September, 2021

Swarovski Skills Camp, or men and their toys

10,000 Birds

Yesterday evening I got home from the second Swarovski Skills Camp at Lake Neusiedl in the east of Austria. I am still tired from the long drive, but it was great to play with the very best toys for birders, to be able to share experiences and to ask the factory staff all sorts of silly questions.


10,000 Birds

Every now and then you read a book which you believe should be read by everyone on the planet. Nature’s Best Hope by American entomologist and conservationist, Doug Tallamy, is such a book. The reason why is that it preaches simple truths: 1.

Costa Rica: You Only Live Twice

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Indeed, you only live twice: your second life starts when you bird Costa Rica for the first time. And, yee-haw, this would be my second attempt at a second life: three weeks ago I was invited to bird Costa Rica! And that is how this mess I am in, started.

Birding in Place on Poas Volcano- What can You See?

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Poas Volcano isn’t just a mountain built with magma. In common with so many other volcanoes, Poas also houses farms, people, and forests full of birds. Strawberries are grown year round, visit the area and young locals will let you know.

May Flowers

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Grassy Green Space in the Central Valley- Trash Habitat or Prime Real Estate for Oddball Birds?

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When looking for birds in Costa Rica, the Central Valley isn’t the first place that comes to mind. Fly in to Juan Santamaria airport and this is where you arrive; a heavily populated and urbanized intermontane valley.

Why Do I Keep a Neighborhood Bird List?

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“Why do you always keep a list?” ” my brother asked on a hot and muggy afternoon in North Florida. Gwynn sat behind me in the canoe as we paddled lazily around a shallow lake.

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Zenato “Alanera” Rosso Veronese (2016)

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To paraphrase Aristotle via Aldo Leopold, one swallow does not a summer make, but zero swallows, that is fall.

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Birding Gonggangling and Dujiangyan, Sichuan, China

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Ronald Reagan once said that “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.” ” When starting a birding tour, which words by your tour guide can have a similarly terrifying effect?

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Birding Fengxian, Shanghai in summer

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With my favorite Shanghai birding place at Nanhui getting gradually destroyed under the watchful eyes of the local government favoring Tesla over terns, I have been searching for some alternative Shanghai locations with less ongoing construction, fewer people, and hopefully more birds.

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Pied Oystercatchers don’t give up!

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This year, like every year, the Pied Oystercatchers have not given up on trying to successfully breed along our coast here in Broome. The breeding season started early this year with the first eggs laid at the end of May.

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More Encouragement to Bird at Home

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After a lifetime of lockdown measures we’re all surely chomping at the bit to get back out and slip back into that birding groove. I for one have been cautious, probably overly so. Nevertheless, I have taken my fair share of chances in life thus far.

Flycatchers in the Cocoa

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When out birding, I prefer completely wild habitat. There is something about a mature rainforest, for example, that cannot be replicated by any human. Reforested areas may come close, but there is a feeling that weathering the passage of time engenders.

Best Bird of the Weekend (Last of September 2021)

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Every fall weekend bears a bite of bittersweet wonder around here. The thrill of a wave of migrants also brings a pang of worry that these may be the last songbirds we see for a while. No worries, though, as long as the next season brings its own suite of specialties.

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Cute and Cuter

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My latest posts have tended to the thematic, rather than offering up lots of photos of the cool birds I am seeing. That is not due to a lack of birding; I am still going out every Monday.

Attend third

Speaker: Hannah Flynn

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Leucistic Limpkin

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Conceptualizing a plumage aberration such as leucism, where pigments are prevented from reaching some (or all) feathers (in the case of birds) may be a feat of the imagination that can most easily be applied to one of the more common species – maybe an American Robin , or a Rufous-bellied Thrush.

A Most Remarkable Book

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You get three or four books in one with Jonathan Meiburg’s A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life and Epic Journey of the World’s Smartest Birds of Prey. And it’s more than the sum of the parts.

Best Bird of the Weekend (First of September 2021)

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September has arrived, bringing the first waves of a new season of migration. Millions of birds around the world are making moves. Will you move with them? I spent the last week in Alaska chasing all kinds of excitement but finding fewer birds than I’d hoped.

The Strange Case of the Hyperactive Stilts

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Only one week after the Atlantic hurricane Grace dropped a good amount of rainfall on Michoacán, the outer bands of the East Pacific Hurricane Nora did the same, this Saturday and Sunday. As a result, I suspected that many of the sites on my Monday birding rotation would be pretty muddy.

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Speaker: Hannah Flynn

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Collaborative List – August 2021

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It is delightful to see that the beats are getting back into the field and brandishing their optics around with great relish. They have been waiting for the natural imperative that calls them outside and now the leash has been loosened. I hope that you have made it out too. Stay vigilant and safe.

Bird Therapy

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“I am not a psychologist, but I portray one in my role as the pastor of a small church.”

A posing Yellow Chat

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The photograph above is your typical photograph of a Yellow Chat around Broome. You will be walking along and there is a little bit of movement on the ground and you observe a couple or more Yellow Chats.

The return of the Oriental Plover

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Each year around the end of August we eagerly await the return of the Oriental Plovers. We usually have our first encounter with them in the last week of August and if it is hot and dry they are often found on the beach.

Animals in Space 3



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An unfortunate side effect of birding in the developing world, is the amount of habitat destruction you are likely to see. Michoacán has such wonderful forests — I just wish I didn’t have to witness so many being cut down.

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Best Bird of the Weekend (Third of September 2021)

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My favorite part of fall is early fall… really early, like not even officially autumn yet. Not only does this time of year suit me because everything is still green and relatively warm, but I also like the current wave of migrants landing on the southern shore of Lake Ontario.

Birding Mengbishan, Sichuan, China

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Mengbishan is about five hours away from Balangshan by car, on a road that is partly excellent, partly horrible. The horrible essentially meaning half-an-hour delays for construction while the road is being upgraded.

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Birding Baxi Forest, Sichuan, China

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The last few days, I have been mildly obsessed with a Velvet Underground cover version of “I’m waiting for the man” by Matt Berninger (video here ). Of course, it is hard to justify such an obsession in a blog post ostensibly all about birds.

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April Showers 4.30


Best Bird of the Weekend (Second of September 2021)

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And just like that, migration is upon us. Actually, many birds started their seasonal peregrination weeks ago and may have many more weeks ahead until they’ve reached their destinations.

Birding with a Botanist

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I am guessing that no birder practices this passion exclusively for the birds. If you are like me, and I suspect you are, it’s also for the butterflies, beetles, lizards, and plants. In my case, it is especially for the plants.

Birding Ruoergai, Sichuan, China

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Ruoergai is a large grassland in Sichuan on the far eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau. This is a wetland with an altitude mostly between 3300 and 3600 meters, sparsely populated mainly by Tibetans. The poster bird of this area is the near-threatened Black-necked Crane.

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Teal Lake Shiraz (2019)

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Most birders know better than to fall prey to such sensationalism, but among the public at large, Australia is notorious for being a land creeping and crawling with dangerous and even lethal wildlife at every turn.

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Speaker: Hannah Flynn

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