Archive for March, 2014

Braddock Bay Hawkwatch: Tales from the platform

Braddock Bay Hawkwatch © Luke Tiller

This year Leica Sport Optics is sponsoring two spring hawk watches in North America. This second article on hawkwatching by Luke Tiller looks at the storied history of Braddock Bay Hawkwatch and Braddock Bay Raptor Research, an organization that a young Jeff Bouton cut his teeth with. This history of this site in Western New York takes us from an era when people sadly used migrant hawks for target practice through to their recording of the largest single day Spring record for migrant raptors in US and Canadian hawkwatching history. We’re excited to read about Luke and the teams adventures at Braddock Bay Hawkwatch this season.

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The Bradbury Mtn. Hawkwatch Gets Started with a Bang!

Winter still holds Maine in its icy grip, but at Bradbury Mountain, spring hawk migration is well underway,

This year Leica Sport Optics is sponsoring two spring hawk watches in North America. The first is the Bradbury Mountain hawk watch in Pownal, Maine started seven years ago by Derek and Jeanette Lovitch owners and operators of Freeport Wild Bird Supply in Freeport, Maine. In this piece Derek gives us the skinny on one of the newest hawk watches to enter the national scene. We can’t wait to hear about the great winged creatures counted at Bradbury Mountain this year!

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Wordless Wednesday


How many Buff-breasted Flycatchers can you spot in this picture? It was taken during VENT’s Camp Chiricahua, which Leica co-sponsors, in August 2013 in Portal, Arizona.

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ID-Tip Tuesday: Sorting through gulls, Little by Little

adult Little Gull. Villas, Cape May Co., New Jersey. March 2014.

Ace birder and newest member to the Leica Birding Team, Tom Johnson, kicks it up a notch with this ID-Tip Tuesday foray into small gulls.

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Leica Birding Team: J. Drew Lanham

Camo-ed up and representin' Clemson for the Christmas Bird Count!

Leica Birding Team members all have crazy schedules and often find it hard to pin each other down. Alvaro Jaramillo and J. Drew Lanham caught up with each other in the airport, albeit two different airports in two different countries! Oh the beauty of the internet. Here you can get a bit more insight into the man who is J. Drew Lanham.

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Weekend Rendezvous: Southeast Arizona

Flock of Sandhill Cranes, Whitewater Draw WMA

Tiffany Kersten takes us on a bird-filled adventure in this great travelogue from Southeast Arizona. Warning: reading this might cause you to spontaneously book a birding excursion (and we wouldn’t blame you)

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Leica Birding Team: Jennie Duberstein

Jennie hiking at Marshall Gulch in the Catalinas, Tucson, Arizona, 2011

Everyone has at least one of those friends who seem to do just about everything, which isn’t necessarily always a good thing (“Jack of all trades, master of none” comes to mind). Then once in a while someone comes along who does just about everything and yet nails it every time. Jennie Duberstein falls squarely into the latter group. Read on as fellow teammate Tiffany Kersten writes about Jennie’s work and accomplishments, and highlights why we are so excited to have her as part of the Leica Birding Team.

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Wordless Wednesday


Young birders joined by David La Puma, Jeff Gordon, Bill Stewart, and Glenn Davis at Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware during the 2014 American Birding Association Camp Avocet. Photo by Bill Schmoker, Leica Birding Team

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Athena in The Bog Part 2: Hanging with Erik Bruhnke

Athena meets the bog

The Duluth, MN birding community is a tight nit one to be certain. There are a number of excellent birders who guide visitors into the Sax-Zim bog, and our guest blogger here is one of them. Erik Bruhnke, owner and operator of Naturally Avian tours, took Athena for a few-day spin into Sax-Zim bog right after the Sax-Zim birding festival. Initially I (David La Puma) was going to write about my experience with Athena in the bog, but once Erik got ahold of her I knew only he could do her justice… especially given Erik’s keen eye for a fabulous photo! Come read on about Erik’s time with Athena in one of my favorite birding destinations.

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Leica Birding Team: Doug Gochfeld

Simply irresistible

Leica Birding Team’s Bill Schmoker sat down with teammate Doug Gochfeld and asked him a bit about his birding experience. Read on to hear what Doug had to say.

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Leica Birding Team: Rafael Galvez

Rafael counting hawks at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch

Jennie Duberstein first met Rafael Galvez when they got to lead a trip together at the 2013 Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, and was immediately taken by his soft-spoken expertise and stellar teaching skills. She recently had the chance to talk with him about how he first became interested in birds, his connection to Leica, and what he does when he’s not birding. Read on to learn all about Leica Birding Team member Rafael Galvez.

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Wordless Wednesday

© Bill Schmoker, Leica Birding Team

Adult Bald Eagle surveying its domain beneath Longs Peak in Boulder County, Colorado, 2 Feb. 2014. Photo by Bill Schmoker, Leica Birding Team.

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Leica Stories: Matt Daw


If the name “Matt Daw” rings a bell, it is likely because he was behind the unbelievable video capture of the first ABA-area record of Rufous-necked Wood-Rail in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in July 2013. But before he gained international fame as the videographer of a photo bombing marshbird, Matt was the 2006 ABA Young Birder of the Year and has been involved with birding and bird conservation for a number of years. Leica Birding Team member Jennie Duberstein caught up with him recently to find out what he’s been up to lately.

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An Inside Look at the Winter Vacations of Shorebirds: Brazil-Part 1

Looking for flagged Semipalmated Sandpipers in the evening as the birds are concentrated around the shrinking mudflats by the rising tide. The boat farther away is The Universo, where we lived, while the closer boat is a local fishing boat taking a rest on the sandbar.

Most people rarely give thought to what “our” North American birds are doing once they’ve migrated south out of the continent, but what they do and how they get there can be truly fascinating (and extraordinary, making multi-day over water flights without stopping).
Doug Gochfeld has been fortunate enough to study them on the wintering grounds for the last few years, and here provides an enlightening look into some of the research that is currently being done on these remarkable birds.

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Suet Piranhas

Bushtits raiding the suet, Longmont, CO  February 2014.  Photo by Bill Schmoker, Leica Birding Team

For most of the winter I’ve been enjoying the hit-and-run tactics of a Bushtit flock in my Longmont, Colorado back yard. Up to about 15 of the wee long-tailed fuzz balls will make a raid on my home-made suet in the morning, attacking it with fierce gusto like a school of suet piranhas.

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