WingsBirds Updates Updates from WingsBirds Sat, 02 Jul 2022 10:56:52 -0700 en daily 1 <p>Jake Mohlmann reports from Alaska</p> 2022-07-01 13:57:13 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>We recently wrapped up a successful WINGS tour through some of the most scenic parts of Alaska.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="539" /></p> <p>A new area was explored for the first time on this tour as the group searched the shorelines and bays around Homer, a scenic coastal town replete with its famous spit.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="533" /></p> <p>In Nome we searched the other-worldly rocky tundra near Woolly Lagoon for a couple of hours and eventually were rewarded with what some voted the bird of the trip when Greg spotted a Rock Ptarmigan trying its best to blend in to the surrounding landscape.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="544" /></p> <p>Along the Denali Highway several highlights were tallied, including a perched Northern Hawk Owl that was being harassed by a mob of American Robins and Varied Thrushes that were obviously upset this raptor was perched nearby.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="581" /></p> <p>We strolled through the hummocky tundra a mile or so from the road to an area where after some searching tracked down a dapper male Smith&rsquo;s Longspur newly arrived on its breeding grounds.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="800" height="513" /></p> <p>In Utquiagvik the ice was packed for a mile up to the beach which limited our seawatching, but this gave us extra time to get a more intimate experience with the waterfowl staging for breeding grounds including a very confiding pair of Spectacled Eiders.</p> <p>Ethan Kistler reports:</p> 2022-06-20 15:32:14 Wings Staff Field Reports <p class="ydpc91fb1ebmsonospacing">The Minnesota and North Dakota tour went beyond expectations. We dodged most of the rain, had fantastic sightings, and an overall wonderful trip. On the warbler front, we tallied 25 species including the holy grail - Connecticut - along with Cerulean, Hooded, Mourning, and Golden-winged. Sparrows didn&rsquo;t disappoint either with our tally reaching 17 species including beauties such as Henslow&rsquo;s, LeConte&rsquo;s, Nelson&rsquo;s, and Baird&rsquo;s. The Northwoods provided point-blank views of a gorgeous pair of Great Gray Owls while the potholes and prairies region, after some much needed rain, was alive with vast numbers of waterfowl, grebes, and shorebirds along with some specials including Yellow Rail, Greater Prairie-Chicken, and Sprague&rsquo;s Pipit. It was the kind of trip you could always hope for!</p> <p class="ydpc91fb1ebmsonospacing"><img src="" alt="" width="591" height="443" /></p> <p>This American Bittern was right along a rural road in North Dakota. When we stopped, it immediately 'froze' hoping we didn't see it.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="591" height="443" />&nbsp;</p> <p>One of the first species we saw upon arriving at Sax-Zim Bog was this pair of Great Gray Owls, which perched conspicuously near the road allowing for extended views.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="591" height="443" />&nbsp;</p> <p>This Baird's Sparrow was already singing upon our arrival.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="591" height="443" />&nbsp;</p> <p>The gorgeous Nelson's Sparrow was very obliging for photos.</p> <p>John Muddeman reports from Spain:</p> 2022-05-17 13:45:01 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>We have just finished a 14-day, cross-Spain tour, traversing a wealth of bird and wildlife rich habitats and landscapes. This diversity guarantees excellent opportunities to see a fine selection of the most iconic birds in Iberia as well as sampling a little of its cuisine and even a couple of historic sites on the way. Indeed, over 230 bird species were recorded by the group, plus an unusually diverse number of mammals. The weather was just about perfect, if a touch hot at times, but following on the heels of an unusually cold and quite wet spring, this worked very much in our favor, especially in the lush north. We started in the Strait of Gibraltar, where European Honey Buzzards were arriving in droves and two of Europe's rarest birds, a Common bulbul and a small flourishing colony of Northern Bald Ibis were top of the bill. Moving westwards, the coastal salinas and wetlands came up trumps with dapper Slender-billed Gulls and a wealth of shorebirds, plus a few very special 'Iberian specials' in the form of displaying White-headed Ducks, discrete Marbled Ducks and feisty Red-knobbed Coots. The steppic birds in the huge plains of Extremadura delighted with European Roller, Great and Little Bustard, Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse amongst others, while two Eagle Owl chicks on their nest were a terrific sight! The central Gredos mountains didn't disappoint, with a gorgeous displaying male Bluethroat, plus (now sadly not so) Common Rock Thrush and our first smart male Red-backed Shrike, with the cities of &Aacute;vila and Segovia enjoyed briefly en route to fascinating paramo habitat. The weather in the Picos de Europa couldn't have been better for birding the high tops, with Alpine Choughs, Alpine Accentors, White-winged Snowfinches and two Wallcreepers to round-off a fabulous tour!