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A hot weekend doesn’t necessarily make for hot birding, but things may be warming up on that front. One truth you learn in the birding business is that birds are always moving in one direction or another. If you didn’t see much this weekend, just wait a few weeks.

I definitely didn’t see much, but sometimes the usual species satisfy well enough. Northern Mockingbirds, for example, are charming any time of year but abundant right now in my part of the world. Corey enjoyed a weekend upstate in his hometown, beating the heat that baked New York City. Both mornings of the weekend he spent some time watching birds and digiscoping at the Great Vly, a big wetland that straddles the border of Ulster and Greene Counties. Despite getting good looks at Virginia Rail, lots of Eastern Kingbirds, and a host of other birds he decided to stick by his old standby as his Best Bird of the Weekend, a Green Heron.

How about you? What was your best bird of the weekend? Tell us in the comments section about the rarest, loveliest, or most fascinating bird you observed. If you’ve blogged about your weekend experience, you should include a link in your comment.

The post Best Bird of the Weekend (Third of July 2019) appeared first on 10,000 Birds.

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When we are bird watching we sometimes come across some odd behaviour that we have not seen in the past. It is always interesting watching birds and the different ways they survive in the Australian bush and also in the cities. Every year the weather is incredibly varied across Australia and the birds need to adapt to the changing landscape and environment. It seems we are either experiencing drought or flood and then last Sunday Broome was shaken by a 6.6 earthquake 200kms away under the ocean. We are used to cyclones, but nobody was ready to be shaken!

Painted Finches are found in arid areas of Australia, but like all finches they do require water to survive. On our last visit to Doolena Gorge in late April this year we encountered Painted Finches. What was unusual on this occasion was their behaviour. The Painted Finches were flying down to the old fireplaces around the bush camping area. There were multiple fireplaces all around the bush where people had camped over many years and the Painted Finches were visiting the most recently used fireplaces. As you can see from the header photo, they are a brightly coloured bird.

Painted Finch in the fireplace

However, once they drop in among the charcoal they are easily camouflaged. You may not be able to easily see the Painted Finch in the fireplace above, so I have cropped the photo for you below.

Close up of Painted Finch in the fireplace

The Painted Finches were carefully selecting small pieces of charcoal and flying away with them. We had never observed this behaviour with any of the finch species we have in Australia.

Painted Finch carrying charcoal

We searched the internet for information on any of the finch families collecting charcoal to try and establish what the Painted Finches were using it for. It appears that although we could not find any information on why the Painted Finches were collecting charcoal in the wild it is something that pet bird owners purchase for their pet finches. The information on the pet shop supply websites implies that the finches need charcoal to aid digestion and to help eliminate toxins.

It would appear that we had been observing Painted Finches collecting the charcoal to maintain good health! It is always amazing what you can observe when you spend some time in the bush watching birds go about their daily routine!

The post Painted Finches collecting charcoal appeared first on 10,000 Birds.

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The last time a Julie Zickefoose book was reviewed on this blogsite, the piece began by saying “This is going to be a rave review.”  That sentence will do for this review and this book, too:  it’s unavoidable.

Who knew? — but there is apparently an entire literature about women who adopt wild birds and devote substantial portions of their lives and psyches to those birds thereafter, often for years and, necessarily, to the point of obsession.  These women, who are all, evidently, sane or close enough to pass, write books, quite good books, about themselves and their charges.

H is for Hawk was a hit for Helen Macdonald a few years back; and Wesley the Owl by Stacey O’Brien, The Parrot Who Owns Me by Joanna Burger; and Alex & Me by Irene Pepperberg are, each of them, delightful books as well.

(And there may be, probably are, men affected with this sort of thing, too, not just women.  One thinks, for example, of Robert Stroud, though he had the advantage, or excuse, of being locked in a small cell for life, as the famous Birdman of Alcatraz.)

The latest and delightfullest in this genre is Saving Jemima:  Life and Love with a Hard-luck Jay.  To readers and to baby birds, its author, Julie Zickefoose, is a treasure.

