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.…

DEC
2015
02

“Cleverly designed neoprene-system”

Leica raises the bar with the new generation of the 42 mm models in the Trinovid HD family. Thanks to the new optics, Trinovid HD binoculars guarantee an exceptionally bright and clear view, pin-sharp resolution, superb colour fidelity and perfect contrast.

Dual Citizens: South Florida’s and Brazil’s Shared Avifauna

As a native of South Florida, making the transition to living temporarily and birding in Brazil was in some ways easier than say, moving here from the Midwest. For one, I am fairly accustomed with Latin American culture having grown up in Miami, a city where the vast majority is Hispanic. By Alex Harper.

Bird Mentor: Advanced Skills for Beginning Birders

Leica Interview with Kristi Dranginis I first met Kristi two years ago during the predawn hour at our bird banding station along the Animas River in Colorado. I remember she was sipping a fragrant homemade chai while we waited for the rest of the crew to arrive. We exchanged small talk and quickly realized each other’s love for birds. Once the bird banding got hoppin’ Kristi and I had a chance to do a few net runs together where she shared something that piqued my curiosity. She told me that she was in the midst of creating a course for…

Camaraderie through Cotingas

Experiences are often the most enjoyable when shared with other people. Here at the Cristalino Private Reserve in the Brazilian Amazon, residential guides and visitors are joined by the birds, where over 600 species have been recorded. As a guide at Cristalino, I am fortunate to be amongst species such as Spangled Cotingas, several species of macaws, Paradise Jacamars and a variety of tanagers day in and day out. As with any job or routine, it can be easy to normalize experiences that one does daily.   It is impossible to become jaded here, however, normalized as my daily sightings…

Pounding Hearts and Beating Wings: Cape May Migration Madness

Cool morning temperatures and crisp organic scents saturate the forest floor while lush blankets of red, yellow and gold adorn the treetops; autumn has fallen across North America. The chaos and excitement of breeding season is over. Young birds are learning the ins and outs of functioning on their own while their parents adjust to being empty nesters once again. The days grow shorter and the air crisper while migratory birds scramble to fill their fat reserves in preparation for their long journeys ahead. The first of many cold fronts to come passes over, creating favorable winds and triggering ancient…

World Record in Hand

The Date – September 16th, 2015, the place – the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary in Kerala, India. You can see the rain drops clinging to the branches and leaves in the image above. Definitely not Noah’s most technically perfect image he’s shared, but likely the one that was shared the most! On a soggy, drizzly day, Noah lifted his trusty Leica 10×42 Ultravid HD-Plus binoculars as he has tens of thousands of times this year and saw these Sri Lanka Frogmouths. In a private email Noah shared the images above & below and wrote: “This afternoon, with a crowd of local birders…

Amazonian Yard Listing

There isn’t anything too much more indescribably exciting than nearing the end of a long journey to a foreign birding location. You’ve spent evenings gawking at Google images, worn the pages of a formerly new field guide, you’ve read dozens of trip reports in the weeks leading up to the journey, and now you’re on the cusp of being in the same exact physical location you’ve mused over for some time. After a total of nineteen hours spent on planes and in airports, a whirlwind of a trip to the famed Pantanal, a fourteen hour bus ride, followed by a…

Flocking to Rutland from around the globe

The Leica team is catching its breath after a great few days at this year’s Birdfair, which took place at the Rutland Water Nature Reserve from 21st to 23rd August. It was a busy few days: we unveiled a fantastic new product; launched a special offer on spotting scope package; premiered a series of films; shot some fresh video footage with our ambassadors (watch this space for more birding treats later this summer); caught up with old friends and made new ones. We even managed to spot a few birds! The new product launch completed our top of the range…

Split or Get Off the Pot: Genetics and the AOU vs. Reality?

“Surely one of the core virtues of birding is its independent, even anarchic spirit” (Gordon, 2015). The North American Classification Committee (NACC) of the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU) comprises appointed members who pass judgment and make determinations on species limits, English names, and related issues for the birds of North America. To this end, the NACC proclaims the AOU Checklist as “the official source on the taxonomy of birds found in North and Middle America” (http://checklist.aou.org, accessed May 2015). The American Birding Association (ABA) Checklist follows the AOU, for the most part, but will that union endure?  I often hear…