WingsBirds Updates Updates from WingsBirds Tue, 30 May 2023 08:12:29 -0700 en daily 1 Remembering David Fisher 2023-05-18 12:43:48 Matt Brooks Miscellany <p style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 19px;"><span style="color: #292929;"><img src="" alt="" width="470" height="576" /></span></p> <p style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 19px;"><span style="color: #292929;">It&rsquo;s been almost two years since we lost David Fisher, world birder, co-owner of Sunbird, and tour leader known to many WINGS participants.&nbsp; David was also the Chairman of the Neotropical Bird Club, working tirelessly in that role for years. Such was his contribution to the NBC that the club has created a Memorial Lecture in David&rsquo;s name.&nbsp; The very first David Fisher Memorial Lecture has just taken place and has been recorded for posterity on YouTube.&nbsp; The lecture is given by Dr. Alex Lees on the subject of bird migration through the Neotropical region and you can view it </span><a href="" data-cke-saved-href="" data-emb-href-display=""><span style="color: #0775e3;">via this link</span></a><span style="color: #292929;"> - it&rsquo;s a fascinating talk and well worth watching.<br /></span></p> <p style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 19px;"><span style="color: #292929;"><img src="" alt="" width="938" height="525" /></span></p> <p style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 19px;"><span style="color: #292929;"><span style="color: #292929;">David left his estate to be divided between Birdlife International, WWF, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), to whom he also donated his extensive collection of books on ornithology. The RSPB holds one of the largest libraries of bird books in the UK and had reached a point where the collection needed to rehoused in a more modern and accessible facility. Part of David&rsquo;s legacy to the Society has been used in the building of the new library, which opened last year in the new Avocet building at the Society&rsquo;s headquarters in Bedfordshire, England, where a plaque has been placed by the entrance acknowledging David&rsquo;s contribution. Both the plaque and the biannual lecture will be a lasting reminder of someone who was so well-liked and who is so greatly missed.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; -- Steve Rooke</span>&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; <br /></span></p> <p style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 19px;"><span style="color: #292929;"><img src="" alt="" width="2000" height="1126" /><img src="" alt="" width="2000" height="1126" /><br /></span></p> Cruise: The Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand and Australia 2023-05-15 14:07:44 Will Russell Recently updated tours &lsquo;Unique&rsquo; is an overused word these days, but it can be rightly applied to these remarkable islands that lie between the Subtropical and Antarctic Ocean Convergences south of New Zealand. Each island group has its own character and its own avifauna&mdash;an incredible and under-appreciated diversity of life within a small area, akin to the more famous Galapagos Islands but dominated by seabirds. <p>Paul Holt is finally back in the field! A few images from Taiwan</p> 2023-05-11 12:09:22 Wings Staff Field Reports <p><span>Taiwan Barbet, arguably one of the island&rsquo;s smartest, was the first of the endemics we saw. Equally vociferous Black-necklaced and Taiwan Scimitar Babblers the second and third, some almost touchable Taiwan Blue Magpies the fourth, the recently split Striped Prinia the fifth and Taiwan Bamboo Partridge the sixth. And that was only our first day! By the end of the tour we&rsquo;d seen 32 of the island&rsquo;s 33 endemics with only the ever elusive Island Thrush eluding us. We&rsquo;d had great looks at all the island&rsquo;s gamebirds with Taiwan Partridge seen with young, Mikado Pheasants on two dates and the magnificent &lsquo;bird of the tour&rsquo; winning Swinhoe&rsquo;s Pheasant on three. Other goodies included (eventually) stunning looks at both Taiwan Cupwing and Taiwan Shortwing and a Taiwan Bullfinch that everyone saw. What&rsquo;s more we&rsquo;d enjoyed them, and a myriad of endemic subspecies such as the distinctive&nbsp;</span><em>ardens</em><span>&nbsp;form of Maroon Oriole, multiple diminutive Golden Parrotbills and the soon to be split island endemic&nbsp;</span><em>formosanus</em><span>&nbsp;White-browed Bush Robin amidst some stunning scenery and in great company. We&rsquo;d explored a large proportion of the&nbsp;</span><em>Beautiful Island</em><span>&nbsp;(Isla Formosa), had some fabulous mammal encounters and eaten some delicious food. Every last one of us had been smitten&hellip;</span></p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1324" height="883" /></p> <p>&nbsp;Taiwan Scimitar Babbler (Shun-Zhang Chen)</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1350" height="900" /></p> <p>&nbsp;Taiwan Fulvetta (photo Shun-Zhang Chen)</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1197" height="826" /></p> <p>Taiwan Barbet (photo Shun-Zhang Chen)</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1478" height="1108" /></p> <p>Taiwan 2023 group photo (photo Yenhui Hsu)</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>Group photo (with guide and his assistants) at the Yami aboriginal village on Lanyu (photo Yenhui Hsu)</p> <p>Luke Seitz reports on our Guatemala tour</p> 2023-05-02 14:30:00 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>Our Guatemala tour in April was simply wonderful, with amazing views of most of the highland specialties and a great bird-filled extension to Tikal.