As she has done for many years and with more than twenty species, she adopted a baby bird, a blue jay.  Having fallen out of the nest too early, it was sitting in a schoolyard, helpless, hungry and thirsty and sick, waiting for parents who would not be returning.  It didn’t have a chance.

Zickefoose made a home for the bird, and nursed it, and immediately became smitten.  There was some mayhem involved, poop in the living room being the least part of it.  Like all corvids, jays are intensely social beings, and do almost nothing alone.   Quickly Julie’s home became “all about the jay.”  But she herself had much to do with that: “Almost everything Jemima did made me wonder, chuckle, grin, or gasp, sometimes all at the same time.  She was a never-ending source of fascination.”

With a caregiver like Julie Zickefoose, who seems to know everything about baby birds and their physiology (she did, after all, write the book on the subject, the wonderful Baby Birds:  An Artist Looks Into the Nest), it would seem inapt to describe Jemima as a “hard-luck” jay, as the subtitle does.  But she had one health concern after another.  Zickefoose resolutely faced, and solved, every one.

She knew enough, for example, to provide the newborn chick a soft, padded perch:  jays are relatively heavy birds, and if they have only hard perching surfaces, they can develop pressure soles on their feet, leading to bumblefoot, a fatal disease.

Later, when Jemima was released into the outdoors, she developed house finch disease, the only cure for which was a 21-day regimen of medicine that had to be Jemima’s sole source of water – and this, while she was already living outside, in the trees.  Zickefoose made it happen.

Other problems, Jemima solved herself.  She fledged in May; by August she had lost half her primary wing feathers along a “fault bar,” caused, probably, by poor nutrition in the nest.  (The losses came from both wings, but the flaw is obvious on the right wing in the photo, below left.)

Her solution:  she “flutter-jumped” up through the branches of a tree to the top, from where she could glide at lengths she would not have been able to fly.

And Jemima’s “catastrophic molt,” as Zickefoose says, sounded worse than it was.  (It’s a thing that happens to some jays and cardinals:  looks weird but the feathers are quickly regrown.)  Zickefoose documented the stages of the molt over its eighteen-day course, in her trademark watercolor painting (above right, starting at the bottom and going clockwise).

It’s uncanny (as readers of her previous books already know), how Zickefoose can capture small details and nuance with watercolors.  She’s also a fine photographer and a good prose stylist, writing with verve and humor, or scientific precision, or a touching pathos, as appropriate.

“My heart leapt and banged against my breastbone,” she says when, having thought Jemima dead during the winter, she sees a bird in the new year that looks just like her.  And, on a less happy occasion, “Cancer settled into our days like the sludge in a jug of cider.”

She drops a hint or two early on, but you wouldn’t really know it until the second half of the book:  Zickefoose and her family were undergoing a fair amount of emotional, life-change trauma themselves, of several kinds, during Jemima’s residency.  Zickefoose chose, she says, not to focus on loss and regret but on a blue jay; and the book becomes the story of “how saving Jemima saved me.”  On a couple of different levels, this is a wonderful story and a terrific book.

Maybe the two photos below could have been taken most anywhere in America – anywhere east of the Rockies, anyway – but once you know that both were taken in southeastern Ohio, you think “yes, of course – couldn’t be anywhere else.”  (The pictures show two of Zickefoose’s favorite places near her home, down near Marietta.)  Just as is the case with the photos, Saving Jemima is infused with the essence of the place, the eastern Ohio River Valley, once the rim of the North American continent and still a place of wonder and magic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saving Jemima:  Life and Love with a Hard-Luck Jay
by Julie Zickefoose
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
September 2019, $25
272 pp., 5 1/2/X 8 3/4
ISBN 978-1-328-51895-8

(Photo of Julie and Jemima, above, courtesy of Bill Thompson III; all other photos and drawings courtesy of the author, Julie Zickefoose.)

 

The post Saving Jemima and Julie: a Book Review appeared first on 10,000 Birds.