<br /><img src="" alt="" width="418" height="627" /></p> <p>&nbsp;Tawny Owl</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>European Honey Buzzard </p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>Northern Bald Ibis</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>Curlew Sandpipers </p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>White-headed Duck</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>Black-winged Stilt </p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>Red-knobbed Coots</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>Short-toed Snake Eagle </p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>Black-bellied Sandgrouse</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>European Bee-eater </p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>European Roller</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>Cinereous Vulture </p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>Ortolan Bunting </p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>Group birding </p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>Middle Spotted Woodpecker &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>European Wildcat</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>Southern Chamois</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>White-winged Snowfinch</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>Alpine Accentor</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /></p> <p>Alpine Chough</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="627" height="418" /><br />Yellowhammer </p> <p>Gavin Bieber reports from Southeastern Arizona</p> 2022-05-17 10:20:57 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>The 2022 WINGS Spring Arizona tour combined a wealth of the namesake owls and warblers as well as several truly rare species among some of the best scenery on offer in the country.&nbsp; The spring of 2022 was warm and a lot of our lingering wintering birds and earlier migrant species had long since headed north before our tour dates.&nbsp; Despite the rather light presence of migrants, we very much enjoyed the week, tallying an impressive 208 species. &nbsp;Our avian highlights were many.&nbsp; Resident birds such Cactus Wrens, Acorn Woodpecker, Broad-billed Hummingbird, and Steller&rsquo;s Jay all showed very well.&nbsp; Summer migrants were in excellent form too, with particularly good views of Elegant Trogon, Blue-throated Mountain-Gem and Red-faced Warbler.&nbsp; This tour focuses on night-birding too, and among the three nightjars and seven species of owls we enjoyed this day-roosting Spotted Owl and a nocturnal encounter with Whiskered Screech-Owl.&nbsp; Perhaps the most unique thing this year was our very good luck with vagrant flycatchers. &nbsp;We started the trip with a successful journey into Happy Valley for a Nutting&rsquo;s Flycatcher, caught up with a cute Tufted Flycatcher in Rucker Canyon mid-tour, and then capped the trip off with a newly discovered Pine Flycatcher high up in the Catalinas.&nbsp; Not all the vagrants were Mexican in origin though, as we found this adult Laughing Gull in Willcox. As is always the case we found a host of non-birds as well, including odonates like Blue-eyed Darner and Gray Sanddragon, and a number of lizards including this bulky male Desert Spiny Lizard.&nbsp; All in all, just a fantastic week in the field!</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="900" height="600" /></p> <p>Cactus Wren</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="900" height="600" /></p> <p>Acorn Woodpecker</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="683" height="900" /></p> <p>Broad-billed Hummingbird</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="900" height="600" /></p> <p>Steller&rsquo;s Jay</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="770" height="900" /></p> <p>Elegant Trogon</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="436" /></p> <p>Blue-throated Mountain-Gem</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="900" height="530" /></p> <p>Red-faced Warbler&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="900" height="600" /></p> <p>Spotted Owl</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="392" /></p> <p>Whiskered Screech-Owl</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="744" height="900" /></p> <p>Nutting&rsquo;s Flycatcher</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="918" height="900" /></p> <p>Tufted Flycatcher in Rucker Canyon</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="900" height="677" /></p> <p>Pine Flycatcher in Catalinas</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="900" height="573" /></p> <p>adult Laughing Gull in Willcox</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="631" height="900" /></p> <p>Blue-eyed Darner</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="900" height="571" /></p> <p>Gray Sanddragon</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="900" height="600" /></p> <p>male Desert Spiny Lizard</p> Zambia 2021-10-25 10:37:16 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> The Solomon Islands 2020-09-23 16:36:25 Will Russell Recently updated tours The Solomon Islands are one of the few remaining places where one can well and truly get away from it all. Many of these islands support only tiny coastal villages where the main mode of transport is dugout canoe and where fishing on reefs by hand is commonplace. They are very much off the tourist map and, until recently, have been difficult and expensive for birders to reach, and the Solomons are worth reaching. The tour of these islands and the optional extension to the islands of the Western Province offer the opportunity to see more than 70 endemics and more than 20 near endemics (also found on other Melanesian islands), in addition to a large number of regional specialties.