserve, south of Lima, Peru. After the day spent there birding with friends, the adventure of my lifetime is ahead; six months of cycling, packrafting and birding. Six months to experience oceanic coastline, desert, mountains and rainforest. Six months to try and see more than 618 bird species, the incredible Green Birding list that is the current World Green Birding Year list record held by Dorian Anderson of the USA.

28th March 2018 – Parque San Isidro, Lima, Peru

What a strange afternoon! A morning of sorting and sleeping, an attempt to put the body clock into the Peruvian time, I go to The nearby famous Olive Tree park in the afternoon. Every visit to this lovely park is different but how different this time.

Lots of Long-tailed Mockingbirds are on the grass in the first area yet are outnumbered by Saffron Finches. Little pockets of what appear to be family groups are everywhere. A couple of the dark variety of Vermilion Flycatcher are outshone by a dazzling red male.

I stroll along, that is what one does here stroll. Well, either stroll of sit on a shaded park bench or on the lush green grass. I reach the largest pool in the park and feed the sizeable goldfish some broken biscuits. Pigeons arrive to ask for morsels too. I share my packet with a couple of locals and have the fun stopped by a lady security guard who tells that feeding fish and fowl is not permitted. How the park has changed since my first visit in 2013. Then it was a lot rougher, with the pool having duck and Night Heron and then central pathway having cyclists. Major landscaping has gone on in the intervening years and the park is tidier.

There are still lots of birds though, Shiny Cowbirds are common and by pishing near the olive trees I manage to get Bananaquits and Southern Beardless Tyrrannulets close to me. Overhead, flashing around the treetops are dozens of Blue & Black Swallows.
I am startled from my serene slumber-like stroll by a medieval strolling minstrel. Every word I utter he sings it back to me! Perhaps I am a bit too sceptical but I have no money on me, not a Sole and worry about him asking for some. He, Gonzalez doesn't want money he just wants to sing to me and for me to join in. I suggest we get the security guards, including the fish starver, to join in. 

As we sing together, as you do, a film crew comes closer. It turns out that Gonzalez has a Youtube channel and he spends his days performing for unsuspecting people in the park and then posts their reactions online. We had spent fifteen minutes laughing and singing. I wonder what twenty seconds of worthwhile footage they will post.
I talk with the two security guards for a while. They are very friendly and quick to laugh and smile at my antics and answers. The man of the pair speaks some English.

 Left to right . . . Rachel, Laura and Diana

As I walk away, three beautiful young girls stop me to ask whether I would like to have a go on their display board. A large, Wheel of Fortune-like' wheel had sections with Spanish phrase in each. Each phrase detailed how one could help the environment by reduce, reuse or recycle. Stop plastic pollution, the message is being spread here in Peru. I have a turn and win a recycle messaged keyring. That will go nicely on the bike. It is fantastic to see these three girls, Rachel, Laura and Diana doing this as they leave me and attend to the group of people who had gathered.

I go the smaller pool further north in the park and put my finger into the green water and have it sucked by a large carp. Terrapins watch suspiciously. Another security guard tells me that that isn't allowed also!

Butterflies! Small blue species, a skipper species, and no I don't know the species names but I will look them up. A passing Monarch I do know though.

The park has a lot of diminuitive cleaners. Face-masked and with bright yellow florescent jackets they litter pick and sweep. I join one of them in picking up small pieces of plastic litter, much to the lady's amusement. Other workers are gardening or maintaining the trees. How many hundred olive trees here I am not sure but my temptation to pick the beautiful looking olives, ready and ripe, is resisted. Most likely . . . not allowed.

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