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Blog Birding #135

The glowing reviews of the Biggest Week in American Birding are still coming in, this time from Laura Kammermeier writing at the Nature Travel Network blog

As I was chatting with one of my colleagues, who was one of the braintrusts behind the eBird program, he asked where I was from. “Ohio,” I said.

“Ohio? Ever been to Magee Marsh and Crane Creek? That’s easily one of the top ten birding sites in all of the United States.” At the time, I was surprised. Being from northern Ohio and even vacationing in western Ohio quite often, I took my home state for granted.

We all agree climate change is a problem, but its impacts on a personal scale are often hard to grasp. Ted Eubanks of Birdspert considers sea level rise in the Caribbean but the lessons can be applied to the continent too:

Remember; I am limiting the focus to sea level rise. Climate change threats are more complex and wide ranging. Change in rainfall amount, temperature rise, storm intensification, atmospheric desiccation, and ocean acidification are additional concerns and impacts. For the purpose of this discussion, however, let’s limit the scope to SLR and its impacts on coastal birds.

Newfoundland birder Bruce Mactavish saw some cool things in Alberta, notable some breeding season interactions between shorebirds that are a bit more aggressive than what we see at our local marsh:

Near Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park I came across a watering hole built for cattle.  A handful of shorebirds came and went – Willets, Avocets, Marbled Godwits and Wilson’s Phalaropes.  I witnessed a particularly aggressive Willet fly in calling loudly and attack another Willet that had been feeding there for 15 minutes.  The first Willet stood its ground and would not be moved by the persistent aggressive antics of the new Willet. Maybe these two birds already had a history between them.  The Willet battle lasted nearly a minute before it was broken up by a Marbled Godwit.The original Willet won out and continued to feed while the aggressor flew off without feeding.

Oddly plumaged birds are one of the fascinating needles in the haystacks of our everyday birding. Alex Lamoreaux at The Nemesis Bird found a really interesting Whimbrel that’s worth a look:

Earlier today while out birding at the Magothy Bay Natural Area Preserve (eBird checklist) on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, I spotted a very pale blonde Whimbrel mixed with about 60 typical Whimbrel. The birds were distant but would occasionally fly between foraging locations which allowed me to get a few poor-quality flight shots showing the pale bird. I have never heard of a leucism in this species but a quick Google search came up with a few photos of an ‘Eurasian’ Whimbrel with even paler plumage than the bird I found.

We appreciate all the interest in the ABA’s 2013 Bird of the Year, intentional or not, so John Mark Simmons’  piece at Two Birders and Binoculars on Common Nighthawk facts is certainly timely:

Isn’t such a cool experience to see a flock of Nighthawks fly over? It certainly is for me. Whether you’re at the soccer field watching  them Hawk the bugs around the lights; or, just happen to witness the shadowy wings pass by your house, they are undeniably unique birds. Its almost an art; angling through the air with their razor sharp wings and catching insects with their tiny beaks.

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
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