WingsBirds Updates Updates from WingsBirds Thu, 23 May 2024 15:29:30 -0700 en daily 1 <p>Susan Myers reports from <a title="Vietnam" href="">Vietnam</a></p> 2024-05-15 14:37:39 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>Once again, the Vietnam tour exceeded expectations, showcasing diverse birdlife, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural encounters. Beginning in Hanoi and ending in Saigon, each step revealed varied ecosystems, picturesque vistas, and fabulous birds. Our journey southward started at Cuc Phuong, Vietnam's premier national park, established in 1960, and led to remarkable bird sightings amidst limestone karst mountains and verdant valleys. Exploring Van Long Nature Reserve, we marvelled at its labyrinthine waterways and diverse bird species. Phong Nha, with its vast karst system and caves, provided sightings of elusive birds like the Sooty Babbler. In Khe Sanh area, site of an historic battle, we spotted many excellent birds, including Silver-eared Mesia and Black-crowned Barwing, and pursued the elusive Rufous-cheeked Laughingthrushes. Ngoc Linh offered sightings of Grey-bellied Tesia and Brown-crowned Scimitar-Babbler, while Yok Don showcased a mosaic of forests with species like the Black-headed Woodpecker. Di Linh&rsquo;s unique fauna included the Blue Pitta and Bar-backed Partridge. Cat Tien National Park provided a finale with diverse habitats and remarkable bird sightings, rewarding us with encounters with endemic species like the Germain&rsquo;s Peacock-Pheasant and Indochinese Green Magpie. From vibrant cities to remote villages, Vietnam offered an unforgettable birding experience, showcasing its rich biodiversity and natural wonders.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="700" height="467" /></p> <p>Black-breasted Thrush (female)<br /> A widespread but uncommon and shy forest floor dweller, this thrush is very reliably seen in Cuc Phuong NP in North Vietnam where we begin our tour.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="700" height="467" /></p> <p>Fujian Niltava<br /> This non-breeding migrant to Vietnam is a shy and unobtrusive forest dweller that we were very lucky to observe in N Vietnam.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="700" height="467" /></p> <p>Puff-throated Babbler<br /> Although common and widespread throughout much of Asia, it&rsquo;s always a delight to see this, and hear, this lovely little babbler whose favourite food is cockroaches!&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="700" height="467" /></p> <p>Indochinese Green Magpie<br /> This captivating corvid is always a big hit! Although found in China and parts of Thailand, it&rsquo;s most reliably found in Vietnam.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="700" height="467" /></p> <p>Blue Pitta<br /> The Blue Pitta population in Vietnam and Laos, isolated from other populations, has led to the emergence of an endemic subspecies known as <em>willoughby</em>, distinguished by the distinct blush of red adorning its breast.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="700" height="467" /></p> <p>Collared Laughingthrush<br /> Even amongst the wonderful laughingthrushes, the endemic Collared Laughingthrush stands out as a real beauty!</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="700" height="467" /></p> <p>Germain&rsquo;s Peacock-Pheasant<br /> Germain&rsquo;s Peacock-Pheasant, a shy ground-dweller, is found only in South Vietnam and just into Cambodia. Although typically considered rare elsewhere, it thrives in Cat Tien National Park, where it is happily still quite common.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="700" height="467" /></p> <p>Indochinese Blue Flycatcher<br /> Despite its widespread presence throughout Southeast Asia, the charming Indochinese Blue Flycatcher never fails to be a welcome sight wherever it is found.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="700" height="467" /></p> <p>Scaly-breasted Partridge <br /> The population of Scaly-breasted Partridge we encountered in South Vietnam is sometimes spilt as Green-legged Partridge.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="700" height="467" /></p> <p>Bar-bellied Pitta<br /> Surely one of the most stunning birds in the world!