WingsBirds Updates Updates from WingsBirds Wed, 28 Feb 2024 06:11:29 -0700 en daily 1 <p><span class="x193iq5w xeuugli x13faqbe x1vvkbs x1xmvt09 x1lliihq x1s928wv xhkezso x1gmr53x x1cpjm7i x1fgarty x1943h6x xudqn12 x3x7a5m x6prxxf xvq8zen xo1l8bm xzsf02u x1yc453h" dir="auto">Jon Feenstra reports from his recent trip in the Ecuadorian Amazo 2024-02-26 12:13:35 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>We returned from Sani Lodge, deep in the Amazon rainforest of eastern Ecuador. It&rsquo;s way out beyond any roads and quite an adventure just getting there.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="768" /> The avian diversity is epic and we had a nice sampling of screamers, guans, puffbirds, jacamars, toucans, antbirds, woodcreepers, flycatchers, cotingas, manakins, tanagers, and more. And, parrots! No trip to the Amazon is complete without a show from big, colorful parrots. We watched up to twenty Blue-and-yellow Macaws (pictured here), as well as a few Chestnut-fronted and Red-bellied Macaws chew up a dead tree.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="684" /> We also saw up to eleven Scarlet Macaws visit a mineral spring in the jungle (here with Orange-cheeked Parrot).</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="683" /></p> <p>The canoe rides through the flooded forest were serene and beautiful.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="768" /></p> <p>And, within this habitat we encountered the extremely local Cocha Antshrike, here the more striking female.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="684" /></p> <p>The canopy tower had its own specialties, like the tiny, colorful Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="683" /></p> <p>There was a lot of walking though dark, primary rainforest.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="768" /></p> <p>Sometimes there were some very big trees.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="768" /></p> <p>And, sometimes we took a lesson from the Hoatzins and just hung out, looking out over the jungle from a good sturdy branch.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="682" /></p> <p><span style="white-space: pre-wrap;">Jake Mohlmann has just finished an amazing tour full of rarities in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas</span></p> 2024-02-26 10:55:29 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>We recently wrapped up another trip through the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. This year&rsquo;s tour was truly unbelievable in not only the species diversity, but also the extreme rarity of so many of the birds we encountered. Resaca de La Palma State Park was hosting a serious suite this year. We packed our rarity list with highlights including Rose-throated and Gray-collared Becard, Roadside Hawk, Tropical Parula, and Dusky-capped Flycatcher.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="799" height="533" />&nbsp;</p> <p>This Gray-collared Becard was seen, a third record for North America</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="799" height="533" />&nbsp;</p> <p>Tropical Parula picked bugs from leaves over our heads</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="799" height="533" /></p> <p>Amazing Roadside Hawk hunting the resaca edge</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Santa Margarita Ranch has been red hot lately with rare birds. Some advanced planning acquired us access to this unique habitat abutting the meandering Rio Grande. From the bluffs here we scored a crowd pleaser when a passing illegal fishing boat flushed a Bare-throated Tiger-Heron up into a tree for us to observe in the scope. Later on, we got eye level with this 3rd North American record from the shores of the ranch directly across the waterway.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="600" /></p> <p>Our group on the bluffs at Santa Margarita Ranch</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="538" />&nbsp;</p> <p>Bare-Throated Tiger-Heron seen well, another third record for North America.</p> <p>The ranch has also become the only reliable spot north of Mexico that one can see the raucous Brown Jay. We lucked into 4 of these giant corvids coming in to the overflowing feeder array here.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="799" height="533" />&nbsp;</p> <p>BRJA-Brown Jay checking us out</p> <p>We went back to Santa Margarita Ranch at nighttime to bag a huge score for any North American birder. Among the calling Eastern (McCall&rsquo;s) Screech-Owls and Pauraques the deep hoots of a Mottled Owl were heard. We stood in amazement as it showed up, skillfully lit up by our local guide in the glow of the spot light.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p>Unbelievable looks at a Mottled Owl</p> <p>The range expansion of the Limpkin made its way to Texas. We lucked into one of these colonizers in San Benito and watched it excise some huge clams from their formidable shells.