January, 2020

Chats

10,000 Birds

I’m guessing that most people these days communicate on social media through one or more chats. I myself am on several. But only birders know that you can communicate on a chat about… Chats. Back in 2013, as I was gradually getting back into birding, I found myself trying to ID a tiny bird that had visited my garden. (It

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Pat’s 2020 Bird List, Mostly from Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

It’s January and another year list begins. This is what many of us birders do, we start another list. And this doesn’t mean you are obsessed or a little bit too much into birds because keeping track of a year list actually comes with some side benefits.

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My Best Bird of the Year 2020… so far

10,000 Birds

Last week, I wrote about my best birds of last year. Fortunately, by the time I wrote that post, I had already seen what is sure to be one of my best birds for this year. The Sparkling-tailed Woodstar is a hummingbird as beautiful as its name suggests. For several years, I had seen photos of this species posted by my friend Julio Álvarez, from the state of Jalisco, just to the west of my state of Michoacán. The first photo below is his.

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The Famous Grouse: Smoky Black Blended Scotch Whisky

10,000 Birds

Whisky Month at Birds and Booze: This January, Birds and Booze at 10,000 Birds is setting its sights on whiskies all month long. The cold and dreary dead of winter is as good a reason as any to warm up with a restorative dram of uisce , especially after a blustery morning spent scanning flocks of gulls on an icy shore, trudging through woodland snowdrifts in search of new year-birds, or any other half-crazed birding one does in January.

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How to find the Ural Owl in Serbia

10,000 Birds

The Ural Owl inhabits old and undisturbed boreal forests, in an unbroken belt from Sweden and Finland across Russia to Japan, and is rarely seen to the south, only here and there, in the Carpathians (Slovakia/Ukraine/Romania/eastern Serbia) and Dinaric Alps (Croatia/Bosnia/western Serbia). Large and round-headed, smartly-striped, with a gentle gaze of mysterious black eyes, in the European south of its range this species chooses preserved mountain forests, preferably mixed deciduous and conifers.

Birds of Japan by Otani Chikara

10,000 Birds

It’s the festive season and I am holding the new Lynx Edicions’s Birds of Japan, thinking what a perfect gift to any international birder this book represents. Its waterproof fold-able covers bring back childhood memories… I must have had some illustrated children book with similar covers – my fingertips remember the experience. Birds of Japan is a lavishly illustrated field guide with maps neatly packed among the paintings, and QR codes packed into text.

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Highlights from Birding Costa Rica, 2019

10,000 Birds

I write this on the final day of the year, the last bit of 2019. The point of orbit for which the Earth starts and completes its merry-go-round the Sun is subjective but according to eBird, now is the time. If birders still fancied adding that Purple Finch, Ivory Gull, or Three-wattled Bellbird in 2019, December 31st would have been their final chance.

Buntings of Nanhui, Shanghai

10,000 Birds

I feel that like most bird families (with the obvious exception of pheasants), buntings are somewhat underrated. They lack both the flashiness larger birds and the “I am more of an expert birder than you” appeal of warblers. In other words, they are my kind of birds. At my regular birding spot at Nanhui, Shanghai, five or six species of buntings can be seen fairly regularly, and about the same number very occasionally.

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Collaborative list – December 2019

10,000 Birds

They came home exhausted. For lack of shields, they were carried on their “Helm field guides to the Birds of East Africa” 429 species were seen by The Management in Uganda and may I commend Corey for his very concientious Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) that he noted during a quick transit stop at Brussels Airport; Belgium being a place previously unbirded by the 10,000 Birds beats.

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Aging a thrush.

10,000 Birds

There is a Rufous-bellied Thrush in a city park in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Actually, there are loads of them, but one is a slightly different version from the type-specific and I have become very fond of it. It stands out from the rest of its flock by virtue of having pure white plumage. He (or it could be a she) is to be found in the tiniest of territories in Ibirapura Park with half-a-dozen of his (or her) more traditionally coloured flock-mates.

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But…It’s a Canada Goose?

10,000 Birds

Luis Gonzalez is a Miami resident and IT major who was originally born and raised in Cuba. He has been an avid lover of the natural world since he was a kid, with a strong love for paleontology when he was younger, but he only took up birding in his last year of high school and hasn’t looked back since. The bird family that got his attention was originally the herons, egrets and other wading birds, but as time went on New World warblers, woodpeckers and ducks fueled the passion further.

