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Blog Birding #323

The annual Spring Blitz out of Hatteras, North Carolina, is one of the most exciting times of year for those who love seabirds. Peter Flood at Seabirding Blog writes up one of their recent, and very productive, trips.

At this point things were quite birdy with shearwaters, petrels and increasing numbers of storm-petrels attending Kate’s chum banquet off the stern.  Our second Pterodroma of the day in the form of a Fea’s Petrels tacked in towards the boat from the bow and made a nice close pass down the port side to inspect  our chum slick.  The Fea’s stayed in view for a couple of minutes showing well and providing long leisurely looks much to the delight of all on board.
At The Digiscoper, Mike McDowell celebrates the local breeding birds at his patch.
Bird migration continues to wind down. My last visit to the creek corridor yielded only a handful of wood warblers and few non-resident migratory birds. The Sun moves higher each day and the tree canopy has filled in. Though it remains astronomical spring by the position of the Earth relative to the Sun, in appearance and color the woods have taken on a more summery veneer. Thus, I decided to visit the prairie to see what grassland birds were present.
David Sarkozi’s near annual Big Years in Texas, provide a lot of memories, and some fabulous birds. At David’s Big Year he writes about recent trip to the Valley.
Back in the morning I posted myself on the high point. Lots of bird activity on the river, but mostly grackles. They seemed to fly back and forth across the river endlessly. Wait, there it is, a large black colored duck with white wing patches flies from the Mexican side to the US side. The look is brief but Muscovy Duck is Year Bird 471. I wait about a half hour more hoping for better look but pack it in at about 10 am.

Like so many species in North America, habitat degradation has been a real problem for the range-restricted Ridgway’s Rail. At Hakai Magazine, Sonlai Prasad looks at an innovative way to protect them.

In the Arrowhead Marsh, a 200,000-square-meter mire not even a kilometer from Oakland’s Oracle Arena, Overton and his colleagues installed 10 artificial islands—refuge habitats for the rails. Each island has a base slightly smaller than a twin bed made from recycled plastic and high-density foam. Sitting on the base is a frame woven through with palm leaves. The refuge is tethered to the marsh with rope, and affixed with a motion-sensing camera.

It looks like increased use of hummingbird feeders has contributed to the northward expansion of the Anna’s Hummingbird, according to Kat Long at Sierra Magazine.

Project FeederWatch data offered two crucial clues: a record of the birds’ presence and evidence of where humans were providing feeders. The Anna’s hummingbirds’ comfort with city living meant that there were a lot of sightings to work with as well. The team crunched data from more than 2,300 feeder sites in Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington (1,269 sites in the historical range and 1,037 in the expanded range), looking for patterns.

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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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