Jean-Phillipe Gagnon

Jean-Phillipe Gagnon

One year already as a Vortex field staff member. Since then, my Razor HD (8×42) has traveled countless kilometers and saw nearly 300 new species.

Earlier this year, I once again visited the American Southwest. Arizona at the beginning of spring migration is just beautiful. Not only birds are fascinating, but the silence of the desert delights me every time I visit.

I first had the opportunity to realize a dream by visiting Southeast Asia in early summer of 2013. Peninsular Malaysia has given me much pleasure and wonder, but the northern part of the Kinabatangan River on the island of Borneo is one of my best experiences as ornithologist. In addition to the spectacular observations of the Danum Valley, it is essential to mention the warm welcome of Malaysian and the community involvement to preserve the unique natural environment of the province of Sabah. They even invited me to plant a tree during my visit to reforest a corridor of vegetation between two important wildlife areas.

Recently, the need to visit one more time Africa had pushed me to do an intensive two weeks birding in Ghana. This West African country is one of the most accessible and allows me to discover a wealth of bird specialties. The days are long because the observation sites are sometimes several kilometers apart. Habitats are diverse and a variety of European migratory adds to the resident birds to our great satisfaction. In my book, no doubt Ghana rhyme with adventure.

My Vortex story takes place in Taman Negara National Park, the first national park of Malaysia founded in 1938. It contains a rather luxurious accommodation that includes air-conditioned cabins. For sleeping at night it’s fantastic, but for the early morning observations (at 38C), all those who had left their binoculars on the table in the room suffered fogged glasses. Everyone but me, because with my Razor HD I took advantage of an efficient anti-fog coating. I remember perfectly when the lower back of the Orange-back Woodpecker (Reinwardtipicus validus) was some shade of a sublime reddish- orange, which I was the only one to see on that morning!

Jean-Philippe Gagnon, M.Sc.

Montreal, Quebec

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