</p> <p>Paul Holt reports from <a href="">Taiwan</a></p> 2024-05-13 10:40:48 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>Once again we saw all of the island&rsquo;s 31 endemics on this year&rsquo;s Taiwan tour&ndash; with several Swinhoe&rsquo;s and Mikado Pheasants, multiple Taiwan Thrushes, several Taiwan Blue Magpies, Rusty Laughingthrushes and four Chestnut-bellied Tits as well as umpteen Taiwan Yuhinas perhaps topping the bill. As is so often the case Taiwan Partridge proved the most awkward and required two visits to their preferred bird blind. Other goodies included the endemic race of Maroon Oriole, several close range Malayan Night Herons, two equally obliging Fairy Pittas and a whole host of migrant song (six Pechora Pipits) and shorebirds (think Red-necked, Long-toed and Little Stints, Great Knot, Grey-tailed Tattler, Terek and Broad-billed Sandpipers)&hellip; Despite a few small tremors than lingered after the early April earthquake and the effective closure of the spectacular road down through the Taroko Gorge we still saw some stupendous scenery&hellip;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="730" height="486" /></p> <p>Several Malayan Night Herons, here a second calendar year, were seen.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="730" height="580" /></p> <p>Several Black-faced Spoonbills lingered long enough for us to meet them&hellip;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="730" height="379" /></p> <p>Our ferry crossing to Lanyu Island was smooth and produced a few birds&hellip;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="730" height="481" /></p> <p>Once there the local goats&nbsp;vied for our attention...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="730" height="569" /></p> <p>...with flocks of Eastern Cattle and the occasional Chinese Egret.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="" alt="" width="730" height="547" /></p> <p>Some of us enjoyed the local Flying Fish delicacy for dinner!</p> <p>Skye Haas reports from the recent <a href="">Colorado: Lekking Grouse</a> tour</p> 2024-05-06 15:57:24 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>WINGS has once again successfully completed&nbsp;yet another tour of Colorado, Kansas &amp; Nebraska&nbsp;for the various lekking species of grouse. We observed 140 species of birds this year, including all our target grouse species as well as a bonus pair of White-tailed Ptarmigan. Other highlights include&nbsp;a Eurasian Wigeon, Barrow's Goldeneye, Mountain&nbsp;Plovers, American Goshawk, several Ferruginous Hawks, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Burrowing Owl, Pinyon Jays, Pine Grosbeaks, and all three species of Rosy-Finch- Gray-crowned, Brown-capped and Black! In addition to the fantastic&nbsp;list of birds observed, we enjoyed lots of charismatic&nbsp;mega-fauna&nbsp;such as American Bison, Pronghorn, Elk, Bighorn Sheep as well as the more demure such as Yellow-bellied Marmot, White-tailed Jackrabbit and the endangered Gunnison Prairie Dog. And of course, all of this was set against&nbsp;the incredible scenery&nbsp;that the Rocky Mountains&nbsp;provide around every corner!</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="730" height="568" /></p> <p>Greater Prairie-Chicken</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="730" height="524" /></p> <p>Lesser Prairie-Chicken</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="730" height="561" /></p> <p>Greater Sage-Grouse</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="730" height="531" /></p> <p>Ferruginous Hawk</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="730" height="531" /></p> <p>Mountain Plover</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="730" height="512" /></p> <p>Brown-capped Rosy-Finch</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="620" height="730" /></p> <p>American Three-toed Woodpecker</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="730" height="487" /></p> <p>Bison</p> Trinidad and Tobago 2024-05-06 15:10:29 Will Russell Recently updated tours Lying just off the coast of Venezuela, the island of Trinidad shares much of its birdlife with the nearby continent. A large percentage of South America&rsquo;s avian families are represented but without the confounding variety of species encountered on the mainland. For this reason, combined with its pleasant island atmosphere, its logistical accessibility (English is the official language), and world-renowned accommodations, Trinidad has long been considered the destination for fostering an understanding of Neotropical birds. <p>Jon Feenstra reports from the Upper Texas Coast</p> 2024-05-01 08:45:20 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>We just finished up a great week on the Texas coast, where it only takes the right kind of wind to turn a good place into a great place. Though south winds dominated, the north wind blew for two days and we were treated some to bird-filled woods. It was busy, and on one day we saw 24 warbler species. </p> <p>The crowd favorite was Golden-winged Warbler, but it was too busy to get a photo, but the Prothonotary Warbler was also popular and posed nicely.