May, 2022

Out Birding to Help an Endemic Sparrow in Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

I won’t be answering any messages this morning, won’t be available. Won’t be taking any phone calls either but I’ve got a good excuse.

Big Day on a Tiny Island

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The island of Tobago isn’t the smallest in absolute terms, but it’s pretty tiny at approximately 25 miles long and just under 7 miles wide at its widest point. For Global Big Day on May 14th, we decided we’d try our hand at birding as much of the island as possible.

Gull for a Godwit in Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

Godwits and curlews are shorebird royalty. The macaws of the sandpiper clan, these long-billed, long-legged, loud calling birds are large and in charge. Unlike peeps and other smallish sandpipers, identification of godwits and curlews doesn’t even require the use of a scope.

One Good Turn

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(No, this is not a reference to my personal worst birder joke ever, that One good tern deserves another. Although that joke does apply to Faraaz Abdool’s latest post.). I consider myself exceedingly fortunate to have several birder friends who are biologists.

Test webinar 6/10 10am

Speaker: Test

Accessibility Matters II:  Birdability Q&A

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For those plugged into birding social media, it has been hard to miss the non-profit Birdability. The mission of Birdability is to “share the joys of birding with people who have disabilities, and to ensure that birding is accessible to everybody.”.

Baihualing – The Sequel

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At this moment, Baihualing is the eBird hotspot in China which has by far the largest number of species – 486. With 398 species, Nanhui is trailing far behind despite being covered by a much larger number of checklists (2225 compared to 608).

More Trending

Highly recommended – Europe’s Birds: An Identification Guide

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When you spot a brand new bird identification guide, especially for your home region – in this case, Europe – reaching for it comes naturally. And a highly recommendable book it is, there is no doubt about it.

Collaborative list – April 2022

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In April 2022, the Collaborative submitted 216 checklists from 4 countries ( Costa Rica , United States , Mexico , and the United Kingdom ) and observed 735 species. The 2022 year list stands at 1,023, and the life rises by a single species ( Great Swallow-tailed Swift seen in Mexico) to 4,114.

Weird Towhees

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Towhees are large, ground-hugging sparrows that occur only in North America. They belong to either the Pipilo or Melozone genera, or perhaps both, as their taxonomy is still a point of contention.

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Getting sentimental: Birding at Baihualing, China

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Up until a few years ago, Baihualing in Yunnan was both a great place to see birds and open to foreigners. I am not sure about the first nowadays, as the second is no longer true. The place has been blocked for non-Chinese nationals for more than 2 years now.

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Summer Days

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My Global Big (half-)Day, May 2022

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In the previous period I wrote mostly book reviews (but of some really great books ), yet I cannot remember when the last time was that I wrote of birding itself? Perhaps in my December posts on birding Colombian Amazonia ?

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Outer Range Brewing Company: Pluck Pluck Pluck Rice Lager

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The temperature soared to 85 degrees yesterday here in Albany. That’s not entirely unheard of around here in May, but it was an unexpected foretaste of summer considering we haven’t even hit the peak of spring migration yet.

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“The Hawk’s Way” — a book review

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Maybe author Sy Montgomery is right when she says that “birdwatchers often look down on falconry,” and maybe not.

Bloody Bay Birding

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It may seem like an unnecessary alliteration but I’m referring to an actual Bloody Bay – one of Tobago’s many picturesque, idyllic bays on its leeward coast.

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Attend third

Speaker: Hannah Flynn

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Black-necked Storks at Myalls Bore near Derby

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Whenever we make a trip to Derby we pull over seven kilometres before we get to town at Myalls Bore and the 120 metre long cattle trough.

What to Do at High Island When the Winds are South

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High Island in April requires Weather, so I was told. A very specific type of weather–north winds, a cold front, rain.

Birding St Lucia, South Africa

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St Lucia is a small town on the Southeastern coast of South Africa. It seems to consist mainly of hotels and restaurants, as the local economy depends on visitors to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

Human elements

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There is an association of wildlife photographers down here, much maligned among my Mexican birder friends for a variety of reasons, which has proposed a rule that governs which photos they will accept: No wildlife photography should contain any human elements.

Test webinar 6/9/22 9:40am

Speaker: Aggregage

We Go Way Back

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I’ve been through a few rather complicated weeks lately, so my last couple of outings haven’t been very ambitious. The second week of May, I went to the road beyond San Miguel del Monte, a route with the advantage of being only a few miles from my home.

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Birding Inner Mongolia

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(Note: this post refers to a trip I took a long time ago, in 2015. Still, after I used modern software to turn the originally black-and-white photos into colored ones, some of them may still be worth looking at).

Varied Sittellas at Langi Crossing

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Last week I wrote about our camping trip to Langi Crossing for Grant’s birthday. We are very lucky that it is a reliable place to observe Varied Sittellas and they are often observed on the drive in on the gravel road.

Birding Shanghai in April 2022

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This post is a bit of a joke as I have been under lockdown in Shanghai for the whole month. Still, as we did not have any covid cases in our compound for the last third of the month, the government graciously let us outside for the occasional walk within our compound.

Attend second

Speaker: Hannah Flynn

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Salon des Refusés (part 2)

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At some point in my life, when I was about 25 and a university student, I thought of myself as a writer. The best thing I ever wrote – in my opinion – was this very short piece: Life is exhausting and depressing – sometimes one would prefer to just sit somewhere on the floor.

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Hakeas and Honeyeaters

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At the moment around Broome we have Hakea macrocarpa flowering profusely. The trees will be flowering for a few months now and they are currently attracting a lot of birds and insects to their flowers.

Birding Sanming, Fujian

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Munkajarra Wetlands near Derby

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Until recently the access to Munkajarra Wetlands near Derby has been a four-wheel drive track that was not always accessible all year. However, the firebreaks that have been put in recently make it a lot easier for vehicles to access the area.

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Animals in Space 3


Bird-watching at Langi Crossing

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Our closest river to Broome is the Fitzroy River and we can only access it for part of the year. It is approximately 140 kilometres from Broome with the last section being a gravel road. Once we have our wet season rains the gravel road becomes inaccessible and the river floods.

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