Archive for the ‘Birds & Wildlife’ Category

Wordless Wednesday

Black-and-white Warbler at Sweetwater Wetlands, Tucson, Arizona. Photo by Jennie Duberstein.

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Year at the Lake

American Avocet, September 7

From patch birding to big years, join Mike Lanzone on his big year in Somerset County Pennsylvania!

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How to Use a Field Guide Part 2b: Size Matters – But Use With Caution

Fig 2. Sooty Shearwater has the heavy body and narrow wings (high wing-loading) to arc high in strong winds.

Master of birding fieldcraft, Steve N.G. Howell, continues his “How to Use a Field Guide” series with this final installment on how to use weight (or mass) measurements effectively when thinking about the relative size of birds in the field.

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How to Use a Field Guide Part 2a: Size matters, but use with caution

This Least Sandpiper looks pretty bloody small compared to the Dunlins it is with, so how would you compare the “sizes” of these two species?

Master of birding fieldcraft, Steve N.G. Howell, continues his “How to Use a Field Guide” series with this installment on how to use size effectively when identifying birds in the field.

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Bird Eye-dentification

# 13

Ultraviolet light reception, a third “eyelid”– the nictitating membrane– irises that span nearly all the colors of the rainbow, immobile eyeballs and more! Bird’s eyes are pretty rad. Watching close-range birds through her 65 mm Leica Televid has given ProStaffer Tiffany Kersten a new appreciation for bird eyes. How will you fare on this pixel-riffic bird quiz?

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Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatch Season-in-Review

An Osprey glances down at the hawkwatchers as it passes over the Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatch.

The record-shattering 8th season at the Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatch came to a close on May 15th. And we sure did go out with a bang! Continue reading Derek Lovitch’s report from this great season…

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How did Steve Howell and the Sunbird-WINGS team do during the Word Birding Rally in Peru?

our team (left to right, Rich Hoyer, captain; Gustavo Bautista, local guide; Paul French; Jake Mohlman; and yours truly) with the fine Marvelous Spatuletail trophy (yes we saw a male of this amazing hummer!)

Leica Birding Team’s Steve Howell was part of the Sunbird-WINGS team for the recent World Birding Rally in Peru – 8 days and nights of grueling travel, from the Pacific coast over the Andes, through the Marañon Valley, and down to the Amazonian lowlands. How did his team fare? Read on to find out!

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How to Use a Field Guide Part 1: Remember the “guide” part of Field Guide

Bolinas, CA

In this multipart series Steve Howell takes us through “how to use a field guide”, or more accurately, how to maximize your effective use of a field guide to get the most bang for your buck.

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The Siberian Express in Yolo County, California

Common Ringed Plover 11Sb

Join Leica Birding Team’s John Sterling as he takes you on an adventure to meet the Siberian birds that have been found in Yolo County, California.

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Steve Howell embarks on another World Birding Rally in Peru!

Galapagos Albatross Callao pelagic, Peru (78 of 157)

Leica team member Steve Howell is back in Peru for another World Birding Rally, as part of the Sunbird-WINGS team (the rally can be followed at Last year it was in southern Peru, where Steve’s team fought a close race to come second with 455 species to the winning team’s 457!

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Leica in the Pacific Island jungles….

One of the few “published” images of Vanuatu Petrel (Pterodroma occulta), described to science in 2001, but perhaps not safely separable at sea from White-necked Petrel (P. cervicalis). Off Vanua Levu, Vanuatu, 26 April 2014.

Steve Howell has just returned from leading a WINGS cruise for 4 weeks from New Zealand to Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands. He sent us this virtual postcard and we wanted to share it with you.

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Leica Stories: Jack Whetstone


It’s not every day that you see someone riding a camel with Leicas around his neck. But Jack Whetstone is not your average birder. Biologist, bird bander, sculptor, artist, musician, mayoral candidate, and all-around handy man, he is truly a Jack-of all trades. Leica Birding Team member Jennie Duberstein caught up with him recently to reminisce.

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Godwit Days pelagic with Athena the Wandering Ultravid

Black-footed Albatross. One of the 15 we say today = Athena lifer!

The North Coast of California is a special place full of special people with local birding that ranges from good to epic. The Godwit Days bird festival in Arcata California exemplifies the North Coast vibe, and of the birding tribe, Rob Fowler (owner and operator of Fowlerope Birding Tours – is the finest of specimens. Join Rob has he takes Athena on her first pelagic birding adventure offshore of Humboldt Bay, California in this dispatch from the field.

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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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Thrasher Quest


Leica Birding Team member Bill Schmoker finds that the fabled Trasher Spot in Maricopa County Arizona doesn’t disappoint!

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