'Viaje a Las Rapaces'

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that this blog title is in Spanish, 'Viaje a Las Rapaces', which you could loosely translate as 'journey to the the raptors' and is an announcement of a book project. It is a project which, if you are feeling rich, will allow you to become a patron of the arts, in this case a mixture of art and literature and take part. Being a patron of the arts, usually painting or music (discount the court jester, the little guy with vertical attainment problems and a hat with bells on it like Noddy), is a very old tradition. Then, and in a few case now, a very rich person, often royal or with aspirations, who had gained his riches by screwing every possible penny, ducat or whatever out of the oppressed peasants who lived in abject poverty and provided the occasional virgin for the lord's Saturday night amusement, salved his conscience by funding some starving musician (eg. Mozart) or artist (anyone you care to think of except Picasso) with his financial patronage, thus allowing them to escape the garrett lit by a single oily lamp. The rich s.o.b., now a patron of the arts, thus became a nearly acceptable person (even the Borgias). Now I am not insinuating that you, dear readers, belong in that category as I at least am in the 21st century (parts are at any rate, others got left behind in the rush).
The modern form of patronage is, I have learnt today, called 'crowdfunding' whereby one donates a more or less modest amount of cash to help to get a work published. In this case, it is the book Viaje a Las Rapaces by Juan Varela (artist) and Victor Hernández (text) and it is because I like the project, the book content and believe that it deserves support and patrons (ie. yourselves, I've already done my bit) that I support it in this blog.
280x300mm, hard back, 128 pages
I have known Juan for more years than either of us care to remember (especially him) and it was way back in 1983 that we made a trip to the Chafarinas islands, off-shore from Nador, to colour ring Audouin's Gulls and we also saw not one but 2 Mediterranean Monk Seals. I have always admired (and envied) his work and style and am the happy owner of two of his water colours, one of a Common Buzzard, the other of a Barolo Shearwater (a.k.a Macronesian/Little). Currently, Juan is secretary-general of the Spanish Ornithological Society (SEO) and is also an internationally recognised bird artist. I do not know Victor personally although we have exchanged mails for years and I know that he is a more than competent birder (and his Spanish is a lot better than mine, not that that is difficult!).
'So,' you may ask, 'what has this got to do with me? What can I do to be a patron?'
The answer is that you can do a lot, and start by clicking on this link :
www.verkami.com/projects/5826-publicacion-del-libro-viaje-a-las rapac
Now this is in Spanish but it won't hurt. You must look at the samples of Juan's paintings and take it from me that the text is very good. Look at the project in general, the levels of patronage (mecenazgo) of which there are several. Then go and break open your child's (or grandchild's) piggy bank, go and beg on a street corner or even on the steps of a church, sell the Ferrari or any honest idea which comes to mind as I do not want any corruption in the ornithological world, there's more than sufficient out there as it is.
For me, this book is a must and will be an important addition to my bookshelves and I make it clear now that I am not lending it to anyone, not even Bob Wright! Fork out like I have done and help.
Juan and Victor have 40 days (39 as of today, 4 June) to gather together sufficient money to publish. Which for those whose mathematical knowledge does not extend beyond the 20 digits, which means that you have until 12 July to think, decide and become a patron. Do it, you won't regret it and you'll even feel good!

PS: And very soon, a look at the book Aves de Sierra Nevada, and in the uncertain future a look through the new Zeiss Conquest HD 10x32 binoculars which won't break the bank.

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