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Some birders are more learners than listers, others more photographers than birders. However, no matter how one enjoys or takes in interest in the avian side of life, an official list of the birds for a given area is of vital importance. That grouping of bird species shows which ducks, rails and wood-warblers use the protected habitats of a wildlife refuge, which species might be expected in a local patch, and, most of all, if it’s worth getting out of bed in the blistering cold dawn to trudge your way up some frozen mountain to look for a white wild “chicken”. Since bird lists are also historical, they provide a glimpse into the past, show us where we have gone wrong with managing natural habitats, what we are doing right, and hint at when ecosystem restoration just might be working.

Not every list has Great Tinamou on it.

With the rise in birding tourism, bird lists for entire countries have also become increasingly important. Folks want to know what they can see, if it’s worth traveling to Trinidad and Tobago, if they should to to Ecuador for three days or three weeks, or if one should drive to Wisconsin to look for a vireo with white eyes or a blue head. If a list also shows the status for each species, birders on their way to Costa Rica would realize that they shouldn’t really expect vireos with white eyes nor blue heads (but would hopefully know that they should very much report those species on eBird so local birders can chase them!).

We have an official list for Costa Rica and, as with other lists, our’s is dynamic. Far from set in stone, the list changes, it evolves to add “new” birds that end up within the boundaries of this birdy country. Since our list is based on the AOS list, names also require editing from time to time. These are mostly changes in the Latin names of birds but sometimes, common names also take a hit. Although such changes can give birth to a feathered ball of confusion (like when birders wonder what happened to the Blue-crowned Motmot and why emphasis was placed on the yellow throat of the big toucan with the dark bill instead of on its black mandible) a new edition of the field guide will eventually be published, and some field guide apps have already been edited. Not to mention, most of all, these changes are important because they reflect a more accurate understanding of the evolutionary history of our avifauna.

To help clear up the confusion, this is a brief summary of recent changes to the official Costa Rica list. This does not include the various changes made to Latin names, taxonomic ordering, nor changes to families.:

Spot-bellied Bobwhite bites the dust

Although it looks different from the Crested Bobwhite, this handsome little dry forest bird has been lumped with that species. Bobwhite species are so prone to being assimilated, maybe we should just call them, “borgwhites”.

Gray and Gray-lined Hawks Juvenile Gray Hawk

The species formerly known as Gray Hawk was finally and officially split into two species and as luck would have it, they meet in Costa Rica! Although this meeting of Mexican Goshawks and the inaccurate ranges presented in multiple publications gave rise to a constant flow of erroneous eBird sightings, we do have both in Costa Rica.

Northern Harrier is a Hen Harrier no more

The harrier that reaches Costa Rica is a rare but regular winter visitor. European birders who lucked out on one of these long-winged raptors in Costa Rica can add a tick to their lists because its not a Hen Harrier.

Habitat that hosts wintering Northern Harrier in Costa Rica. Ditto for the Common Moorhen- in Costa Rica, it’s “Common Gallinule”

No more moorhens here, only gallinules in this birding house.

Clapper Rail becomes Mangrove Rail Can you find the Mangrove Rail?

We always knew it but the change only recently became official. See one of those Clapper Rails in Chomes? O no you didn’t, you saw a Mangrove Rail!

The wood-rail split

This was a fun surprise! The gray hawks weren’t the only north-south sister species that meet in Costa Rica. A meeting of northern and southern species level taxa also happens with the former Gray-necked Wood-Rail. That became two species; Russet-naped and the Gray-cowled Wood-Rails.

Russet-naped Wood-RailGray-cowled Wood-RailScreech-Owls!

The revolution of splitting small owl species has finally caught up to Costa Rica. Although Andean Pygmy-Owl had already become Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl and the Least Pygmy-Owl became Central American Pygmy-Owl some time ago, better taxonomic understanding now gives us Middle American Screech-Owl instead of Vermiculated Screech-Owl. And that’s not all! Rumor has it that Choco Screech-Owl might also make it onto the list.

Hummingbird changes

If you have seen Magnificent Hummingbird in Costa Rica, add a tick in the form of Talamanca Hummingbird.

