Archive for the ‘Birds & Wildlife’ Category

Natural majesty

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What would get the Leica Birding Team up at the crack of dawn if not birds?!?… Read on to find out!

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Canopy Tower – Pure Panama Magic

Panama's Canopy Tower

Day one of the amazingly well-received Leica / Eagle Optics tour to Panama’s Canopy Tower. Athena makes 12 new friends and enjoys many new wildlife species along the way.

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My Big Sit

Leica Birding Team member Jennie Duberstein tells us how she passed the time when her Big Sit turned into a Big Flop.

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Birding at 15,000 Feet: A Colorado Chronicle

Western Kingbird digiscoped through Leica APO Televid spotting scope

The adventure began at the Denver airport baggage claim area, where I first met my fellow campers for 2014 Camp Colorado. The American Birding Association runs the camp, which is sponsored by Leica Sport Optics. After loading up the van we immediately found the first bird of trip, a Western Kingbird, in the airport parking lot.

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Wordless Wednesday

Scaled Quail, Eddy County, NM, 23 July 2014.  Photo © Bill Schmoker, Leica Birding Team.

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Dispatches From the Field: 2014 Camp Chiricahua

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Leica Birding Team member Jennie Duberstein is in the field in southeastern Arizona this week, co-leading Camp Chiricahua with Michael O’Brien and Louise Zemaitis.

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2nd ABA Record of Collared Plover in Texas

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Living in the Rio Grande Valley has its summertime perks, despite the 105 degree weather, as Tiffany Kersten explains. On August 2nd, Dan Jones found the second ABA record of Collared Plover. Read all about it!

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They’re not all gems! – a birding quiz.

another mystery bird shot

Sometimes bad bird photos (and I take a lot) can make for challenging identification. Try your luck & test your skill with this “Photo flub Challenge”!

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Who’s Your Mamma?

This male yellow warbler was feeding an angry brown-headed cowbird chick several times his size at Tinicum NWR in Pennsylvania.

Birds have all sorts of crazy antics and nesting behaviors—from multiple female anis who all lay all their eggs in the same nest and raise the chicks communally, to swallows who use nothing but mud and spit to build their nests, and more, but in my opinion, one of the most fascinating behaviors of all time belongs to a group of species called cowbirds, who leave the dirty work to over a hundred other species.

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Lesser and Common Nighthawks – wing shape and pattern

The pale (white here) bars across the primaries of Lesser Nighthawks are closer to the wingtip than on Common Nighthawks. On Lesser Nighthawks, the bar isolates a dark wingtip that approximates an equilateral triangle (three even-length sides) - the pale bar on a Common Nighthawk isolates a decidedly longer isosceles triangle of dark at the wingtip.

This photo primer discusses the ID of Lesser and Common Nighthawks in the field [and on the branch, and even in the air!]. While geography and a knowledge of status & distribution can get you pretty far with this species pair, it’s helpful to focus on wing shape and exact pattern in order to nail down an identification.

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“Get to da choppa!” Helibirding for science and style

Ammodramus sparrows were remarkably easy to see from the helicopter. Often, it was fairly straightforward to separate small, pale Saltmarsh Sparrows...

It’s hot, humid, and buggy – time to enliven your birding with a bit of a change in perspective. Join Leica Birding Team member Tom Johnson on a helicopter bird survey in New Jersey.

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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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Wordless Wednesday

Western Snowy Plover Nest, San Diego, California, Photo by Jennie Duberstein

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Wordless Wednesday

dusky-blue-hairstreak

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Tracking Vultures

Turkey Vulture close-up.

Join Birding Team member Jennie Duberstein as she heads into the field with researchers from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and Boise State University to tag Turkey and Black vultures in Arizona.

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