WingsBirds Updates Updates from WingsBirds Sun, 26 Jan 2020 05:56:20 -0700 en daily 1 <p>Jared Clarke on his recently concluded winter tour in <a href="">Newfoundland</a></p> 2020-01-19 16:46:18 Wings Staff Field Reports <p><span>Our popular &ldquo;Newfoundland in Winter&rdquo; tour has drawn to a close for yet another year, with five intrepid birders braving&nbsp;</span><span>the</span><span>&nbsp;elements to score some wonderful winter birds. Participants came&nbsp;</span><span>from&nbsp;</span><span>throughout the United States to enjoy&nbsp;</span><span>the</span><span>&nbsp;diversity of northern species that call this island home &ndash; and&nbsp;</span><span>the</span><span>y were not disappointed. Early surprises came in the form of rare visitors from very different directions &ndash; a Pink-footed Goose from Europe and a Hermit Warbler from western North America! Always a highlight, Dovekies (aka &ldquo;bullbirds&rdquo;</span><span>&nbsp;</span><span>to local Newfoundlanders) put in an excellent showing and even allowed some very (very!) close encounters. After a couple early misses, we also connected with two flocks of Purple Sandpipers &ndash; a special moment for several of our guests. Local celebrities such as Great Cormorants, Eurasian Wigeon and several dozen Tufted Ducks were of course on full display. Extra time spent exploring the sub-arctic tundra were rewarded with great views of some of the world&rsquo;s southernmost caribou foraging in the snow. A beautiful encounter with two Willow Ptarmigan on our last afternoon rounded off a fantastic week of winter birding in&nbsp;</span><span>the</span><span>&nbsp;North Atlantic!</span></p> <p><span><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="427" /></span><br /><em>Pink-footed Goose</em></p> <p><span><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="461" />&nbsp;</span><br /><em>Dovekie</em></p> <p><span><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="296" /></span><br /><em>Purple Sandpiper</em></p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="317" /><br /><em>Caribou</em></p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="438" /><br /><em>Willow Ptarmigan</em></p> <p><em><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" /><br /><em>Winter birding in Newfoundland is a wonderful experience</em></em></p> <p>Steve Howell on his recently completed Mexican tour to <a href="">San Blas</a></p> 2020-01-16 14:23:48 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>As always, the birds kept us busy, but in a relaxed way based at a very comfortable hotel with excellent food and hospitality. From colorful trogons and warblers to cryptic potoos and feisty pygmy-owls; from flashy endemic jays and impressive Military Macaws to elegant Elegant Quail and dapper Black-capped Vireos; from poetry and a sunset beers to large crocodiles and colorful butterflies in tropical green forest, it was a very special week and a great group to be with. A few images capture some of the story.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" /></p> <p>After unseasonal cold weather the first few days our last day turned out hot and we enjoyed a shady scenic picnic overlooking the Pacific.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="" alt="" width="640" height="512" /></p> <p>Northern Potoo is always a highlight, and this bird showed wonderfully.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="" alt="" width="640" height="512" /></p> <p>Wading birds were well represented as usual, including this Roseate Spoonbill amid nesting Wood Storks.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="" alt="" width="640" height="512" /></p> <p>The typically elusive Blue Mockingbird showed well one afternoon...</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="" alt="" width="640" height="512" /></p> <p>And a point-blank Ivory-billed Woodcreeper was another highlight.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="" alt="" width="640" height="512" /></p> <p>After a little searching, Colima Pygmy-Owl (which was being mobbed by Happy and Sinaloa Wrens!) put on a fine show.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" /></p> <p>The group celebrating &lsquo;just another great day in the field&rsquo; before another fine dinner.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Gavin Bieber on his recently completed tour, <a href="">Australia: Queensland and New South Wales</a></p> 2020-01-07 15:36:07 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>Our Eastern Australia Tour kicked off with a fantastic week around Cairns and the Atherton Tablelands.&nbsp; This region hosts the highest biological diversity in the country, including a number of the continent&rsquo;s signature species, and this year we had incredible experiences with many of them. Just a sampling of our favorite sightings included...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="427" /></p> <p>a family group of Southern Cassowaries walking around near a stunning white-sand tropical beach...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="530" /></p> <p>White-browed Crakes in the open in a small roadside marsh...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="451" /></p> <p>Azure Kingfishers sitting along a mangrove laden creek...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="427" /></p> <p>Brown Cuckoo-Doves scarfing fruit in the rainforest...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="471" /></p> <p>and a pair of Noisy Pittas just a few feet away from our sumptuous breakfast at Kingfisher Park.