Seen Green Violetear in Mexico and Costa Rica? Add one in the form of Lesser Violetear.

How about Steely-vented Hummingbird in Colombia? Add another one; the birds in Costa Rica are know called, “Blue-vented Hummingbird“.

One less trogon So long buddy..

There’s nothing like losing a trogon. Our beautiful Orange-bellied has just become another Collared Trogon. We are in mourning.

Toucan species with new names

Thanks to a multi-split of Emerald Toucanet, the ones in Costa Rica are now known as Northern Emerald Toucanet.

Thanks to work done on Black-mandibled Toucan, that bird in Costa Rica now goes by “Yellow-throated Toucan“.

Blue-crowned Motmot changes to Lesson’s Motmot

The new name sound silly especially since the bird does have blue in the crown. But, birds in eastern Mexico have even more blue and are now their own species so Lesson’s Motmot it is.

A new endemic foliage-gleaner!

More exciting news! The Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner was finally split into at least two species, the ones that live in southern Costa Rica and adjacent Panama now being known as “Chiriqui Foliage-gleaner“.

Plain Wren wasn’t so plain after all Canebrake Wren

We knew that the gray birds on the Caribbean slope were a likely split for some time but who would have guessed that the birds on the southern Pacific slope were something new! They may look nearly identical but the birds in the Central Valley and north of Parrita are now known as Cabanis’s Wren, the birds to the south are Isthmian Wrens (try saying that five times fast after a drink or two), and the birds of the Caribbean slope, the cool sounding Canebrake Wren.

Cabanis’s Ground-Sparrow

To me, this is the most exciting change to the list. Yeah, I did just say that. The name change of a small brown bird, a sparrow, is exciting. But, I don’t deny it! I can’t because this is recognition of an additional species completely endemic to Costa Rica. Split from birds in northern Central America (the White-faced Ground-Sparrow), the Cabanis’s becomes a very special bird. What makes it even more special is the fact that it can be rather hard to see and is very possibly endangered. Recognition of species status makes it more likely to make working conservation plans for this towhee before it quietly fades away forever.

Red-breasted Blackbird is a meadowlark

It only takes one look at the bird out there in a rice field to know that this was always the case. Things seem maybe slightly more normal in the world upon seeing its name changed to Red-breasted Meadowlark.

Costa Rican Warbler

Split from the Three-striped Warbler of South America, yet another species is added to the list of birds only found in the mountains of Costa Rica and Panama.

Masked Yellowthroat is gone

There’s a yellowthroat that lives in marshes and other wet habitats around San Vito, Costa Rica. Once upon a time, it was lumped with the Masked Yellowthroat of South America. Recent studies, however, showed that it was so close to Olive-crowned Yellowthroat, it deserved to be placed with that species.

An honest to goodness Olive-crowned Yellowthroat.Scarlet-rumped Tanager makes a comeback

The old guide used to call this bird by that obvious, great name until it was suddenly split into two species with names that caused endless confusion. The Passerini’s Tanager lived on the Caribbean slope, the Cherrie’s Tanager on the Pacific. Now, the Scarlet-rumped is back and lives on both slopes. Cased closed.

Morelet’s Seedeater

Just when a birder thought that proper nouns were passe for bird names, whamo, here comes the Morelet’s Seedeater! No more White-collareds around here, only Morelet’s.

When it comes down to it, in birding terms, we lost four birds to lumping (ouch) but picked up some armchair ticks (yeah!) and probably have other armchairs in the works. A few other species have also been added to the country list and the official bird list now stands at more than 920 species. But, give it time, the dynamic nature of the bird list promises more changes to come. With more Costa Ricans getting into birds and more people taking pictures of everything, a lost Cocoi Heron will be officially documented in Costa Rica, other less expected birds will be discovered, and other AOS supplements will bring more changes.

The post Recent Changes to the Costa Rica Bird List appeared first on 10,000 Birds.

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While a huge swath of the United States braces for record-setting heat–again–other parts of the world may be suffering equally oppressive though dramatically different weather. Wherever you are, whatever you do, stay safe, but also try to find time to check out some birds!

