Blog Birding #29
by Nate Swick
A great series of photos allowing a Close Look at How Egrets Eat Crawdads from Steve Creek Outdoors:
When the Great Egret catches a Crawdad I notice that it moves it around in its beak making sure it is crushing every part of it.
Anna from The Nemesis bird is doing field work with Long-billed Curlews and brings us a season update with some nice photos:
So, two weeks ago, two of our co-workers found our first curlew nest on a hillside by watching a female simply walk to it. It was a warm day, so chances are good that the female got off because of the higher temperatures. The 4 eggs were laid about 10 days earlier. This is already a VERY lucky nest, not only because it is our first one, but because it was nearly destroyed by a dirt bike. Yesterday, while observing the nest from a distance, we noticed a dirt bike track that looked like it went right over the nest. Somehow, the female was still on it, indicating that it hadn’t completely obliterated the 4 eggs.
Here's a first hand account of the Illinois Cassin's Sparrow from North American Birding Blog's Greg Neise:
Sometimes when you find a rare bird, it’s a “WOW!” experience. You’re driving on a country road watching the wires for Blue Grosbeaks and suddenly, as you come around a turn, there’s a Fork-tailed Flycatcher sallying out for a butterfly by the side of the road.
Sometimes the experience is more like, “…huh.” Followed by, “WHOA!”
A lyrical post about migration on Lake Erie from Bryan at The Daily Wing, When it Rains Birds:
Ah, the vernal desire, the explosion of insects, the eruption of flowers, the struggle for existence, the great rush north of migrating birds. Nowhere is it more dramatic than along the shores of Lake Erie.
Yeah, Lake Erie, not far from Detroit and Toledo. Here warblers pour from the skies like manna from Heaven. Shorebirds pile up and pound mud like sewing machines on their great journey to the Arctic. Rare birds – I mean really rare stuff – are hardly rare here; they are to be expected.
New Jersey has a new Guide to Status and Distribution recenty published, the first review of which I've seen comes from Rick Ditch's Photography Blog:
I was seduced by birds when I moved to New Jersey from Pennsylvania in 1970, and I learned my birds and developed my skills as a birder in the woods and on the coastal plane there. One of my prized resources at the time was a wonderful little 60 page booklet from the Summit Nature Club titled New Jersey Field Trip Guide, edited by William J. Boyle, Jr. That was replaced in my collection of “must have along” references in 1986 by the publication of A Guide to Bird Finding in New Jersey by William J. Boyle, Jr. At just over 500 pages Boyle was able to greatly expand the coverage of the little Summit Guide with more locations, more maps, and more information. This guide included an Annotated Checklist to the birds that was helpful for understanding migration and nesting times. A bonus: the cover and interior artwork are B&W drawings by David Sibley.
Utah Birding Blog offers a cool look at Evening Grosbeak call types, recorded and interpreted by Ryan O'Donnell.
Like Red Crossbills and Pine Grosbeaks, Evening Grosbeaks (Coccothraustes vespertinus) have been described as having distinct call types that vary geographically (Sewall et al. 2004). These distinct call types also correspond approximately with subspecies that have been described based on morphology. Because of these distinct call types which correlate to geography and morphology, it has been suggested that Evening Grosbeaks may be in need of further taxonomic work, that is, that they may be candidates for future splitting.