August, 2021

Bird Talk: An Exploration of Avian Communication–A Book Review

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There was a time when I thought each bird species had its own individual song. Then I found out that there was this vocalization called a ‘call,’ so I thought each bird species had its own individual song (but just the males) and individual call.

“Peacocks and Picathartes: Reflections on Africa’s Birdlife”

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When was the last time you chose a book by its covers? I did that with Peacocks & Picathartes – Reflections on Africa’s birdlife (published by Penguin Random House South Africa ). In case you didn’t know, yes, there is an indigenous peacock living in Africa, the Congo Peafowl.

Mangrove Birds of Costa Rica

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Forest doesn’t just grow in mountains, hills, and valleys. Give certain, special trees the right conditions and they also take root in the shallow mud of estuaries and other coastal situations.

Best Bird of the Weekend (Third of August 2021)

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As August comes rushing to a close, the doldrums of the last few weeks have already started to give way to a new mass movement of birds. Move with them! Late summer in many parts of the U.S.

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Birding Balangshan, Sichuan, China (part 2)

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Balangshan is a mountainous area in Sichuan complete with a pass at an altitude of 4500 meters. And it is a great place for birding. In fact, it is so good that it merits two separate blog posts. This is the second part.

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It May Not Seem Like Much But

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This post does not contain serious eye-candy nor riveting text. In fact it slipped me to upload this earlier as I was completely swamped with some other (bird-related) responsibilities. Over the past few years we have been rewilding our yard here in the suburbs of the island of Trinidad.

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New Birding Site in Costa Rica: Snowcaps, Raptors and More!

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Snowcaps are simply surreal. Not the sublime chocolate ones crowned with sugar but the live feathered ones that look like they have been dipped in choice burgundy and topped with a luminescent satin cap. The adult males sport that look; a bird created with crayons and an imaginative mind.

The Elusive Aztec Thrush

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Many thrushes live or winter in Mexico, but their taxonomy is mostly quite simple. Eight of our large thrushes (the American Robin , western Mexico’s own Rufous-backed Robin , and eastern Mexico’s ubiquitous Clay-colored Thrush , among others) belong to the genus Turdus.

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Soda Lake Shorbs

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Shorebirds – or “shorbs” for the cuteness factor (as if that needed any enhancement) – remain one of the most fascinating families of birds for me. There is something about the challenge in identification, the mysticism of the more you look, the more you see.

A juvenile Wedge-tailed Eagle

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In April 2012 I wrote about A close encounter with a Wedge-tailed Eagle. I can’t use that heading again! This time the Wedge-tailed Eagle was closer and only involved ourselves and no other creatures.

Summer Days

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Best Bird of the Weekend (First of August 2021)

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The beginning of August raises all kinds of mixed feelings, especially if you live in a temperate zone north of the Equator. Are we excited that we still have a month of more of summer weather left or bummed that fall migration is still that far off?

A Lake Reborn… sort of

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Those infinitely patient saints who read all my ramblings know that over the past year I have been obsessed with the gradual disappearance of Mexico’s second-largest lake, Lake Cuitzeo, just north of my home city of Morelia.

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Montezuma Winery: Carbonated Rhubarb Wine

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“This beautiful and singular bird, although a constant resident in the southern extremities of the peninsula of Florida, seldom extends its journeys in an eastern direction beyond the State of North Carolina.

Black-necked Storks close to Broome

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We are very lucky here in Broome to be able to observe Black-necked Storks quite easily. They can often been found along the beaches of Roebuck Bay near the Broome Bird Observatory. They also like the grassy areas at the upper reaches of Dampier Creek, which runs behind town.

Attend third

Speaker: Hannah Flynn

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Birding for One Species: American Goldfinch

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I settled into the wooden rocking chair on my parents’ porch at about 8 in the morning, early for some but hopelessly late for most birders. Taking a sip of coffee, I knew I had none of my usual birding accoutrements with me – no binoculars, no bird list, no field guide.

What’s Going On

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For the past few weeks, my posts have been thematic, rather than reporting on my latest outings. To be honest, this is because the birding has been a bit slow of late.

The Warbler Brewery: Canopy 2 Double India Pale Ale

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For a second time in a month, we have a new double India Pale Ale featuring a species of bird famous for its appearance on the classic vintage Guinness advertisements drawn by artist John Gilroy in the 1930s and ‘40s. Two weeks ago, it was a pantless thunder goose – er, ostrich.

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Birding Balangshan, Sichuan, China (part 1)

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Balangshan is a mountainous area in Sichuan complete with a pass at an altitude of 4500 meters. And it is a great place for birding. China’s massive investment in infrastructure has indirectly benefited birders.

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Arizona, or Central Mexico?

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I got back into birding less than a decade ago, long after moving to Mexico in 1983. So I can hardly speak with authority on birding in the U.S. But even I have heard of how exciting southeast Arizona is for American birders.

Pied Oystercatchers and Sand Goannas

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We have always known that Pied Oystercatchers nest in the same areas that Sand Goannas roam. We have often suspected that the Sand Goannas would steal eggs as a food source from the Pied Oystercatcher nests if they found them.

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Olive-backed Orioles in Cygnet Park

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We walk our neighbours’ dogs during the week to our two local parks, which are Brolga Park and Cygnet Park. It gives the dogs a chance to get some exercise and for ourselves to keep track of the different birds that move through the area throughout the year.

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Best Bird of the Weekend (Last of July 2021)

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Weekends are like opinions: everyone has one, but you usually need to go online to find people who want to hear about yours. The same analogy applies to bird sightings, but here we are, so let’s hear what you saw this weekend!

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Speaker: Hannah Flynn

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Birding Ruoergai, Sichuan, China – The Raptor Edition

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The relatively flat and open grassland of Ruoergai is also good raptor country – raptor here being used in the broadest sense of the word, i.e., including owls and vultures.

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Collaborative list July 2021

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Heatwaves, floods, lockdown, football and Olympics. It’s a wonder that any of the beats managed to get out and wave their binoculars at birds this July. Yet, 79 checklists were submitted by 8 beats, accounting for 366 species in 5 countries.

Best Bird of the Weekend (Fourth of August 2021)

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It’s the end of August. Kids are dreading the return to school and for once, with the Delta variant out there, parents might agree with them. Wildfires are raging in the west, a hurricane is slamming the south, and the pandemic continues to rage among the unvaccinated.

Northern Cable Beach Pied Oystercatchers

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The Pied Oystercatcher breeding season continues here in Broome along our coastline and once again the birds are not having much luck.

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Animals in Space 3


Queensland’s First Nordmann’s Greenshank

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Nordmann’s Greenshank on the Cairns Esplanade [Adrian Walsh]. Down here in Australia one can be a birder for a long time without experiencing a proper twitch. Now by a ‘proper twitch’ I mean chasing a rarity or a vagrant and going [or being] an I.D.I.O.T

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Urban Birding in the village of Mapleton

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Rose-crowned Fruit-dove. I am a fan of all birding but I particularly like urban birding. Urban areas offer the bird watcher those species that have survived and thrived in artificial environments; often when they had no real right to. Urban birds are therefore bold, adaptable generalists.

Proposed Changes to Migratory Bird Treaty Act – Part III

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As described in prior posts , the Trump Administration spent four years attempting to change the interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The changes revolved around something called “incidental take,” which is an activity that harm or kills birds incidental to its purpose.

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