WingsBirds Updates Updates from WingsBirds Fri, 04 Dec 2020 07:33:36 -0700 en daily 1 Zambia 2020-11-19 12:33:30 Will Russell Recently updated tours Zambia is a wonderfully scenic country in the middle of sub-Saharan Africa with numerous parks and safari areas.&nbsp; It is also unusually diverse biologically, and&mdash;although under birded&mdash;has one of the largest bird lists in Africa, surpassing 750 species.&nbsp; We&rsquo;ll visit a range of habitats, each with its own set of species, beginning in the extreme northwest corner on the border of Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This remote area, rarely visited by tourists, offers a chance to see many Congo Basin species normally inaccessible to birders. From here we&rsquo;ll travel south towards Kafue National Park, one of the largest parks in Africa, with its extensive Miombo woodlands interspersed with grassy depressions called &ldquo;Dambos.&rdquo;&nbsp; Here we may see the highly localized Black-cheeked Lovebird and very likely some of Africa&rsquo;s iconic mammals. Continuing south we&rsquo;ll stop near Choma for the endemic Chaplin&rsquo;s Barbet, before spending the last couple nights in the Lower Zambezi Valley where we&rsquo;ll target the iconic African Pitta, one of Africa&rsquo;s most sought-after birds. Global Birding Event 2020-11-18 16:36:51 Matt Brooks Miscellany <p>The Global Birding Event held on 17 October proved to be an amazing success. 32,790 people took part around the world and between them recorded an incredible 7111 species through The combined number of species seen by the WINGS/Sunbird team was 595 and the event as a whole raised in excess of $30,000 for Birdlife International. But perhaps its greatest achievment was pulling together all those birders around the world and it was wonderful to be part of something so big - we are already looking forward to next year&rsquo;s event. You can read all about the big day and see all the statistics at&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p><br />If you would like to contribute to Birdlife&rsquo;s continued work trying to end the senseless trade in wild birds, donations can be made direct to Birdlife International by clicking&nbsp;<a href=";_gac=1.263092478.1605609806.Cj0KCQiAhs79BRD0ARIsAC6XpaWdmnCHNWNrgH8DrANdTglJf2eWDxGmaF1GerJ8B_aerYSre8OBpsYaAntrEALw_wcB"><strong>here</strong></a>.</p> <p>Steve Howell continues his local by-foot Big Year into October</p> 2020-10-12 12:24:31 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>Steve Howell continues the saga of his COVID-enforced Bigfoot Year in his hometown of Bolinas, California, with a summary of the early fall months, August (or as the locals call it, Fogust&mdash;here my morning view &ldquo;offshore&rdquo;) and September.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" />&nbsp;</p> <p>A steady ebb and flow of regular migrants included larger numbers than usual of Willow Flycatcher, like this young bird.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="512" />&nbsp;</p> <p>And scarce local migrants like this juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper, with a Least Sandpiper in the foreground...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="512" />&nbsp;</p> <p>Plus my first Yellow-breasted Chat in town this century!</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="512" />&nbsp;</p> <p>Local rarities included this Rock Wren (or Woodpile Wren?) in late August.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="512" /></p> <p>And this young Spotted Owl (note the downy feathers still on the neck), which showed up for a few days in early September, here with a decapitated Dusky-footed Woodrat; likely a fire refugee (the owl, not the woodrat ;-).</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="512" />&nbsp;</p> <p>Fall 2020 had a bit of an orange theme, with an early season fire close by&mdash;here a shot of the local fire station on 18 August as I walked home from downtown!</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" />&nbsp;</p> <p>Some days though we had blue sky, with good numbers of low-flying Black Swifts (juvenile on left, adult male on right), perhaps migrant birds feeding at the edge of the burn?</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="512" />&nbsp;</p> <p>Other days not so much blue sky... This midday (!! really) sky on 9 September was too dark and gloomy to even try birding, plus going out and breathing the air was inadvisable.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="427" />&nbsp;</p> <p>The days of golden light made for interesting photos, as with this Coyote in a nearby field.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="512" /></p> <p>A nice sideline to the orange theme was this Gulf Fritillary in my yard, the first I&rsquo;ve ever seen locally.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="512" /></p> <p>Birding on cleaner-air days turned up a few vagrants, including this Blackburnian Warbler (a record shot in the smoky gloom!), ....</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="512" /></p> <p>My first (long overdue) Northern Waterthrush in town, ...</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="512" /></p> <p>And a decidedly drab immature Painted Bunting, closing out September at 208 species. So, perhaps a chance to beat my Bigfoot Year record of 218 species in 2018, and already having smashed the 2019 total of 203 species. Roll on October... (and 2022 for that matter ;-).</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="512" /></p> <p>Rich Hoyer on his recently-completed tour, <a href="">Oregon in Late Summer</a></p> 2020-10-05 14:25:06 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>The Oregon in Late Summer tour was like a breath of fresh air. Well, at least the first half was, and then smoke from forest fires from all directions was evident most places we went, though we were lucky to be far from the fires' direct path. Not having led any tours since March, I was reminded what a joy it is to show off my home state and its birds to a group of passionate, appreciative, and grateful participants.