Posts Tagged ‘Leica Birding’

Snowy Showoff: Bill-vibrating behavior

SNEG_DelMarCA_11Oct2014_Schmoker

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 39th Western Field Ornithologists Conference in San Diego, California. Among the wonderful places I birded was the San Dieguito River Estuary in Del Mar. Its banks and mud bars hosted a pleasing variety of shorebirds (Pacific Golden-Plover, anyone?), and landscaped properties bordering the river teemed with bird life. But I think my personal highlight of the stop was a Snowy Egret engaged in a behavior I’d never seen before. It was out in shallow water, facing in the direction of a light current moving inland with the rising tide. The bird was crouched horizontally, holding its bill in the surface of the water burbling away like a kid about to be rebuked for blowing bubbles in their chocolate milk.

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Dispatches from Camp Colorado: Day 1

2014 Camp Colorado participants enjoy the view over North Saint Vrain Creek in Wild Basin, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Hi folks- Bill Schmoker checking in here from the American Birding Association’s Camp Colorado at the YMCA of the Rockies in beautiful Estes Park, right on the border of Rocky Mountain National Park. I can see the 14,259-foot summit of Long’s Peak out my dorm window and have 21 eager and talented middle- & high-school kids in the adjoining rooms resting up after a fantastic first day of camp.

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Birding Where There Are No Birds

Ahu tongariki, Easter Island [Alvaro Jaramillo]

Well, that is the common understanding of the “navel of the earth” as the locals used to refer to one of the most isolated islands on earth, Easter Island or Rapa Nui. The perception is that human induced ecological collapse left a wasteland, a place empty of wildlife but full of archaeological riches. There are nuances, and new information about the ecological collapse idea, particularly that the co-culprit in the extinction of the local trees was the introduced Polynesian Rat, but that is another story. So how is it that a place that is empty of wildlife can become one of my favorite to use my Leicas in the world? Because it is magic!

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