Showing posts from December, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Happy Christmas to everyone, christian or not. Remember that the celebrated birthday of Jesus "happened" to coincide with many other festivals. I am atheist, but still enjoy the holiday! Iberian lynx composition by X O'Reilly, 2010. Original lynx photo © Lynx Ex-Situ .

I know no birds

Admittedly, I am very bad at birds. Their beauty and diversity fascinates me, though I am far more interested in their respiratory physiology and the fact their dinosaurian ancestors. However, I now think we know most of these guys, thanks to the help of fellow zoologist Terry Garner, who pointed me in the right direction for most of them, and University of Glasgow MSc student Carly Aulicky for confirming their identity – cheers guys! Image 1 - N octurnal curassow,  Nothocrax urumutum . © X O'Reilly

Homegrown Coffee

Many South American countries are famous for their coffee; Ecuador is not one of them. While neighbouring Colombia and nearby Brazil are renowned exporters of the bean ( Image 1 ) and brew, it's not often you hear of Ecuadorian coffee. Nor does it seem to be all that important culturally. Image 1 - Coffee bean. © X O'Reilly I'm not picky about coffee – instant or filtered, I'll drink it as long as it's not NescafĂ©'s instant atrocity. However, here in Ecuador, unless I am in "New Town" Quito, I often have trouble finding somewhere that will serve coffee. When places do offer it, it is more often then not instant, something most European establishments would not dream of serving (and NescafĂ©, for some unfortunate reason unbeknownst to me, seems to be a popular pick). Coffee does actually account for a slice of the economy here, be it a sliver in comparison to the country's banana, shrimp, oil, and flower exports. Nonetheless, it's