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="438" /></p> <p>Our views of feeding Spangled Drongo...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="427" /></p> <p>Squatter Pigeon...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="427" /></p> <p>and Laughing Kookaburra in the drier forest to the west of the tablelands were excellent.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="376" /></p> <p>As always, tours to Australia are never solely about the birds;and in particular our lengthy views of Platypus near Yungaburra (one of an impressive 25 species of mammals for the tour) were a real highlight for many.</p> <p>The second week kicked off on the idyllic Lady Elliot Island, on the southern edge of the Great Barrier Reef.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="427" /></p> <p>Here we marveled at nesting Black Noddies...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="427" /></p> <p>and Red-tailed Tropicbirds just feet from our lenses, as well as a host of other seabirds and a wide array of marine life, including an impressive 9-foot wide stingray.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="427" /></p> <p>A stop in at Inskip Point a bit to the south of Lady Elliot revealed some very cooperative Beach Thick-Knees...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="427" /></p> <p>a couple of large Lace Monitors...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="502" /></p> <p>and a family group of Variegated Fairywren (amazingly the 10<sup>th</sup> species of these charismatic birds we found over the 2019 tours; a clean sweep of the Australian group).&nbsp;</p> <p>A little to the south around the famous O&rsquo;Reilly&rsquo;s Lodge the birds are almost tame, and forest birds often come to investigate your shoelaces.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="427" /></p> <p>Normally shy Eastern Whipbirds...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="427" height="640" /></p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="427" />&nbsp;</p> <p>...and gorgeous Regent and Satin Bowerbirds are common visitors around the lodge, where they look over (or from) your shoulder for any dropped tidbits.&nbsp;</p> <p>After O&rsquo;Reilly&rsquo;s we flew down to Sydney where we spent some time in the stunning and large Royal National Park that lies just a little to the south of the city. This park provided a great and scenic backdrop for our final day and a half, with a family group of Powerful Owls on a day roost</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="515" /></p> <p>and a nice array of waterbirds including our first Chestnut Teal.&nbsp;</p> <p>A pelagic trip out of Sydney harbor proved bucolic, with nearly flat seas and great viewing conditions.&nbsp; Hundreds of dolphins danced around the boat at times,</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" /></p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" /></p> <p>and we enjoyed repeated views of Campbell Albatross and Providence Petrels.</p> <p>We finished the Eastern Tour with 299 species, and an amazing 451 species for the two tours combined.&nbsp; It is always with a touch of sadness that I board the plane to leave this amazing continent, and I very much look forward to next year&rsquo;s duo of tours!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Just released: American Birding Association’s Field Guide to Birds of Ohio by Ethan Kistler 2020-01-02 14:46:14 Sara Pike Miscellany <p>WINGS leader Ethan Kistler just had released his book, the ABA&rsquo;s "Field Guide to Birds of Ohio". This is the perfect companion for birders who reside in Ohio or plan to visit, especially for the annual Biggest Week in American Birding festival at Magee Marsh. Filled with gorgeous color images by Brian E. Small, each species account also includes usual information including habitat, voice, identification, and the best locations in the state to find them.</p> <p>Rich Hoyer on his recently concluded tour, <a href=""">Brazil: Minas Gerais</a></p> 2019-12-20 13:36:19 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>It&rsquo;s hard to imagine a long week of birding with such a variety of habitats. Going from a shrubby cerrado and seasonally dry woodland at Cip&oacute;, to wet Atlantic Rainforest at Cara&ccedil;a, then to a curious mix of woodland, gallery forest, and savannah-like grassland at Canastra, we tallied 263 species of birds, only seven of which were heard. This was all in just eight days plus a couple hours, and even in those last couple hours we kept seeing new species. The grand hallelujah of the tour were the Brazilian Mergansers which at first were inexplicably elusive during a long day of searching, during which we still happened to see over 100 other species. But we eventually caught up with them, and we had excellent views of this super rare duck.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="452" /></p> <p>Burrowing Owls, close to the road and very common at Canastra, made it close to the top of the favorites...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="794" /></p> <p> did a male Horned Sungem that perched at close range, showing some incredible colors in those horns.&nbsp;</p> <p>Other species mentioned as particularly memorable included a female Frilled Coquette building a nest right over the road at Cara&ccedil;a...<img style="font-size: 1.2em;" src="" alt="" width="640" height="412" /></p> <p> unbelievably cooperative Collared Crescentchest (after I had warned everyone to be ready for an impossible-to-see skulker)...