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="" alt="" width="640" height="484" /></p> <p>Near Corvallis, after our second of eleven picnic lunches in extraordinarily lovely settings, this Northern Pygmy-Owl descended from the towering Douglas-fir Canopy and put on quite a show for us.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="461" />&nbsp;</p> <p>The coast was as birdy as ever &ndash; and fog we had one afternoon was the only variation from perfection during the entire tour. This Glaucous-winged Gull at Barview Jetty demonstrated the proper way to eat an Ocher Sea Star.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" />&nbsp;</p> <p>It was a shock to the senses when in a matter of hours we went from wet coniferous forest to the steppes of eastern Oregon, such as here at Fort Rock, the site where the oldest human footwear in the world, dated to as much as 11,000 years ago, were found.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="447" />&nbsp;</p> <p>This is the habitat for the sleek and distinctive Prairie Falcon, and we were lucky to see three during the tour.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="389" />&nbsp;</p> <p>Thousands of American Avocets at Summer and Abert Lakes offered quite the spectacle.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="439" />&nbsp;</p> <p>These Great Horned Owl shouldn&rsquo;t have been all that happy to be disturbed from their day roost, but then why did they break out in full song?</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="354" />&nbsp;</p> <p>Two Sandhill Cranes and their colt calmy forage by the roadside at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="480" />&nbsp;</p> <p>The drier and diverse coniferous forests of eastern Oregon&rsquo;s Blue Mountains offered up many specialties such as Pinyon Jay, Clark&rsquo;s Nutcracker, Mountain Bluebird, and this subtle immature Cassin's Finch.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="485" />&nbsp;</p> <p>On the gaudy side, this Red-naped Sapsucker was busy at these Quaking Aspen wells on our glorious day on Steens Mountain.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="" alt="" width="640" height="456" /></p> <p>We varied the last day&rsquo;s itinerary just a tad to visit a peach orchard on the John Day River in Kimberly, where this stunning male Summer Tanager, Oregon&rsquo;s 28th record, had been found just ten days earlier.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="432" />&nbsp;</p> <p>It was clear we were having a fabulous time every moment, and it was a sad moment when I realized we were nearing the end of tour so quickly.</p> <p>Steve Howell's recent participation in a Marin County, CA birdathon</p> 2020-10-04 21:15:57 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>With little else to do this fall, Steve Howell recently devoted some time to helping plan and execute a birdathon (trying to find as many bird species as possible in 24 hours, in Marin County, California) to raise funds for Point Blue Conservation Science (formerly Point Reyes Bird Observatory). He wove some local scouting into his last couple of weeks of birding and then, with team/pod member Catherine Hickey (a conservation director for Point Blue, whose idea it was, and who chose the name Kingpishers&mdash;Steve wanted the Kick-Ash-throated Flycatchers ;-), they took the plunge on 25/26 September. How did they do? Well, you can read about it on this link:</p> <p><a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="600" height="450" />&nbsp;</p> <p>Steve was so exhausted afterwards that he even had to pass up on a local pelagic trip, which demonstrates how much hard work birding can be! He&rsquo;s now recovered and the good news is it&rsquo;s back to relaxed local birding, wandering around town and some local spots, where within 24 hours he found a Painted Bunting (they can be REALLY dull) &hellip;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="600" height="401" />&nbsp;</p> <p>A migrating Burrowing Owl flying hundreds of feet up his yard in late morning!</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="600" height="400" />&nbsp;</p> <p>And a fly-y Bar-tailed Godwit (bottom right) with a flock of Marbled Godwits, thus probably using up Steve&rsquo;s quota of luck for the fall!</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="600" height="400" /></p> India: The North 2020-04-06 16:39:40 Will Russell Recently updated tours India is a mystical and exotic country that for many people epitomizes foreign travel. It is an extraordinarily varied land, and long after you have returned home images will remain to enrich and liven your daily round: the cool marble splendor of the Taj Mahal; the snows of the Himalayas, flamingo-pink at dawn; and the lush green jungles. And above all the birds: the thrill of your first Siberian Rubythroat, a Red-flanked Bluetail or Altai Accentor beside a mountain stream a Sarus Crane striding majestically through the cornfields an Orange-headed Thrush lighting up the undergrowth or minivets streaming through the emerald canopy. With so many birds on the potential list, the examples can only be arbitrary, and the total for the tour should be between 380 and 400 species. Portugal in Spring 2020-04-02 15:41:14 Will Russell Recently updated tours Portugal possesses a fine diversity of habitats and birds in a relatively small area.&nbsp; Within 30 minutes drive from Lisbon city center and its International Airport we find the Tagus Estuary and the Sado Estuary Nature Reserves, two protected wetland areas with extensive bird lists including Greater Flamingo, Glossy Ibis, Squacco and Purple Herons, Black-shouldered Kite, Little Bustard, Iberian Grey Shrike and Spotless Starling, and an excellent selection of ducks, waders, gulls and terns. Scotland 2020-02-06 10:39:20 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.