Assumptions versus the dark-morph Pink-footed Shearwater

Whether Pink-footed Shearwater has a (very rare) dark morph, or whether occasional individuals are melanistic, are interesting semantic questions. But the bottom line for field observers is that apparently dark-plumaged Pink-footed Shearwaters are out there, and they could be confused with Flesh-footed Shearwater. Although some have questioned this assumption (e.g., see pages 56-58 of the January 2012 issue of Birding magazine), their alternatives of an undescribed new species of large shearwater, or of hybrid Pink-footed x Flesh-footed Shearwaters, seem to overlook the principle of parsimony: the most likely = parsimonious explanation is that some Pink-footed Shearwaters are dark-bodied. There’s even…

The Urban Birding Experience in Málaga

Málaga, situated on the sun-kissed Costa del Sol in Andalucia, southern Spain would hardly seem like a venue for urban birding.   But surprisingly, it has a lot to offer. The city, which is one of the oldest in the world, is one of Spain’s major tourist spots but yet even in the heart of its heaving streets there are birds to be found. Join David Lindo, The Urban Birder and Leica Ambassador, on his journey around the city to see the other life that inhabits Málaga. In an exciting experience David Lindo discovers the birds of the city, meets…

Champions of The Flyway – Team Extremadura

In 2016 a team of expert birders is being formed by members of Lonely Birder in conjunction with The Urban Birder.

FEB
2016
18

Urban Treasure Hunting

The Las Vegas strip is a dream location for some. However, if nature is your thing, this sterile, urban environment makes it real challenging to get your daily wildlife fix. Recently, I found myself in the middle of the strip and decided to pit my skills against that challenge. I had very limited time for exploring, (maybe a half hour in mornings & just over an hour of daylight on my first evening) so I took to the strip with low expectations to see what a crazed birder could see in this most unbirdy spot in the dead of winter. I realize of…

Leica Stories: Ana Ágreda

Enjoy this special bilingual edition of Leica Stories and meet Ecuadorian wildlife biologist Ana Águeda, who works hard to conserve shorebirds and waterbirds.

JAN
2016
29

Slow it Down

When in Honduras for the new Trinovid HD press trip, we were hiking on a challenging trail that wound down a steep slope in the rain forests of Pico Bonito Park. As we were heading down hill we were separated on various switchbacks, when a mixed flock passed us bouncing through the canopy heading up hill quickly. We all got limited views of the many species passing but were only able to make positive identifications of a handful of the birds that passed. I had one clear window that offered a clear view of the underside of a canopy of a…

My Log from the Sea of Cortez

Climbing up into the panga felt so familiar. I was instantly transported back in time, suddenly 15 years younger. The tractor backed us down the boat ramp, the boatman started the motors, and we were off on a Gulf of California adventure.

First At-sea Images of Ainley’s Storm-Petrel – but who cares?

Leica team member Steve Howell is back recently from a ten-day pelagic trip off northwest Mexico, where he saw plenty of ‘Leach’s Storm-Petrels’ – including the enigmatic Ainley’s Storm-Petrel, endemic as a breeder to Mexico’s Guadalupe Island (about 170 miles west of the Baja California Peninsula), described as new to science as recently as 1980, and never before photographed at sea! Here’s the story…   Ainley’s Storm-Petrel? Huh, what’s that? OK, here’s a synopsis of taxonomy to put the story in context. (Don’t worry, it’s short!) In 1980, marine scientist David Ainley described the winter-breeding ‘Leach’s Storm-Petrels’ on Mexico’s Guadalupe…

DEC
2015
24

Bill Oddie on binoculars

Ever since he was a boy wielding his first pair, Leica Sport Optics UK ambassador Bill Oddie has been very particular about the binoculars he uses. These days, he’s just as discerning, and over the years he’s come to realise that, for him, it’s about principles as well as performance. Here he describes some of his most memorable pairs. There’s no question that, ever since he was a boy, binoculars have been important to Bill Oddie. This is what he had to say on the subject recently: “What is the one item you would take to a desert island (as…

Endemism in a Disappearing Rainforest

The Atlantic Forest of Brazil is simply ridiculous. Located in the southeastern portion of the country, it is characterized by lush montane and coastal rainforest and is sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and several other unique Brazilian ecoregions such as caatinga, cerrado and pampa. This isolation meant one particular outcome: lots of birds and lots of endemism. Roughly 150 endemic bird species, actually. The extent of the Atlantic Forest used to be massive. Today, about 10% of it remains intact; the rest of it has been lost to agriculture and city centers such as São Paulo and Rio de Janiero.…