I’m visiting Boston for business, which may disrupt my best birding intentions. Corey, on the other hand, is hightailing it to his hometown in Upstate New York, where he should be able to keep cool and catch a few interesting avian species. How about you? Where will you be this weekend and will you be birding? Share your plans in the comments below.

Whatever your plans this weekend, make time to enjoy SkyWatch Friday. Also be sure to come back Monday to share your best bird of the weekend!

The post Where Are You Birding This Third Weekend of July 2019? appeared first on 10,000 Birds.

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With about two-thirds of the United States on the verge of a dangerous heatwave, I’m hesitant to endorse any libation but shockingly cold ice water for our readers in eastern North America this weekend. While we have plenty of summer remaining (and with it, several more great summer drink recommendations in store for you here at Booze and Birds), I won’t pretend that any quality or quantity of beer, wine, cider, or spirits – no matter how refreshing (or inebriating) – will be a sufficient (or safe) remedy to the scorching weather headed our way. But we try to have a global perspective at 10,000 Birds, even if there is a somewhat unavoidable American bias to our weekly beverage selections. So, recognizing that it’s a big world out there, and that it may very well be cool enough to enjoy a boozy beverage safely wherever you may be, we’ll proceed as normal this week with a crowd-pleasing expression of perhaps the most popular white wine style in the world.

Our feature this week is a 2017 Chardonnay from Blue Quail Wine of Hopland, California. Ironically, there don’t appear to be any breweries in Hopland, a small town in Mendocino County named – as I hope one would assume – for that principal ingredient in brewing. Nor does there seem to be any remnant of once-lucrative hop cultivation in Hopland, as it was pushed out of the area by disease in the 1950s. But since then,  several wineries and wine tasting rooms have been established there, one of which is Blue Quail, an organic vineyard established over forty years ago in the Potter Valley by Guinness McFadden  (deceptive allusions to brewing culture seem to be a theme in this wine review!), an Irish-American from New York’s Upper West Side.

There are phasianids in the world that are blue in name: namely, the Blue Quail (Synoicus adansonii) found in sub-Saharan Africa, but also the Blue-breasted Quail (Synoicus chinensis) of south and southeastern Asia. But the azure silhouette that adorns the labels of Blue Quail’s bottles is clearly a tribute to the charismatic California Quail, (Callipepla californica), which is a year-round resident of the Blue Quail vineyard. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a California Quail on a California wine bottle, and I suspect it won’t be the last.

Blue Quail Chardonnay is a ripe and fruity white wine, with a generous aroma of green apple, peach, and a touch of mint in the bouquet. It offers a gentle, somewhat lean mouthfeel, with a crisp acidity, without the over-the-top dashes of oak or butter that have made California Chardonnay both famous and controversial over the years. While it may not be the perfect antidote to a brutal summer heatwave – and what wine could be? – Blue Quail Chardonnay makes a lovely wine for year-round enjoyment. Just don’t dare serve it over ice!

Stay cool out there – and good birding and happy drinking!

Blue Quail Chardonnay (2017)

Three out of five stars (Good).

The post Blue Quail Wine: Chardonnay (2017) appeared first on 10,000 Birds.

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Presuming that you want to bird Costa Rica, you would book a southbound flight (from N. America) or westbound (from Europe). Yet, for most people, birders are all eccentric. What if you were truly eccentric?

In such a case, you might opt to book an eastbound flight, or a series of flights, from Lisbon to Sao Tome and Principe, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, then Sri Lanka, Thailand, Borneo, PNG, Tahiti, Ecuador, Guyana and finally to Costa Rica…

Reachable by direct flights from Portugal, the island country of Sao Tome and Principe lying in the Gulf of Guinea, in the armpit of Africa, has about 140 bird species and 28 endemics – more endemics per square mile than anywhere else on Earth. The main island of Sao Tome has about 100 species and 17 endemics among them. Visiting both islands, almost all endemics are possible (although 2 are hard to get), among some 60 to 70 species birdable in 10 days. Add turtle and whale-watching into that picture, and as a background, play some seductive Afro-Portuguese music. The best month is December, followed by June-July.