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="681" /></p> <p>There were also dozens of Yellow-billed Cuckoos around: flying by on the highway, sitting on fence wires, eating huge caterpillars, and sometimes just hanging out.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="682" /></p> <p>When the south winds were blowing we spent time away from the woods and out in the fields for things like this Dickcissel, singing away&hellip;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="682" /></p> <p>&hellip;or this Upland Sandpiper, one of about 20 we saw that day. This one was exhibiting its ideal behavior of perching on a roadside fence post.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="682" /></p> <p>No matter how the winds are blowing, the resident birds are always around. Purple Gallinule was one that lurked across the marshland.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="682" /></p> <p>And, everyday was a picnic lunch. There was plenty of Cajun food for dinner, so sandwiches and salads were good, and we didn&rsquo;t need to stop birding!</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="768" /></p> Mongolia: The Eastern Steppes 2023-09-27 16:47:52 Will Russell Recently updated tours We offer a unique itinerary to the far east of Mongolia, a land of the endless sea of grass, of golden steppes as far as you can see, where the only signs of humans are the tracks we drive on and the occasional nomad&rsquo;s ger. Out here, there are ornithological discoveries still to be made. The avian influence is Manchurian in origin, and our main targets will be Jankowski&rsquo;s Bunting, Baer&rsquo;s Pochard, Siberian Crane, Mongolian Short-toed Lark, Ochre-rumped Bunting,&nbsp;polivanovi&nbsp;Reed Parrotbill and Marsh Grassbird. It&rsquo;s also just possible that Swinhoe&rsquo;s Rail can be found here&hellip; We&rsquo;ll be travelling light and camping &ndash; there&rsquo;s no other option &ndash; and&nbsp;&nbsp;covering huge distances by in 4x4s, the majority of it on dirt tracks. However, the vehicles we use are comfortable (in 2023 and, hopefully in 2024 as well Toyota Land Cruisers), our drivers are marvelously proficient, and the tracks are usually smooth going.&nbsp; Alaska: The Pribilofs and Utqiagvik (Barrow) in Fall 2023-09-21 09:30:41 Will Russell Recently updated tours Alaska&rsquo;s Pribilof Islands lie in the Bering Sea some 300 miles southwest of the nearest bit of Alaska&rsquo;s mainland. We&rsquo;ve scheduled an extended stay on the rocky island of St. Paul at a good time for Asian and other vagrants. Even though the breeding season is over, the sea cliffs and surrounding waters will still have hundreds alcids and good numbers of the near-endemic Red-legged Kittiwake, and the Northern Fur Seal colony will be overflowing with young seal pups. Colombia: Central 2023-09-18 16:17:02 Will Russell Recently updated tours Hummingbirds galore plus sparkling tanagers, elusive antpittas and even Mountain-Toucan, all while enjoying a cup of Colombian coffee! Poland in Spring 2023-08-01 11:34:14 Will Russell Recently updated tours Birding in Eastern Poland in late May is magical. Every mile of road has at least one pair of White Storks nesting on top of a roadside telegraph pole, the incessant crex crex call of Corncrakes can, as dusk sets in, be almost deafening, and Common Cuckoos seem to be in every patch of woodland or reed. The general area hosts a range of habitats, from the extensive Biebrza Marshes &ndash;&nbsp;home to a significant proportion of the world&rsquo;s breeding Aquatic Warblers &ndash;&nbsp;to the primeval Bialowieza Forest. Accordingly, a wide variety of species can be encountered, many in numbers seldom found elsewhere in Europe. 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>