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="415" /></p> <p>Let&rsquo;s start off with perhaps the most surprising moment of the tour, eye-level views of the exquisite and highly localized Azure-rumped Tanager...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="685" /></p> <p>&nbsp;...not to be outdone by this rather confiding Ocellated Quail!</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="390" /></p> <p>As always, Pink-headed Warblers were numerous and confiding, like this individual just in the parking lot at Fuentes Georginas...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="422" /></p> <p>...although I&rsquo;m more fond of the stunning Goldman&rsquo;s Warbler, only a &ldquo;Yellow-rumped&rdquo; if you&rsquo;re incapable of using most of your senses. This species is essentially restricted to the pine-juniper grasslands on one plateau in Guatemala plus a couple nearby volcano tops.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="768" height="1024" /></p> <p>Of course, the experience wouldn&rsquo;t be complete without coffee and local champurradas (a sort of dry biscuit) in hand.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="440" /></p> <p>On the extension, we fly a short distance north to the town of Flores, where we try to find a few localized Yucatan endemics. This year, Black Catbird showed better than ever.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="600" /></p> <p>The Tikal extension is always full of birds, but for me, the whole experience of standing atop a Mayan temple before dawn and listening to the forest come alive is simply unmatched...the parrots, toucans, and local Orange-breasted Falcon zipping around are just icing on the cake.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="442" /></p> <p>Ocellated Turkey must top the list of highlights on any trip to Tikal. Beautiful? Grotesque? You decide.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="388" /></p> <p>Two weeks fly by, just like this Plumbeous Kite. I&rsquo;m already looking forward to next year!</p> <p>Jon Feenstra reports from the Upper Texas Coast</p> 2023-04-27 09:28:17 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>If there&rsquo;s a place to be birding in North America in late April, it&rsquo;s the Upper Texas Coast. We were there, and we just got back. Migration was in full swing, and the forests, fields, swamps, and shore were peppered with northbound birds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One of our favorites seen on multiple days was Prothonotary Warbler.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="684" /></p> <p>And Cerulean Warbler!</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="682" /></p> <p>The Smith Oaks reserve at High Island now has a raised boardwalk putting us right up in the canopy where we could get right up and personal with the birds....</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="768" /></p> <p>like this Tennessee Warbler.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="680" /></p> <p>We could also look down on some things, like Tricolored Herons in various stages of nesting.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="685" /></p> <p>Since we had a couple days of wind that were unfavorable for finding songbird migrants, we were also close to much coastal marsh where we could concentrate on resident birds, like Seaside Sparrow.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="683" /></p> <p>&hellip;or shorebird spectacles, like this phalanx of American Avocets bearing down on some unsuspecting swarm of aquatic invertebrates.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="684" /></p> <p>And, &nbsp;after tough day of birding, the group sits down to another Gulf Coast dinner complete with local oysters.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="768" /></p> Portugal 2022-12-01 11:23:16 Will Russell Recently updated tours Portugal offers a fantastic diversity of habitats and birds in a relatively small area, which enables visiting several species rich areas in this lovely country without traveling long distances.&nbsp; Mexico: Veracruz 2022-10-21 16:30:47 Will Russell Recently updated tours Spanning from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the snow-capped volcano of Mount Orizaba, Mexico&rsquo;s highest peak at 18,490 feet elevation, the state of Veracruz is home to an extremely diverse avifauna. Add to this the spectacle of fall migration, especially the world-famous &lsquo;River of Raptors,&rsquo; and our short trip to sample this area makes for a memorable and remarkable experience. Based out of only two hotels, we&rsquo;ll divide our time between the coastal lowlands, where the local birds will compete for our attention amid the migrants, and the highlands of the Sierra Madre Occidental and Central Volcanic Belt, where coffee fincas grade into cloud forest and then cool fir forests on the higher slopes. From the recently split Veracruz Wren in coastal cactus to endemic Red Warblers flaunting their color in highland conifers, from tens&mdash;or even hundreds&mdash;of thousands of Broad-winged Hawks in a day to reclusive Blue-capped Motmots and Collared Towhees, this new trip is a great chance for a wonderful short getaway to the magic of Mexico.