Keeping up with Noah Strycker

  When we last touched base with Noah he was enjoying scenery, birds and wildlife with Jennie Duberstein one of our Leica Birding Crew at famed California Gulch, in southeast Arizona (May 24, 2015). By that days end, Noah had already tallied an amazing 2625 bird species, in countless locales in 2015 alone. He began his quest on January 1, 2015 aboard a vessel headed toward Antarctica, then wound northward through South America living out of his back pack. As you can see from the map above, Noah’s path is designed to be efficient and methodical and the color-coded key shows the plan by…

Migration Magic in the Land of Milk and Honey-buzzards

May 3, 2015. I stand at my station in the Eilat Mountains, overlooking the Gulf of Aqaba, at the north end of the Red Sea. Stretching away to southwest, the mountains of Israel seamlessly give way to the mountains of Egypt, the boundary only recognizable thanks to the hand of man: the large, re-enforced border fence, interlaced with jagged barbed wire, threatening any foolish soul who would approach from either side. To the east, across the Gulf, loom the red mountains of Jordan’s Edom Range. South of these, through the morning haze that often hangs over the sea, we can…

Leica Stories: An Interview with Jennie MacFarland

“I have a question for you about volunteering for the Arizona Important Bird Areas program.” I can’t tell you how many times someone has come up to me asking something like this. “I’m not the Jennie you are looking for,” I tell them. “You are Jennie, the bird biologist who works at the Historic YWCA building, aren’t you?” they ask. “Yes,” I reply. “I am. But you want the Jennie who works down the hall, not me.” She’s Jennie-Mac. I’m J-Dubes. (Or, as Camp Colorado 2015 participants decided to call me, J-Dub). We both work in bird conservation and have offices…

JUL
2015
01

Capturing Raptors with the Leica V-Lux (typ 114) camera

As typical, last weekend I went birding locally and as usual, I carried the Leica V-Lux (typ 114) camera with me to preserve digital memories along the way. I’ve said on numerous occasions, “this is the best wildlife camera we have ever produced” and I mean it. Why?!?… the simple answer is: it’s lightweight, compact & fast and I get fantastic images every time I use it. However, below I will expand on this by explaining the features I like for wildlife photography, the settings I prefer, and share some field craft. There will be wonderful images of course as well! A point and shoot…

“An incredible thing to experience”

Roland Digby is an expert aviculturist. His skill at breeding and rearing birds has helped return cirl buntings and Eurasian cranes to parts of southern England. He’s spent long periods working in remote parts of the world including the Madagascar highlands, where he helped set up breeding facilities for the world’s rarest bird – the Madagascar pochard – and the Russian Far East, where he runs a headstarting programme for chicks of the Critically Endangered spoon-billed sandpiper. This is what he reports from Chukotka in the Russian Far East. Over the last few weeks I’ve been surveying spoon-billed sandpipers as…

One Gal, Three Guys and Five-striped Sparrows: Chasing Birds with Noah Strycker

Have you ever seen a Five-striped Sparrow? It’s a Mexican species that just makes its way into the United States in a few spots in southeastern Arizona. The phrase “death march” often accompany a description of an attempt to find Five-striped Sparrow in Arizona. The roads require high clearance and sometimes four-wheel drive. Flat tires are not uncommon, nor are encounters with Border Patrol agents, as the spot is just north of the international boundary with Mexico. Let’s just say that looking for Five-striped Sparrow in Arizona can be a bit of an adventure. Back in 2006 Michael O’Brien, Louise…

Feathers Over Freeport

Now in its 9th year (see previous post LINK), the Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatch in Pownal, Maine attracts an average of over 1200 visitors annually. Furthermore, many times that number visit the summit throughout our two month season and briefly chat with the Official Counter or read our count board and display. Of those 1200+ folks, many have never heard of, or at least never visited, a “hawkwatch” before, as the culture of hawkwatching in Northern New England isn’t as ingrained in the birding culture or as widespread as in such places as Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. For my…

Travis bei den Pinguinen

Leica-Mitarbeiter Oliver Vogler ist Referent der Leica Akademie und hatte „Travis“, das reisende Leica Fernglas, auf einer Expedition in die Antarktis dabei. Was er mit dem Leica Trinovid 10×42 erlebt hat, schildert er im folgenden  Interview. Leica Sportoptik: Was hat Sie in die Antarktis geführt, und warum war „Travis“ dabei? Oliver Vogler: Wir begleiten jedes Jahr mehrmals den Erlebnis-Reiseveranstalter Oceanwide Expeditions auf Reisen in die Arktis und die Antarktis. „Travis“ habe ich bewusst gewählt, um die Artenvielfalt der dortigen Tierwelt besser beobachten zu können, sei es die Wale und Pinguine oder auch die Seevögel und Seelöwen. Außerdem habe ich das…

JUN
2015
01

The first half is the quickest: An update from Noah’s World Big Year

I was thrilled to get another field update from Noah Strycker a full 5 months through his worldwide big year effort, Birding Without Borders. Read on to hear his take on the effort thus far. Photos & Text by Noah Strycker After four and a half intense months in Latin America, I’ve hit the U.S. This is a big transition: I’m now in my home country, having left the tropics behind (at least until Africa, in another month), and, as it happens, my year list has just crossed 2,500 species. Halfway there! When I started this year, in January, the idea…

MAY
2015
01

David A. La Puma: Operation Springwatch

Cape May is a Mecca for birders, especially those interested in migration. In Autumn, Cape May represents one of the best locations in the world to witness visible migration of songbirds, raptors, and waterbirds, a spectacle that peaks in September and October after most of the summer vacationers have left this seaside resort town. Since 1976 the Cape May Bird Observatory has been responsible for counting the birds and butterflies that migrate over, around, and through Cape May. To this day we run three autumn bird counts and one butterfly count: the Cape May Hawk Watch (since 1976), the Monarch…