Saturday, April 22, 2017

American Woodcock

From Magee Marsh today.  Weather not great for migration - gray and cold - new arrivals were held back.  Nevertheless, we found some sweet birds.

Waking up


Still preening


Giving the full American woodcock show.

Below:  A few other birds from the day.

Horned Grebe

Lots of Bald Eagles this day.

The final push for Hermit Thrushes.

Rusty Blackbirds were numerous.

Ruby-crowned Kinglets also numerous.

Above and two below:  Yellow-rumped Warblers were somewhat numerous. We also saw a few Palm Warblers and heard a Louisiana Waterthrush. I think this is the best time of year to see and hear yellow-rumped warblers.  They are so spiffy in their new plumage, their non-descript little trill is music to the ear, and they will be totally ignored when the other warblers begin to arrive.

Field mark for which it gets its frumpy name.

At Ottawa NWR white-crowned sparrows were behind the visitor center and in various stages of mounting into alternate plumage.  I thought April 22nd was early for these guys.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Duo-post: The good field guide and Darién trip favorites

In wrapping up my Darién trip blog entries, I'm left with one last post. My trip favorites ... and the good field guide question.

First, the good field guide question.

I should leave the good field guide question alone, but I was thinking about this during the trip and even after returning I continued to think about it.  The reason I think the question could be omitted is because if you asked 100 birders or other field trip attendees, "What are the characteristics of a good field guide?" I think you might receive 100 different answers.

Above and below:  Domi Alveo

Of course, the obvious is obvious.  Does the field guide know his or her subject matter - birds, butterflies, wildflowers, travel locations, the history of the art (as in the docent) for your art museum tour?  But just knowing the subject matter alone is not adequate.  Can the guide share that with the participants while also conveying his or her knowledge and enthusiasm to help the participants achieve their goals?  If the answer is yes I think the question is half answered.  These things are important.  But, to me the most important qualities of a good field guide are leadership skills and people management skills.  I doubt that many field guides attend leadership seminars.  I think the best guides have natural, built-in leadership and people management skills.  Domi had all of the above in spades, plus he was 100% of the time a pleasant person to spend a week with.

This question probably matters to me because of my work environment. Overall there is a dearth of leadership skills and people management skills.  I've also observed that when good leadership is absent, bullying and slacking thrive.  I'm not in a leadership position and I certainly do not have these skills.  I wish I did have such skills. Watching someone with leadership talent - whatever the work may be - is a thing of beauty.  I've been fortunate to be on many field trips with good guides, and for me the Darién trip may have been the icing on the cake.

Favorite trip memory

Possibly clichéd, but my favorite trip memory has to be the female Harpy Eagle with her chick on the nest.  This was very possibly the first and last time I'll ever see Harpy eagles - can't forget the male bird two days later.  I hope I described the day well - with all of its moving parts. The whole experience was, without a doubt, the most adventurous day of birding I have experienced to this point in my lifetime. 

Favorite bird photo

Golden-crowned Spadebill
Not my best photo, not even a good photo, but my favorite photo.  I was so pleased to get it.  Below:  my two second place choices.

Golden-collared Manakin doing that funny thing with his throat.

Also not a great photo, but one of my favorites - Nunbird.

Favorite video

I love bird vocalization so thank goodness that, when I could not get a photo, I thought of recording the Bare-crowned Antbird while he was singing.

Below:  I'll end my Darién reporting with three photos of the Embera women's weavings and allow these to speak for themselves.

Shallow plate.

Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata) mask.

Striped Owl (Pseudoscops clamator) mask.

 Twenty-two blog entries later, so ends the Darién edition of my 2017 Panama birding trip.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Belle Isle

This post covers Sunday (eBird checklist) before Easter and Easter Sunday (eBird checklist).

Brown Creeper

Above and below:  Eastern Phoebe in forsythia.

On the red-headed woodpecker trail, on the right side, I was surprised to see a Blanding's turtle.

Female American Robin

The only Fox Sparrow seen or heard all morning.

Easter Sunday female Red-wing Blackbirds

Above and below:  The elegant, little white trout lily (Erythronium albidum) was abundant.

Probably female first spring Red-bellied Woodpecker.

In a large puddle in the field just beyond the Maritime Museum, I was surprised to see a male Blue-winged Teal hanging out with a mallard pair.

Finally, I was able to get a shot of female Rusty Blackbird.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

My favorite dog

Darién Province is mostly poor and street dogs are everywhere and in various states of health and well-being - mostly very skinny. One, in particular, was my favorite.

On our red-billed scythebill morning as soon as we unloaded from the van I looked back to see two dogs racing up the road to check us out. One stopped with the police, but the one below remained with us. No doubt both were looking for handouts, which I didn't have.

He was in pretty good shape so he must have had success elsewhere along the way.

When we reloaded into our bush truck and continued along the road he followed us.  The bush truck picked up speed and, to keep up, he began to run.  The bush truck slowed and he had a brief respite.  He followed us all the way to the indigenous village where we saw the cattle tyrant and the red-breasted blackbird - at least 1.5 to 2 miles.  Probably to rest he stopped with some other dogs and we continued on.  That's when I lost him.

On the way out I looked for him but didn't see him.  One of these days, when I am no longer working 50 or 60 hours a week, I'll get another dog and I'll think of my favorite Panama dog.  

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The beauty of camouflage

Above and below:  Some kind of wood frog (?) flushed from the leaf litter.  This guy was a quite muscular compared with others we found.

Mostly these guys are tiny.

Above:  Can you find the same tiny frog?

Using a couple of tools that Apple Preview provides, I've highlighted the little frog above.

Above:  This one might be a little easier.

Above:  Definitely easier.

Above and below:  Super cute and trying unsuccessfully to hide but was momentarily caught in the wrong spot.