Not far from it, on the shores of West Africa there is Ghana with its 750 birds, of which some 350 are possible in two weeks. The key areas for lowland forest species are Kakum National Park (famous for the only canopy walk in this part of Africa) and the Ankasa Reserve, for moist savannas Shai Hills Reserve, for Guinea woodland birds Mole National Park, and for the Yellow-headed Picathartes Bonkro Community Forest. The best months are October to November, and April.

Rusizi Tented Camp, Akagera National Park, Rwanda

On the eastern side of the continent lies Rwanda with its 700 species, about 250 of them birdable within a week. This is a densely populated country and very few reserves remain. Focus on the Akagera National Park for 490 savanna species, Nyungwe National Park montane forests with 320 birds including 29 Albertine Rift endemics (also 13 primates and, again, famous for the only canopy walk in this part of Africa). The best season in June to September.

Its northern neighbour Uganda has 1080 birds, including 24 Albertine endemics. Some 500 species are possible in three weeks. Focus on Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (350 sp.) for montane, and Kibale (375 sp.) for lowland forest birds, Queen Elizabeth National Park (600 sp.) and the Murchison Falls National Park (450 sp.) for savanna species. The best season is January, followed by June-August.

Further east lies Sri Lanka with its 440 species, among them 33 endemics, and about 230 birds possible in two weeks. Birding areas to focus on are Kitulgala, Nuwara Eliya, Horton Plains National Park, Yala National Park, Bundala National Park, Udawalawe National Park and Sinharaya Forest. This is the only place in the world where Leopards are visible (here they are the apex predators and aren’t hiding), also, don’t forget the Blue Whale (at Hikkaduwa, Galle, Mirissa). The best season is November to March.

Located in Southeast Asia is Thailand with 1050 birds, some 400 of them birdable in three weeks. The best reserves are in the north, near Chiang Mai (e.g. Doi Angkhang, Doi Inthanon). The best season is December to March.

Sukau Rainforest Lodge, Kinabatangan River, Borneo

The birdiest part of neighbouring Malaysia is the Sabah Province at Borneo, with about 600 species. The main areas are Mount Kinabalu (320 birds, including 17 endemics), and the lowland rainforests by the Kinabatangan River (200 sp.), and the DanumValley (300 sp.). The best season is June to August.

Island hopping further east lies Papua New Guinea with 870 species, including 38 Birds of Paradise. On the eastern New Guinea (within PNG) there are 29 endemics, plus 54 at the Bismarcks and the Admiralties, plus 4 more at the Bougainville. 300+ species are possible in three weeks. The main areas are Varirata National Park, Kiunga, Kumul Lodge and Rondon Ridge at Mt. Hagen, Ambua Lodge and Makara near Tari, and the Walindi Resort on New Britain. The best season is July, with shoulder seasons from May to September.

One huge jump east and I am not sure how many species can be found on Tahiti itself, aside from its 5 endemics. As a whole, French Polynesia has 120 birds, but only 31 terrestrial, and 27 of those are endemic. The main areas at the Tahiti are Papenoo Valley (cover photo) for Tahiti Reed Warbler and Tahiti Kingfisher; and Papehue Valley for Tahiti Monarch and the Tahiti Swiftlet. The best season is October to November.

Sacha Lodge, Amazonian lowlands, Ecuador

A bit further east lies the mythical Ecuador where all birding dreams come true. It has 1630 species, of which over 500 are possible in 10 days and 600 in two weeks. The best areas are Mindo, Tandayapa, Yanacocha, Papallacta and Antisana in northern Andes; Amazonian lowlands in the east, and the coastal Tumbes in the west; plus southern Andes. The best season in the north is July to March, while in the south it is January to March.

With its 810 birds, Guyana is located at the northern coast of South America. The areas to focus on are mostly lodges, e.g. for rainforest species Iwokrama River Lodge, Atta Lodge and Surama Ecolodge; and for savanna birds Karanambu Lodge and Dadanawa Ranch. Dry seasons here last from September to November and from January to April.

