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Blog Birding #316

What happens with a neotropical migrant has a run-in with an intransigent bivalve? Donna Schulman at 10,000 Birds has the remarkable story.

Early evening I returned to the Nature Center. A group of newly arrived birders were searching for the Prothonotary, missing in action. Fortunately, Eric Miller and Lisa Scheppke, Queens birding colleagues, arrived and quickly re-located the bird near where it had been bathing earlier. I was across the cove by some fishermen (apparently, one could be on the rocks there) and could see the birders standing on the sidewalk, heads down, observing the warbler on the rocks. And, then I saw Eric scrambling down the rocks. And, a staff member from the Nature Center running out to tell him not to climb down those rocks! And, Eric saying something about rescuing a bird! What bird?

Traveling to distant destination in search of birds is undoubtedly fun, but every trip abraod teaches us something about birding closer to home as well, as Hugh Powell explains at All About Birds.

As I struggled to tell apalis from akalat, boubou from Brubru, I marveled at the skills of local birders who were totally at home in patches they’d birded for years. And after I made the long flight home, that’s what stuck with me from Uganda. Traveling as a birder is like being a kid and playing at your friend’s house, with a whole new set of toys. The time I spent with Uganda’s birds (and incredibly skilled birders) reminded me of how much there is to love about birding back home:

The well-known, well-documented, well-banded population of Piping PLovers around the Great Lakes offer opportunities not only to enjoy these personable little birds, but to learn a great deal about the lives of the individuals, as Josh Vandermuelen explores at Ontario Birds and Herping.

Like most Piping Plovers we see on the Great Lakes, this individual was banded. Piping Plover is an Endangered species in Ontario, largely due to the fact that this species’ preferred breeding habitats, sandy beaches, also happen to be quite popular with humans. Groomed beaches lack the necessary cover and hiding places to protect nests and young plovers from predators, while human foot traffic and off-road vehicle use also has a demonstrable impact. Fortunately, Piping Plover numbers appear to be on the rebound in southern Ontario and elsewhere in the Great Lakes, in no small part due to direct conservation actions.

Interested in tackling the frustratingly similar American and Fish Crows? Branden Holden of Peregrine Prints shares some thoughts and strategies.

This bird, and the previous (first set of five) were a flock of five crows that flew past… I managed to get a series of two only… This bird spreads out a bit more, and I’m inclined to say the same features apply regarding the primaries (P5 looks more like P4 than it does P6 – aka not a finger)… The wing spread is a little better in trying to say that P9 is roughly equal to P5, although you can see that each wing looks a bit different, highlighting how awful this is to try with photographs..

Finding a first record is always exciting. Alvan Buckley of Birding with Buckley discusses the recent finding of a Yellow-billed Loon in Newfoundland and the conditions that precipitated it.

An unprecedented movement of pack ice occurred over the preceding couple weeks associated with two massive low pressure systems. These weather systems pushed ice towards the Avalon at break-neck speed. On March 29th, Ed reported thick pack ice off the Northeastern tip of the Avalon. By the next day it was all the way down past Cape Spear and two days later it was well past Cape Race. Then the winds switched and all that pack ice South of the Avalon got driven up against the Southern coast of the Avalon: an event I certainly have never seen, and hasn’t happened for decades!!
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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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