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Jeff Bouton (33)

Jeff Bouton has worked as a birding professional his entire adult life. Starting as a bird bander in his mid teens and chasing a long string of seasonal field research positions all over the United States for the next decade. Following this he worked as a professional bird tour guide mostly in Alaska, before relocating to Florida.

He has published hundreds of images, written dozens of articles for major birding magazines, and co-authored three birding books over the years. He started working with Leica as a birding specialist 12 years ago and is currently the manager of the Birding / Nature Markets in North America appearing at birding events across the globe.

OCT 13

Dia de Halcón, the Day of the Falcon

October 10th has become a red letter day on my annual calendar each year. The “Day of the Falcon” or “Dia de Halcón” en Espanõl has become my own personal, special little holiday. I’m not certain if anyone else holds this day dear in their heart, or even recognizes it as anything special, but for me it is. No matter where in the world I am on that day. I’ll note that date and think, “oh man… today’s the day!” Over the past decade, 10/10 has emerged statistically, as the single best day for Peregrine Falcon sightings through the Florida Keys. Since the year 2000, a…

OCT 07

Snail Kite fiesta

It had been a full week since Hurricane Irma slid up the gulf coast of Florida, reeking “Irmageddon” on the peninsula. Honestly though, we’d been lucky in my area. Cuba and other Caribbean Islands, the Florida Keys and even Naples had taken much harder hits, and the damage in my area was comparatively insignificant.

SEP 19

A Conversation with Richard Crossley

Richard Crossley was born in Yorkshire, UK and found his way to Cape May, NJ as a young man. His love for birds and the fabled migration at Cape May were such a perfect match, that he has spent all of his adult life living here ever since. Richard is the author of the unique Crossley ID Guides and co-author of the wonderful “The Shorebird Guide” with fellow Cape May residents, Michael O’Brien & Kevin Karlson. In March 2017, Richard joined the Leica / Cape May Bird Observatory “American Dippers” team in the Champions of the Flyway bird race in Israel. Recently we had a…

JUL 13

Exploring the Mangroves by Kayak

  In the summer months I’m finally home long enough that I can turn to one of the things that drew me to southwest Florida in the first place. The amazing mangrove lined edges and serpentine waterways that surround Charlotte Harbor. This unique habitat is a variable labyrinth of narrow winding streams cutting through the dense stands of mangroves that are often only navigable by a small kayak or canoe. The maneuverability of these crafts allow you to wind through the narrowest of passages to find larger shallow bays hidden by the mangroves. It’s great fun winding through these trails, silently gliding along the tangled roots…

JUN 22

The Caribbean Express of 2017!

  The first sign that something unusual was happening was when Smooth-billed Ani reports started popping up all over the state of Florida in late fall 2016.

Training with Florida Specialties

Last week one of my colleagues, Catlin Brewer, was in the area for work and we made a plan to spend a couple hours training on digiscoping & wildlife photographic techniques with the Leica equipment.

A Tropical Treat

“You’re going to do what?… You guys are insane!” That was my response when my buddy Brant Julius told me he and friend Jeff Fisher were planning on leaving at 10 PM Friday night and driving through the night to arrive at sunrise. It was madness… but it was also an insanely beautiful & rare bird they were going to chase.

Digiscoping experiments with Huawei Mate 9 smartphone

The new Huawei, Mate 9 smartphone features dual lenses co-engineered by Leica. One lens shoots in color and the other in stunning 20 mp monochrome. I got to briefly experiment with the Mate 9 mounted to a Leica APO Televid spotting scope at the Leica Store Los Angeles back in February and knew it had great potential for digiscoping and couldn’t wait for a more thorough field test.   In color:   Dredged in mud!       Monochrome Lens: Lesser Yellowlegs in monochrome   American Alligator hangs out with the waders!   Green Heron in the reeds!   Wood Stork…

Extended Seasons

A personal awareness of one’s natural surroundings can provide daily discoveries, wonder, and even stir the soul. It also makes one keenly aware of the natural seasons. Even though the official “first day of spring” on the calendar is listed as March 20th, “spring” from a birding perspective is defined differently as it relates to a specific set of behaviors shown by the animals that surround us. Since these birds  may migrate from distant points even birds within the same area may show entirely different cycles at the same time of year.

Putting the Noctivids to the test!

I got my first experience to enjoy the view through the new Leica Noctivid binocular at the British Birdwatching Fair in Rutland Waters, UK this past August. While I immediately appreciated the insanely vivid image, unmatched depth of field, and fast focus, I was really looking forward to giving them a proper test in the field searching for birds. Following the fair, bird book author, colleague and friend Bill Thompson III from Bird Watcher’s Digest magazine joined me for a few days in Wetzlar, Germany (home of the world headquarters of Leica Camera, AG). With Noctivids in hand, Bill and I…