Saturday, January 26, 2013

Imperial Dreams : Coming to a bookstore near you on April 16, 2013

Bobby Harrison (L) and Tim Gallagher (R) at Arroyo de los Monos, Mexico
     The Imperial Woodpecker….an Ivorybill, and the largest of its clan, is, or was the largest woodpecker that has ever lived.  This magnificent bird is the topic of Tim Gallagher’s latest book, Imperial Dreams.  
    Tim, a great friend, and the person who was with me in 2004 when we saw the Ivory-billed Woodpecker on Bayou de View, Arkansas has spent the last four or more years on the trail of the Imperial Woodpecker of Mexico.  Tim made numerous trips to Mexico to interview people who saw the bird in the middle of the last century, and to track down recent sighting that were only a couple of years old.
     I have had the privilege to read the pre-release proof of the book, and like Tim’s previous books it is a WINNER!  Tim is one the best authors I have ever read, and like his other books, once you start reading you will not want to put it down.   Tim tells a riveting story of a bird whose natural history is virtual unknown.  Tim has made a herculean effort to successfully unravel the mystery of the imperial woodpecker.   His travels through Mexico takes you to the peaceful Arroyo de los Monos, to  harrowing life and death encounters with drug traffickers in Durango.
     I was fortunate to make a trip to Mexico with Tim in February, 2009.  Tim writes about our adventure in the chapter “From Ivorybills to Imperials.”  It was a great trip, and helped me to really appreciate my life here at home.  My favorite part of the trip was Arroyo de los Monos, the site of ancient petroglyphs that dated back some eight-hundred years. 
     Tim, John, (our guide) and I spent an entire afternoon in the arroyo photographing the ancient works of art.   From the start of the trip this was the place I really wanted to visit, because it held what is believed to be the oldest known drawing of an imperial woodpecker.   Tim had been to the site on a previous trip and knowing that I really wanted to see the imperial petroglyph made it a point to get me there before the trip was over.
     Know one really knows why ancient peoples etched images onto rock surfaces.  They could have created such works to tell a story, make a statement or just pass time, but for what ever reason Arroyo de los Monos is filled with petroglyphs.  
     The imperial petroglyph was about twenty-feet up the side of the canyon wall, and was in a difficult spot for someone to do an etching.  Perhaps there was better footing eight-hundred years ago.  I photographed the petroglyph from every possible angle and when I finished shooting the imperial petroglyph, I turned my camera to others.  There were petroglyphs of avocets, coyotes, men, geometric shapes and creatures I could not identify.  I shot them all.  I could not have imagined a better way to end my adventure in Mexico.
     Tim’s book, “Imperial Dreams” will go on sale April 16, 2013.  If you loved “The Grail Bird,”  You’ll love “Imperial Dreams.”
Tim’s blog: is up and running.  He is posting about his adventures into the land of the Imperial Woodpecker every few days.  Check-it-out.
I have placed the "Imperial Derams" address in “Bobby’s Favorite Blogs”  here to the right for easy access.  Tim has been posting quite often so check out the blog frequently.

Congratulations on another GREAT book Tim!
Here are a few images from my trip with Tim.
Arroyo de los Monos, Mexico.  The Imperial Petroglyph is on the right.
Imperial Woodpecker Petroglyph, Arroyo de los Monos, Mexico

An unexpected snow storm forced Tim, John (our guide) and I, to cross this 8,125 feet high pass to get back to the eastern side of the Sierra Madera Occidentals.  Had we not made it across we would have been stuck in a remote region for a week or more.  The trip down the mountains was slippery and treacherous, but we made it.  The snow was at least a foot and half deep here on the road, a beautiful winter wonderland in the mountains of Mexico.
Here is Tim standing in the snow just before heading over the pass 
pictured above.  After seeing this image it looks as if the snow as 
closer to 2 feet deep.  I was very skeptical about driving over the 
pass and down the mountains.  I would have felt better about going
down the mountains if I were driving, buy we made it just fine.

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