Best Bird of the Weekend (Last of January 2020)

10,000 Birds

The first month of the current year is all but over. Happy with your year list to date? Don’t worry… we’ve got 11 months to go! The birds we encountered up on the lake this weekend could only be described as mundane. Luckily, while White-winged Scoter may be common around here in winter, it’s never boring. Corey enjoyed a foul-weather seawatch on Saturday morning and birded a couple of locations Sunday morning before leading a walk for New York City Audubon in Forest Park.

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Where Are You Birding This Third Weekend of January 2020?

10,000 Birds

As a month, January is like March for birding, coming in like a lion as everyone tears into a fresh, new year list, but going out like a lamb as we gradually recognize how little bird movement really takes place this time of year. Try to overcome the urge to wait until the next migration; get outside this weekend! I’ll be working mornings this weekend but hope to hustle up an owl or two if the weather permits.

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Where’s BBOTY?

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Deary me. What with all the excitement, The Management forgot to call up the beats for their Best Bird of The Year ! It usually starts around mid-November with a thinly veiled threat, building to outright menace by the second week of December if drafts have not been submitted. This year however, The Menacement were chalking up ticks that are likely to be included on shortlists as Best Bird of Life. When you have a Shoebill , there is little competition.

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Speaker: Hannah Flynn

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Best Bird of the Weekend (Second of January 2020)

10,000 Birds

Now that we’re a little further into this new year, we might have a sense of how birdy this season will be. Factors like temperature, weather, and availability of food sources drive avian distribution, but the single most influential factor regarding how many species you might see this month is YOU. My business trip to Florida to host the Tests and the Rest Winter Conference 2020 was more than just a professional success. January in Florida always delivers on tasty birds.

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Birding Acapulco

10,000 Birds

During the period from 1994 through 2006, I mostly dedicated myself to itinerant ministry. In other words, I travelled, sometimes every weekend. Most of this travel was in Mexico, but I also visited different regions of the U.S., Cuba (twice), South America (twice), Europe and Morocco (once) and Bali (once). But here is the truly tragic part: I was not birding during those years! I can only imagine what my life list would be like now, if I had.

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Best Bird of the Weekend (Third of January 2020)

10,000 Birds

Mid-January may not count as midwinter in the Northern Hemisphere, but the Arctic effect has definitely settled in! A busy, snowy, chilly weekend kept me and birds equally unable or unwilling to meet, so instead I’ll take this opportunity to show respect to American Crows ; these birds gather in massive winter flocks around here, which makes them the true spirit animal of this frigid season.

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Urban Ornithology: 150 Years of Birds in New York City–A Book Review

10,000 Birds

Happy New Year, 10,000 Birds readers and writers! Everyone is looking back on their best birds of 2019, so I thought it would be a good idea to look at a book that looks back a little further: Urban Ornithology: 150 Years of Birds in New York City , by P. Buckley, Walter Sedwitz, William J. Norse, and John Kieran. Because, as this book demonstrates so well, it is sometimes important to look back in order to move forward.

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Speaker: Hannah Flynn

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Linkwood Distillery: 15 Years Old Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky

10,000 Birds

Whiskey Month at Birds and Booze: This January, Birds and Booze at 10,000 Birds is setting its sights on whiskeys all month long. The cold and dreary dead of winter is as good a reason as any to warm up with a restorative dram of uisce, especially after a blustery morning spent scanning flocks of gulls on an icy shore, trudging through woodland snowdrifts in search of new year-birds, or any other half-crazed birding one does in January.

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Best Birds of my First Year with 10,000 Birds

10,000 Birds

When it comes to one’s most exciting bird sightings, of course, it all comes down to context. I wouldn’t change my central Mexican endemics for any other region’s birds. But… Been there, done most of those. So my favorites for 2019 includes a good number of birds that are rather common elsewhere, but were firsts for me. Plus a few truly difficult species. Mandarin Ducks, Munich, Germany. Sure, it is an introduced species in Germany.

