Ummm… yeah maybe I should explain. I’m not quitting already. I mean, I’ve only been a “beat blogger” for a few weeks now. No, I’m just giving my vacation notice. I’m not sure if I’ve earned a paid vacation yet (I am getting paid for this, right?) but before I took this job I had already scheduled a vacation, so I’m giving notice that this particular beat blogger will be absent from for the next few weeks.

Where exactly am I going, that I won’t be dutifully fulfilling my blogging obligations, you ask? Well, Corey and Renato have made such a convincing argument for birding in Ecuador that I am going too! By the time I get back, I am sure that Corey will have blogged much of his trip, and I expect that Renato will be captivating us for some time to come, so I’ll probably blog a little bit about my trip here upon my return, but not wishing to be redundant, I promise I won’t do too much.

Of course, I’ve been really devoting much of my mental facilities to making sure that my wife and I are prepared for the trip – reviewing our itinerary & studying the field guide, which I’ve been doing since we booked the trip, but now thinking mostly about packing, and what we’ll want to bring. This will be our third trip to Central/northern South America, so I think I am starting to get this packing thing down – lightweight pants that can zip off into shorts in a pinch, long-sleeve button-down shirts with plenty of vents and with sleeves I can easily roll up, lightweight hiking boots, ‘Neos’ overshoes for those muddy trails, packable rain gear (including a raincover for the backpack which will be holding the photo gear), and plenty of dry socks. Everything should be able to be washed in a sink and hang-dry overnight.

Knowing how large the readership is at 10,000 Birds, and the wide range of experience that exists here, I’d love to hear of any tips or tricks that you’ve learned in your travels. Things you’ve done or didn’t do that worked out well for you in your travels. Stories that you think that we (and by we, I do mean everyone that reads 10,000 Birds) would enjoy or benefit from.

I look forward to your comments and suggestions, and can’t wait to share a story or two of my own when I return

Written by Christopher
Christopher Ciccone was born and raised in New York’s Hudson Valley, educated in western New York where he acquired a few very un-interesting business degrees, before moving to New England and living in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts where he now resides. A little late to the birding game, Christopher started casually birdwatching at Mt Auburn Cemetery in 2000, then became quite serious about birding after a week long trip to Sanibel Island in 2002 - and he hasn’t stopped birding since. A life-long interest in photography has naturally developed in a desire to photograph birds, and so in early 2008 he also started Picus Blog to share his passion for birds and photos with friends and family.