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="799" height="533" /></p> <p>Limpkin with clam lunch</p> <p>The Corpus Christi area always seems to please with its endless saltmarsh habitat, backwater bayous, and barrier beaches full of birds. In addition to a plethora of gulls and shorebirds, we boated by 25 Whooping Cranes on our trip through Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. This is the largest wintering population of this species in the world and it showed.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="799" height="533" />&nbsp;</p> <p>Whooping Cranes were well-represented</p> <p>Also in Corpus we were treated to a first North American record conveniently located 2 blocks from our hotel. A long-staying Cattle Tyrant has taken up residence at the Water Street Oyster Bar. It didn&rsquo;t take us long to track down the birders running, always an indication something exciting is nearby. Their actions led us right to the bird and, I must say, it was easily approachable as the hood ornament of a GMC pickup truck.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="799" height="533" />&nbsp;</p> <p>Cattle Tyrant adornment in Corpus Christi</p> <p>Jon Feenstra has just finished an excellent East Slope of the Andes tour in Ecuador</p> 2024-02-14 15:56:42 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>Tour completed and more than 10000 feet of elevation change later, we&rsquo;re back from birding the Amazon slope of the Ecuadorian Andes. We began the tour at and above treeline in the high paramo.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="682" /></p> <p>&nbsp;One of the favorites was Tawny Antpitta, &ldquo;the nice antpitta&rdquo; that was readily found wandering around out in the open. <img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="683" /></p> <p>Giant Hummingbird was truly amazing, shown here on a normal-sized hummingbird feeder for reference.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="768" /></p> <p>The scenery was pretty vast, as well. Here is the gang in front of the Antisana Volcano looming in the distance.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="682" /></p> <p>Further down the hill, the birds changed completely. Everyone liked Cinnamon Flycatcher &ndash; cute, easy to identify, and always accommodating.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="684" /></p> <p>Peruvian Racket-tail was also one of the favorites. Its puffy orange &ldquo;boots&rdquo; gave this little hummingbird an extra funny look.<br /><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="683" /></p> <p>We encountered Coppery-chested Jacamar on two days. It&rsquo;s a local specialty in foothill rainforest (and, conveniently, often seen perched along the sides of roads).</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="768" /></p> <p>Sometimes it was cold, wet, windy, a little short on air, and a lot of work.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="1024" height="768" /></p> <p>But, a lot of time, it was just some good old chilling out and watching the birds that would come to us.</p> <p>Check out the eBird trip report here: <a href=""></a></p> <p>Steve Howell reports from the conclusion of another great <strong>Week in San Blas, Mexico</strong> tour</p> 2024-02-14 10:18:27 Wings Staff Field Reports <p><em><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" /></em></p> <p><em>It was full of sun, birds, great food, and great memories, from brilliant Military Macaws... Photo by participant Jim Vincent</em></p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" />&nbsp;</p> <p>To a cryptic Mottled Owl.<em>Photo by participant Jim Vincent</em></p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" /></p> <p>We enjoyed some amazing sunrises (here, from the hotel balcony) and sunsets,</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" /></p> <p>As well as birding on quiet backroads. <em>Photo by participant Jim Vincent</em></p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="427" />&nbsp;</p> <p>Boat trips produced the bizarre Boat-billed Heron</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="426" />&nbsp;</p> <p>And the equally&mdash;or more?&mdash;bizarre Northern Potoo,</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" />&nbsp;</p> <p>Plus the tiny Yellow-breasted Crake, a recent discovery in the area. <em>Photo by participant Jim Vincent</em></p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="427" />&nbsp;</p> <p>Russet-crowned Motmot kept us waiting till the 11th hour, but what views when we did find it!</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" />&nbsp;</p> <p>And then there was this surprise Black Hawk-Eagle spotted on our drive to the airport, for which binoculars and cameras were hastily unpacked! <em>Photo by participant Jim Vincent</em></p> <p>Thanks to a great group for such a fun tour!</p> Trinidad and Tobago 2023-11-15 11:39:28 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.&nbsp;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&nbsp;the&nbsp;destination for fostering an understanding of Neotropical birds.&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>