Great bird blogging this week on northern Delaware, bad bird photos, small birding moments, Ibis taxonomy and a celebrity rehab patient.
The big news at the ABA has to do with the impending move to northern Delaware. Alan Kneidel at Thermal Birding shares some of the exciting birding opportunities to be had by staff and visitors there:
It’s right around September that the lines get drawn in Delaware. For the past month and half you’ve been driving to Kent and Sussex counties to scour mudflats, impoundments, and potato fields. Maybe you’ve taken a break and looked for roosting terns at Prime Hook and Port Mahon. You’ve seen an amazing array of birds – grass-pipers, golden-plovers, pelicans, and ibis. Your car is covered in a fine layer of gravel dust, your legs have bloody red smears on them, and you still haven’t seen a Curlew Sandpiper. You’ve had a great time but it’s starting to get a bit repetitive.
Maybe its time for a change of scenery, you think.
David La Puma at Leica has been busy finding new and exciting locales for Travis the Traveling Trinovid to explore, but it’s the quiet moments that he appreciates the most:
Corinna and I visited two locations where I had up to six singing males in the spring, and searched the habitat for any sign of remaining birds. Eastern Towhees called in the scrubby pines, Chipping Sparrows continued to sing as they did in the spring, and distant Common Nighthawks could be heard giving their “beep!” call. After an hour of searching I had very little hope of finding the species and Corinna was beginning to get hot as the sun warmed the dry and open sandy landscape. She decided she’d rather make some houses for fairies, and how could I object?
Any birder who carries around a camera knows that the bad photos always outnumber the good ones, but sometimes the ones that get away have some value as well, as Jeff Cooper writing at Birding is Fun discovers:
I love capturing and sharing images of birds and other creatures. I typically share only my favorites unless the image is meant purely for functional purposes such as providing proof of a rare bird. However, this post will be the exception to my rule. In other words, these are images that would have been really awesome had I been better prepared, had better equipment, lighting, timing, etc. I’ll probably kill any chance I had for being published in National Geographic once this post gets out. What follows are images that could have been.
We know Ibises and Spoonbills are pretty close relatives, but exactly how close was unknown until more recently. David Ringer at 10,000 Birds explains:
A new study out on the spoonbills and ibises confirms what a handful of others have indicated over the years: There are two branches in the ibis-spoonbill family, but the division is not between the curve-bills and the paddle-bills (Molecular phylogeny of Threskiornithidae (Aves: Pelecaniformes) based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA).
Instead, the division — which the authors Ramirez et al. hypothesize originated during the breakup of Gondwana — lies between an “endemic New World clade” and a “widespread clade,” with the spoonbills nested in the “widespread clade” near the Old World Threskiornis ibises.
Blue-footed Boobies are all over California, not just on the coast but turning up in rehab facilities as well. Kelly Berry at the International Bird Rescue blog shares the tail of one such celebrity.
If you’ve been following the news in California, you likely know that the region is in early stages of Blue-footed Booby fever.
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reported on a recent “invasion” by Blue-footed Boobies that have been spotted up and down the California coast. One bird was even found in an L.A. neighborhood miles from shore and brought to International Bird Rescue’s center in the San Pedro neighborhood.