Blog Birding #121
by Nate Swick
Drew Weber of Nemesis Bird offers his round-up of the latest in birding apps for smartphones:
There is a constant flood of new apps available for iPhone, but it's less common that one of these apps is for birding. Recently there has been a bunch of new releases that birders might be interested in. Some may have been out for a while but I just happened across them now and found them interesting.
At 10,000 Birds, Carlos Sanchez shares some spectacular photos from the Anhinga Trail at Everglades National Park:
Every year from around January through the end of March, Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park comes alive as water levels throughout the park drop and force birds to concentrate around more permanent water sources. Well known to tourists who visit the trail by the thousands every year to see their first wild alligators, the site is generally passed off by the serious birder as having little potential of seeing something truly special — just close views of herons, egrets, and ibis. I challenge that false notion and welcome those to visit Anhinga Trail in late winter and see one of the great wildlife spectacles of Florida.
Birdchick Sharon Stiteler nails a long-time nemesis Boreal Owl in the wilds of northern Minnesota:
I can’t really do my Big Half Year fundraiser for the Friends of Sax Zim Bog without at least one trip to the bog. I knew I would get up there at some point this winter and I had made some plans with friends and then last week, things went a little nuts. A tiny owl called a boreal owl showed up in spades. One report from Chris Wood counted seven! Granted that this not on the scale with the great gray owl irruption of 2004/2005 but it’s significant none the less…especially since this is somewhat of a nemesis bird for me (a bird I always seem to miss). I finally got to the point of not even chasing one since every effort to do so ended up with the classic phrase, “Oh it was just hear yesterday (or 15 minutes ago)…
Is a decline in duck hunting causing a shortfall in conservation funds acquired via the duck stamp? Larry of The Birders Report investigates:
“The last 15 years have brought hunting opportunities not seen since the turn of the last century,” said Dr Mark Vrtiska from Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “The waterfowl population has passed 40 million six times since 1995, something only seen nine times since records began. These should be the glory days for duck hunting.”
However, in stark contrast, the annual sales of the ‘duck stamp’, the Federal licence needed to hunt, are declining. While over 2,100,000 stamps were sold annually in the 1970’s, between 2004 and 2008 this declined to 1,300,000. This fall is continuing with an annual decline of 36% in duck stamp sales.
At the ABA's young birder blog, The Eyrie, James Purcell recounts a fantastic experience with one of the southwest's most spectacular birds:
The entire group had just come back from a fantastic birding day on Paradise Road, Barfoot Mountain, and Onion Saddle, full of Red-faced Warblers, Pygmy Nuthatches, Mexican Chickadees, Scott’s Orioles, Virginia’s Warblers, Juniper Titmice, and so many other unique birds. Everyone was satisfied, except for one thought that penetrated each person’s mind. Paradise Road had been one of our best shots for Montezuma Quail on the trip, and today was our last day in the Chiricahuas. Everyone knew that, while still possible, our chances for getting this secretive denizen of the oak grasslands were greatly decreased after we left this mountain range.