Blog Birding #96
by Nate Swick
Mike, at 10,000 Birds, finally goes all-in for eBird, but finds it's not so easy:
However, the gargantuan task of exporting my unwieldy list grew no less daunting just because I was finally excited about eBird. In fact, experience proved that the process is actually way more cumbersome and time-consuming than it should be. The agony of eBird is the tremendous barrier to entry to switch over from another format.
David Sibley starts a series on cyrptic species identification, complete with lovely illustrations. Take a look at his waterthrush work:
The issue for identification is that a significant minority of Northerns appear bright white on those parts, and on those birds you must look for other details to confirm the identification. The converse (Louisiana appearing yellowish) never happens. Louisiana usually shows buff on the flanks, which can be fairly prominent. If that is the only part seen it could lead to an impression of yellowish underparts, but the breast, throat, and eyebrow are always clean white.
Dave Dolan, writing at North American Birding, shares his tale of twitching the south's rarity du jour, the Little Rock Brown Booby:
This bird has been returning to the dock to listen to the country music being played by the owner, Scott, an Aggie who has actually put his house on the market to move back to Texas. Anyways, the Booby is not effected by people. He flies around and returns to roost despite the dock being populated by birders. He was very calm when I saw him and didn’t even pay attention to us while I was there. I have a feeling he may stick around for a while.
Rick Wright of Birding New Jersey (and ocassionally of here), offers the definitive treatise on the fascinating etymology of the Louisiana Egret... er, Louisiana Heron... er, Tricolored Heron:
This pretty little Tricolored Heron juvenile has been one of the stars of the show at Dekorte Park recently. Still common enough twenty years ago in New Jersey’s southern marshes, the species is declining rapidly in the state; Bill Boyle’s fine new S&D book reports barely three dozen birds in five colonies in 2009, while just ten years earlier Walsh et al. could still call it “fairly common” and “increasing” after its arrival as a breeding bird in 1948. In spite of this elegant bird’s propensity to show up, and even to nest, far north and inland of its usual breeding range, it’s never been anything but rare away from the coast in New Jersey, and this one has no doubt enriched many a Bergen County list since it arrived ten days ago.
A young birder event at Cornell recently attracted lots of rising birding talent, at Round Robin get a first-hand look at how it all went down:
Standing at the edge of a scrubby patch of trees, Chris Wood was coaxing a rarity into view. The small bird, hidden by leaves and branches, chipped enthusiastically as it moved. Here and there I saw a leaf twitch or a twig shake as it made its way closer. Two adults and 10 teenagers waited, many of us hoping to get a glimpse of a life bird—a bird we’d never seen before.