Finally, Costa Rica has 920 birds, including 90 Central American endemics; not to mention that more than one milion raptors pass through it (Kekoldi in the southeast) in a single season. Some 300 species are possible in a week and 500 in two weeks. The main areas are Arenal, Monteverde, Gulf of Nicoya, Carara National Park, La Selva, Braulio Carrillo National Park and Rancho Naturalista near Turrialba. The best season is December to April.

And from there… no, I shouldn’t close the circle. Costa Rica is a good place to stop, to settle down. And write a book on the circumbirding of the world. Ummm… Publishers, anyone?

The post The longest way to Costa Rica goes around the world! appeared first on 10,000 Birds.

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10,000 Birds by Paul Lewis - 6d ago

In April of this year, I had the crazy idea of submitting this article to 10,000 Birds for their consideration. Since I will still be enjoying my last couple of days in Spain on this week’s deadline, I thought it might be the moment to share it with all of you. I’ll post more recent material next week!

In spite of being cosmopolitan birds, found on seven of the nine continents, Black-crowned Night Herons are pretty special birds. How do they manage to look so handsome, and yet so awkward, at the same time? This one, seen at Lake Cuitzeo in central Mexico, makes me think of a giraffe wearing a tuxedo:

Now, most of the time this middling photographer can only hope to get a clear photo of a bird, not too far away, and at a good angle. But every once in a while, the birds actually do something that tells a story. This is exciting, because you can’t talk wild birds into following a script.

So it was pretty cool to have the above Night Heron pose so nicely. But it was way cooler when three adults, for some reason, all decided they had to land on the very same stick. It didn’t look like that special of a stick to me, but then, I’m not a Night Heron.

No, these are not time-lapse photographs. Three birds, in real time.

One heron had the good sense to abandon his quest quickly. Another refused to give up, which led to a bit of a tussle. That must be a primo stick!

Finally, the late-comer decided to let the stick’s rightful owner take his place. And balance was returned to the universe.

May we each find our own special stick.

The post Perch Wars appeared first on 10,000 Birds.

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July birding in the Northern Hemisphere may be slow, but you’ve got to love those adorable baby birds! Does anyone out there keep a separate list for fledglings and chicks?

i got my fill of cygnets and goslings this weekend, but the best sighting was an adult Cattle Egret that apparently didn’t realize how far Upstate New York was from wherever it should be. Corey did not do much birding this weekend but he did get out for awhile on Sunday morning. He mostly sat in his car next to a large puddle on the Rockaway Peninsula and watched birds coming in to drink and bathe. Of those species, his favorite was a young Killdeer, which easily became his Best Bird of the Weekend.

How about you? What was your best bird of the weekend? Tell us in the comments section about the rarest, loveliest, or most fascinating bird you observed. If you’ve blogged about your weekend experience, you should include a link in your comment.

The post Best Bird of the Weekend (Second of July 2019) appeared first on 10,000 Birds.

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One bird that is easily encountered in Singapore without venturing too far off the beaten track is the Yellow Bittern. The Yellow Bittern is often overlooked by visitors to many of the parks and gardens in Singapore. The Yellow Bitterns wander across the vegetation in the lakes and balance on the leaves in the water. Visiting Gardens by the Bay is on most visitors to Singapore itinerary, even if they are only there for a few days. The lakes around the Satay by the Bay food area are good for finding Yellow Bittern.

Yellow Bittern

Singapore Botanic Garden is also a good location for Yellow Bittern. We were lucky during one of our visits to the area. We entered the shelter at the Symphony Lake due to an impending storm and watched a Yellow Bittern feed below the shelter.

Yellow Bittern from above

Often Yellow Bittern stand completely motionless and wait for food to come to them. On other occasions the Yellow Bittern skulk through the reeds or balance precariously across them. We discovered that the Yellow Bitterns in Singapore have become accustomed to having people around them and you can sit quietly and enjoy their presence quite easily.

The post Yellow Bitterns in Singapore appeared first on 10,000 Birds.

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