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A few interesting birds seen at Nanhui, Shanghai in 2019

10,000 Birds

When I was much younger, as a student, I sometimes made mixtapes of favorite music. This was in the time before streaming, even before CDs … when cassettes for a while competed with LPs for market share (ask your grandfather about it).

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Where Are You Birding This First Weekend of February 2020?

10,000 Birds

Since you won’t be seeing any cardinals, eagles, falcons, ravens, or seahawks in the Super Bowl this weekend, you’ll have to search for them outdoors instead. Maybe we’ll all score looks at a Superb Owl or two. Obviously, I’ll be watching the big game, but one weekend is big enough for both birding and sports entertainment. Hopefully some birds show up this time! Corey usually makes something happen (avifaunally speaking) in Queens, so look for him there. How about you?

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Animals in Space 3

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“Valley of the Wild Geese”: Glengoyne 15 Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

10,000 Birds

Whisky Month at Birds and Booze: This January, Birds and Booze at 10,000 Birds is setting its sights on whiskies all month long. The cold and dreary dead of winter is as good a reason as any to warm up with a restorative dram of uisce , especially after a blustery morning spent scanning flocks of gulls on an icy shore, trudging through woodland snowdrifts in search of new year-birds, or any other half-crazed birding one does in January.

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Best Bird of the Weekend (First of 2020)

10,000 Birds

One down, just fifty-one more to go… did you make that first weekend of the year count? One of the things Corey most enjoys about a new year is the way it resets your year list, giving you an excuse to pay a little more attention to the common species as you check them off your year list. In that spirit, Corey chose the lowly feral Rock Pigeon as his Best Bird of the Weekend. They really are pretty when you take the time to look at them!

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Where Are You Birding This Final Weekend of January 2020?

10,000 Birds

Thank the gods it’s Friday! For many, the end of the week heralds a cessation of paid labor, which often occasions equally strenuous but infinitely more enjoyable efforts. This is to say that you may find the search for interesting avifauna hard work this weekend or any other, so be sure to have fun along the way! I’ll do my best to rustle up some fancy winter birds amidst the weekend rains. Corey will surely do the same on the NYC coast. How about you?

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Racking up the numbers

10,000 Birds

Shallow person that I am, I do care about that Top 100 button on the eBird menu. I am also very susceptible to that once-a-year thrill of a House Sparrow or a Eurasian Collared Dove actually meaning something. So on January 1st, or as close to it as I can get, I always head a half hour north to the one site of mine that offers more species than any other: Lago de Cuitzeo (Cuitzeo Lake). And this time the stars did align to allow me to arrive just at sunrise, on the very first day of the year.

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Where Are You Birding This Second Weekend of January 2020?

10,000 Birds

Though it is January, often the coldest month for those of us in the northeastern United States, this weekend is forecast to be exceptionally mild.It will be much more cloudy than the sky in the photo above, taken at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. Not that such parochial concerns bother Mike, who will be gallivanting around Florida seeing all kinds of warm-weather birds. In the meantime, I’ll be stuck in cloudy Queens, hoping to incrementally increase my year list. How about you?

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Fish Creek to Buffalo

10,000 Birds

Over recent weeks I have been able to share some of my observations along the Great Southern Rail Trail in Victoria, Australia. I have introduced you to the sections from Foster to Fish Creek and also Foster to Toora. This week I will introduce you to the section from Fish Creek to Buffalo. This section is around ten kilometres/six miles long and it is quite windy with a few steady inclines and declines, but only as much as a train could handle!

Foster to Toora

10,000 Birds

Last week I introduced you to a section of the Great Southern Rail Trail in Victoria from Foster to Fish Creek. This week I will introduce you to another section from Foster to Toora. This section of the trail is very flat and only just over ten kilometres long. It is another enjoyable section with a variety of habitat. When you first leave the old Foster railway station you go through dense bush with a swampy area below the trail.

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Foster to Fish Creek

10,000 Birds

Over the past few weeks I have spent many hours walking the Great Southern Rail Trail. From our base, which has been Foster for most of the time and Fish Creek over recent weeks, I have walked the stretch of Rail Trail from Foster to Fish Creek several times. I have walked from Foster to Fish Creek and back in a day or just walked in one direction or shorter sections from either end.

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Speaker: Hannah Flynn

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