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…

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.

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.

AUG
2016
29

Magic over the Negev (part 1)

A young Steppe Eagle in warm brown tones scans the horizon from side to side before launching skyward. Leaving its nocturnal roost as early morning light floods the valley, it slowly flaps and glides northward along the western shore of the Gulf of Aqaba. The lone bird reaches the windswept ridges here and rises quickly entering the river of birds already aloft. Such is the nature of a spring day in this part of the world. Black Kites with long, thin wings are able to take advantage of even the slightest stir of air. So as usual, they have led…

Champions of the Flyway – Team “Dutch Knights”

It is perhaps the most fascinating phenomenon in the birding world, but unfortunately not without dangers – bird migration. And Eilat in Israel is one of the best places in the world to experience this spectacular phenomenon. It should therefore come as no coincidence that here, again for the third time, the international bird conservation event Champions of the Flyway is organized to raise funds for the protection of migratory birds during their long journeys. On 3/29 2016, a passionate group of birders from different nationalities compete in teams for the title of Champions of the Flyway (COTF) in an…

Magic over the Islands

Each fall season for the past few years, hawk counters at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch have broken their own world record for the most Peregrine Falcons tallied at a single migration monitoring site in a season. Recent Peregrine Falcons totals @ FKH 2012 – 3,836 Peregrine Falcons tallied 2013 – 4,010 Peregrine Falcons tallied 2014 – 4,216 Peregrine Falcons tallied 2015 – ???? As of October 7th, 2015, however the FKH count had lagged FAR behind recent years’ totals with only 948 Peregrines tallied (nearly 2,000 behind previous years total by the same date 10/7). I spoke with Rafael Galvez, Director of FKH, artist/author/guide…

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…

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…

Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatching!

Here in New England, it sure hasn’t felt much like spring. But the sun is getting higher, the days are getting longer, and finally, those snowbanks are being reduced – if ever so slowly. And believe it or not, birds are on the move. In fact, hawkwatching season is here! Freeport Wild Bird Supply will once again be partnering with Leica Sport Optics to sponsor the Spring Hawkwatch at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, beginning on March 15th. 2015 marks the ninth consecutive season for this project through which valuable data is collected while providing an enjoyable and educational…

APR
2015
13

Backyard Birding in Wales

We, Ruth Miller and Alan Davies, are two British birders that some of you may have heard of. Back in 2008 we set off on a birding adventure, The Biggest Twitch. Birding in 27 countries, we set a new world record for the number of species recorded in a single calendar year – an amazing 4,341! Since then we have been running birdwatching trips from our home in North Wales, traveling all over the UK, Europe and beyond, sharing our passion for birds with like-minded people. We are very lucky to be based in Llandudno, North Wales, some 240 miles…