:: NC trip spring 2015 ::
This gallery contains images from some birding along the drive from TN to the Outer Banks, but mostly is a showcase of what can be seen/photographed on Brian Patteson's Gulf Stream trips out of the Outer Banks. Galley is currently in progress....
:: India 2015 (Western Ghats) ::
:: Brazil (work) Trip 2014 ::
:: Interesting Dowitcher ::
I photographed this Dowitcher in Memphis, TN on 9/13/14. This adult has already completed the entire head/body molt, unable to get a good photo of the flight feathers, but they looked pretty fresh from what I could see. Adult Long-billed often complete this molt on the way south at stopover locations, but Short-billed are typically thought (I think) to not finish this molt til they reach the wintering grounds. Has anyone seen a full-basic known Short-billed in the interior like this?
This bird never vocalized, but responded visibly to Long-billed playback (raising its head from the sleeping position and looking around and up for about 30 seconds), with no response to Short-billed playback. This could have been a coincidence I understand. Some features could go either way on this bird. My personal thoughts:
1) In both photos I got in flight, lesser underwing coverts are unmarked white and contrast with rest of underwing.
2) No primary extension at all; found a photo which shows primaries falling just short of the tertials, they appear to be new with crisp fringing, which should make the bird a Long-billed.
3) When feeding, very fat "swallowed a grapefruit" look most of the time
4) At rest, body posture quite high, not more horizontal like typical of Short-billed (Short-billed is variable in this regard I know)
5) Heavy dark flank markings
6) Postscript: found additional photo which shows the tail well, with broad black bars
7) Not a feature I've always been able to use, but the supercilium shape looks great for Long-billed, very straight with slight angle from gape to eye, not strongly arched like Short-billed due to its eye being placed higher on the head.
1) Obvious whitish fringes on many coverts definitely more likely on fresh Short-billed (shown by basic Long-billed in very fresh plumage as well)
2) Breast not as uniformly dark as often seen in Long-billed,but still fairly uniform and with sharp contrast to white belly.
The bill could go either way to me, though obviously not a long-billed female Long-billed. The subtle kink is back up the bill a good bit, not right near the tip as typical of Short-billed. At times scaps seemed to have noticeably darker area in centers, but in some photos this doesn't come thru.
AFTER MANY COMMENTS, THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE AGREED THIS IS A LONG-BILLED, INCLUDING KEVIN KARLSON, AS EXPECTED IN THIS PLUMAGE.
:: Delta Wind Birds Shorebird ID day at Ensley ::
Spent several hours with a bunch of great folks today, shorebirding at the Pits! Doesn't get much better than that. Many lifers for people in attendance, though unfurtunately the Baird's I found didn't want to cooperate until after everyone had left. The guys with Delta Wind Birds ran a great program today, with excellent guys in the field as well as the indoor presentation.
:: West Coast birding, spring 2014 ::
This trip was planned around a Holland America Repositioning cruise from San Diego to Vancouver, accompanying Paul Lehman who was leading a WINGS tour on the cruise. This has proven by far the easiest way to see the 3 regularly occurring species of Pterodroma petrels off the west coast. I maximized the amount of time I took off, and had 5.5 days of birding in southern Cal before the cruise, and 4 days of birding in Washington state after the cruise before flying back home. Got an unexpected 8 lifer or ABA birds, to finally push thru the 700 mark in the ABA, to 704.
Lifers/ABA birds were:
Hawaiian Petrel (ABA)
Sky Lark (ABA)
Hermit Warbler (ABA)
Nutmeg Mannikin (ABA)
Photos of all but Hawaiian Petrel and Gray Partridge
:: Ecuador 2014 ::
Myself and four friends had a wonderful trip to Ecuador, with our time split between the Northwest for Choco endemics, and also some eastern slope birding finalized with a wonderful couple of days at Wild Sumaco. This trip and itinerary was put together by Partnership for International Birding (http://www.pibird.com/), and expertly led by Lelis Navarette, widely regarded as one of the finest guides in all of South America.