Champions of the Flyway 2015

The Mediterranean is a danger zone for millions of migratory birds that pass the region on their travels to and from Africa — twice every year. Malta is an infamous example of the hazards these birds face by hunters and poachers, but the island of Cyprus is a hotspot for those illegal activities too. The magnitude of illegal hunting on this Mediterranean Island is staggering. Hundreds of thousands of birds from all groups and families are killed there every migration season. BirdLife Cyprus staff are currently working hard to bring about lasting change but with illegal killing still increasing and conservation resources…

Colorful or Cryptic?

From California to Mexico, Leica team member Steve Howell has recently been contemplating the beauty and plumage patterns of some ‘colorful’ birds… We all know about nightjars and bitterns having cryptic plumage, even green parrots in green trees. But some other species, when seen in a field guide, don’t seem like they’d be cryptic. There’s a reason the Western Sibley Guide has Varied Thrush on the cover – it’s a strikingly marked species that everyone wants to see. How could you overlook such a bird? And how about a male Elegant Trogon? That’s one of the most colorful and sought-after…

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in Three Painful Steps

When you live in Ontario Canada, you see lots of Black-crowned Night-Herons. I’ve seen so many individuals over the years I couldn’t begin to try giving you a number here. What I remember most about them is the bird next to it in my old Golden Field Guide to Birds of North America, the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (YCNH). Oh how I wanted to see that bird. I’ve spent my entire life wanting to find one. Then, this summer, a juvenile shows up near Toronto and I have to see it. This short story is about my first YCNH encounter. I was…

MAR
2015
04

Professor Dr. Ralph Tollrian: Taking Leica Sport Optics to the Field

In Egypt 2011 the political system was changing, but the people were friendly as ever. Twenty-five students from the Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany traveled the Sinai from the mountains to the coral reefs to study Ecology and Biodiversity of the diverse ecosystems. They visited the Ras Mohammed national park, St. Catherine protectorate in the Sinai Mountains and Nabq, the northern most mangrove ecosystem. In contact with the local Bedouin tribes, they learned about tradition and culture. The combination of these aspects makes the excursion a unique experience and their reliable, constant companion was the equipment of Leica Sport Optics. We…

MAR
2015
02

The Central Coast of Australia NSW- A Birder’s Paradise

The Central Coast of Australia is a one and one half hour drive or train ride north of Sydney so it is an easy day trip for the visiting birdwatcher. It encompasses the local government areas of Gosford and Wyong. For the keen birder, it provides a wide variety of habits with about 420 species being recorded here. A day’s birding is likely to yield in excess of 100 species. There is a very active birding community here with a monthly meeting and two field trips scheduled every month. RTA   Reserve Ourimbah The RTA Reserve was acquired as farmland when…

FEB
2015
25

Gyrfalcon Invasion

As many people are aware, starting with the winter of 2012/2013, Snowy Owls staged a dramatic and widespread invasion into southern Canada and the northeastern United States, with the biggest numbers being from December to February. Gyrfalcons, the other massive arctic raptor, also pushed further south and in larger numbers than usual that winter. Sightings of these almost mythical falcons jumped from average winter counts of about four Gyrfalcons reported east of the Dakotas to a shocking fifteen birds! January to February 2014 had nineteen Gyrfalcon sightings across the same range, also coinciding with higher-than-average Snowy Owl numbers. Winter 2015 is off to a…

FEB
2015
23

Chasing Noah

Noah Strycker is an enthusiastic birder, a great writer, and is presently on the adventure of a lifetime! For many years he penned a featured column in WildBird magazine and was affectionately referred to as “BirdBoy”. He has long since outgrown that nickname, and currently works as an Associate Editor of “Birding” magazine (ABA). His prolific writing portfolio contains over 75 other articles for various birding & wildlife magazines and he has penned two books as well: “The Thing With Feathers” and “Among Penguins“. Since the stroke of Midnight on January 1st, 2015, Noah has been on an amazing journey which will carry him to…

FEB
2015
20

Kimberley Birdwatching’s Ashmore Expedition October 2014 Summary

The 2014 annual Spring eight-day Broome-Ashmore-Lacepedes-Broome expedition through Queensland, Australia, organized by George Swann of Kimberley Birdwatching (KBW), ran from October 20 – 27, 2014. The birding personnel were Tim Faulkner, Liz Faulkner, Rob Gibbons, Ian Halliday, Brian Johnston, Peter Madvig, Wayne Merrit, Scott Ryan, Jenny Spry, John Weigel, George Swann & Mike Carter. The following details about this expedition were written by Mike Carter and George Swann. Trip Details We sailed from Town Beach at Broome on 20 October (Day 1) at 08.40 and spent the next two days and nights traveling at sea. Our boat was the air-conditioned…

FEB
2015
18

Spoonies: Headstarting

Chukotka, Russia is where I’ve spent the last three Summers, coaxing spoon-billed sandpiper chicks from eggs to fully-fledged birds. The village of Meinypil’gyno – a multicoloured cluster of stilt houses with no roads in or out – is surrounded by moraine hills which are the only known breeding ground for the curious sandpipers with the spoon-shaped bill. I’m there as part of a team with a mission: to make sure as many young spoon-billed sandpipers as possible safely survive their first fragile weeks and set off to migrate along the East Asian – Australasian Flyway. The method we use is…

FEB
2015
16

David Lindo: Exploring Serbia

When I start talking to people about Serbia, the images that most people conjure up in their minds is the vision of the devastating atrocities that occurred during the Yugoslav Wars of the nineties. I, too had the same thoughts when I was originally invited to visit Serbia’s capital, Belgrade in September 2009. I was invited to launch an urban birding watchpoint atop the USCE Tower, a 25-floor skyscraper situated on the confluence of the Rivers Sava and Danube. It was a successful short weekend trip during which I met with the main woman at the Serbian Tourist Board. She summarily…