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="447" /></p> <p>...two King Vultures sitting in a tree...</p> <p>...and a pair of Black-capped Donacobius duetting and doing their moves, proving what a taxonomic oddity they really are. And of course mammals featured prominently.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="489" /></p> <p>Maned Wolf appeared early and at great length on our first evening at Cip&oacute;...</p> <p>...and Crab-eating Fox came the second evening. Giant Anteater was something everyone really wanted to see, and finally in the late afternoon a very distant animal was spotted by our driver Marcelo. We spent a long time on the roadside watching it through the spotting scope as it thoroughly searched the distant slopes, wandering back and forth. We were perfectly happy though, so it was quite a surprise on our last full day to be walking a woodland trail and have one nearly at arm&rsquo;s length right next to the trail.</p> <p>We had a fun group that worked well together so everyone got on every bird as best as possible, and our always friendly driver Paulo contributed with his own spotting skills and interest and knowledge of local birding spots.</p> Honduras 2019-12-19 14:45:26 Will Russell Recently updated tours Honduras is one of the least-known countries in the Americas and remains stubbornly off the beaten track. However, with specialty birds such as Resplendent Quetzal, Lovely Cotinga, Keel-billed Motmot, Wine-throated Hummingbird, and the endemic Honduran Emerald, plus comfortable lodges and beautiful scenery, visitors will quickly realize that the country provides a great introduction to Neotropical birding. Scotland 2019-12-19 14:38:59 Will Russell Recently updated tours The Scottish Highlands are one of the last truly wild places to be found in the United Kingdom. Ideally placed to explore the region, the imposing Grant Arms Hotel is home to The Birdwatching and Wildlife Club which provides its own Club room with a wildlife information centre, a bookshop and a natural history library. It also has a large lecture theatre which hosts evening talks from a range of guest speakers. Lesser Antilles 2019-12-18 19:03:39 Will Russell Recently updated tours These 10 stunningly beautiful Caribbean islands form the eastern border between the placid Caribbean Sea and the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Each tropical island gem is separated by turquoise seas and boasts rich wetlands, vast open grasslands, dynamic coastlines and lush tropical rainforests. These diverse habitats are home to a lengthy list of highly threatened single-island endemics and near endemics along with a host of indigenous regional specialties. <p>Gavin Bieber on his recent tour, <a href="">Panama: Bocas del Toro and the Western Highlands</a>.</p> 2019-12-13 14:53:42 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>It&rsquo;s surely a testament to the diversity of habitats and birds that exist in this relatively small geographic area that over the course of eight birding days we detected 335 species between the Caribbean lowlands and Pacific-slope Highlands.&nbsp;</p> <p>We started out in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" /></p> <p>...where the semi-aquatic town of Bocas served as our access point to the idyllic Tranquillo Bay Ecolodge.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" /></p> <p>Traveling largely by boat we ventured out through&nbsp;<span>the picturesque archipelago and to the humid Caribbean foothills...</span></p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="516" /></p> <p>...where we were introduced to a wealth of birds including Collared Plover</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="384" /></p> <p>...and Golden-collared Manakin...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="390" /></p> <p>...and other animals like this handsome Red-eyed Treefrog.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="426" /></p> <p>Perhaps the highlight birds of the first few days were the ethereal Red-billed Tropicbirds that we witnessed doing display flights at a small offshore colony.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" /></p> <p>The second half of the trip visited the cool and heavily forested highlands around the impressive 11400 foot Baru Volcano...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="480" height="640" /></p> <p>...where new birds like Resplendent Quetzal...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="563" /></p> <p>...and the impressive Violet Sabrewing awaited.&nbsp;</p> <p>Is it any surprise that I very much look forward to my next tour here?</p> Oregon: Birds & Theater 2019-09-12 10:35:38 Will Russell Recently updated tours The Oregon Shakespeare Festival began as a three-day event featuring two Shakespeare plays, but that was 85 years ago. In short, it&rsquo;s no longer just a festival and it&#8217;s far more than just Shakespeare. Away from the Pacific Northwest it seems to be a closely-guarded secret, but it has evolved to be one of North America&rsquo;s premier acting companies. Each year, over 800 performances during their eight-month season are viewed by 400,000 attendees. Offering up to eleven different plays over the season and occupying three stages twice a day for much of that time, the Tony Award-winning OSF doesn&rsquo;t have trouble selling out performances, especially during the summer, when nearly perfect weather occurs with almost alarming predictability.