Karl Overman: Birds and More


Keep your on on the prize.  That would be an accurate assessment of Peter’s view of birding.  He has been focused on seeing as many of the world’s birds as possible (latest posting on surfbird.com--8196), starting with his trip to the Bahamas when he was a teenager. After graduating from Cornell and doing a stint in the Peace Corps in the Congo, Peter began his career in the foreign service that has taken him to posts all around the world. In the process of working on his world list, Peter had that rarest of successes for an amateur birder, he discovered a new species of bird, the Cundinamarca Anpitta in Columbia (Grallaria kaestneri).  During his tenure at the U.S. embassy in Bogata, Columbia many areas of Columbia were dangerous so at times he had armed escorts when birding.   Peter has a significant tie to Michigan, his wife Kimberly, who is from Commerce Township in Oakland County.  So over the years I would get to see him when his family was in the area.

It is scary how organized Peter is for his quests for birds on his world list. It seems when I am birding by myself in a new environment overseas, the U Turn is one of my most frequent driving maneuvers.  On our 2000 birding trip through the length of Mexico, with Peter driving, U Turns were just not on the itinerary.  Peter’s resourcefulness on his birding trips is illustrated by the photo from Mexico below.  On our second day in Mexico we noticed that one way or another, Peter’s Texas license plate on his new Jeep Grand Cherokee was missing.  That could definitely cause us problems in Mexico. Peter’s solution?  Draw up a new, very temporary Texas license plate, which is precisely what he is doing in the photo below. That newly minted Texas license plate served us well for the two weeks we were in Mexico.

Peter Kaestner