Thursday, April 17, 2014

Our First Painted Bunting of the Season

If you like rainbows, you have to love Painted Buntings.  Here in Louisiana, we caught our first Painted Bunting of the season a few days ago.  Over the next couple weeks many more should arrive on the coast.  Many other buntings, orioles, thrushes and warblers have arrived over the last couple days as well.

An adult male Painted Bunting

A Painted Bunting wing.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Wave of Warblers and More

There was a large increase in diversity and numbers over the weekend.  Many new species made it across the Gulf of Mexico on Friday and Saturday nights.  Orchard Orioles were in small flocks throughout the chenier and many large flocks of migrants were quickly moving through the trees.  The highlight was catching a few Cerulean Warblers!  Hopefully the next wave comes soon as the last wave has moved out and there are very few birds around.

A male Cerulean Warbler-definitely one of the highlights of the season so far
A Blue-winged Warbler with some pollen on his head

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Swainson's Warbler at the Bayou

Look at that long bill!
The banding and birding here along the Gulf Coast was slow over the weekend.  There were not many birds caught and few were around in general.  Luckily, there was one major highlight over the weekend . . . catching a Swainson’s Warbler.  I have very little experience with this species having seen them on only one other occasion.  Having one in the hand was an amazing experience!

The wing of a Swainson's Warbler
-Eric

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Week on the Gulf of Mexico

The past week the Gulf Coast brought some great days but also a few slow days.  The week started with a great day on Monday.  South winds on the Yucatan and north winds along the US Gulf Coast created great conditions on Sunday night into Monday.  Black-and-white Warblers were the most numerous warbler in coastal woodlands but the weather also brought in good numbers of Hooded and Worm-eating Warblers as well as our first Blue-winged of the season.  Vireos also came in strong with many White-eyed, Red-eyed, and Yellow-throateds.

Tuesday also had some nice arrivals such as a good number of Prothonotary and Yellow-throated Warblers.  Bad weather for migration for the rest of the week made for a slow few days although Indigo Bunting and Northern Waterthrush arrived during this period.  But, the highlight of the week came on Friday even though we didn't catch many birds.  As I was walking up to a net, I saw a long-tailed bird and figured it was a mockingbird but as I got closer it was clearly our first Yellow-billed Cuckoo!

Yellow-billed Cuckoo - An even more striking bird
in the hand than in the field!
Black-and-white Warbler - The most common warbler to start the week.

Prothonotary Warbler - We had a couple of days with good numbers of
Prothonotary Warblers.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: Phillipps' Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo

I've long dreamed of going to Borneo and seeing all of the incredible birds that live there, so I jumped at the chance to review the brand new 3rd edition of The Birds of Borneo. I don't have plans of heading to Borneo anytime soon, but that doesn't mean I can't stare at the beautiful illustrations.

One of the first things that I noticed about this field guide was that it has a ton of useful information that goes well beyond the typical scope of field guides. Yes, the illustrations and written descriptions of the birds are well-done, but it's everything else the authors included that makes this guide so special.

As is the case with most field guides, it pays to read the introduction. There is a plethora of information here that will serve you well as you study the rest of the book. Throughout the guide, you will find yellow boxes with additional information about behavior, conservation, history, and other related topics. I found the info in these boxes to be especially interesting.

The final section of the book includes maps and information about many of the best birding locations around Borneo which will be extremely helpful if you're planning a trip to the island.

This is definitely the go-to guide for birding in this part of the world, and it certainly has me very excited for my first trip to Borneo, whenever that might be!


Title: Phillipps' Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo: Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, and Kalimantan
Authors: Quentin Phillipps and Karen Phillipps
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: April 2, 2014

We received a copy of this book from the publisher to review on NuttyBirder.com. The links are to our Amazon Affiliate account.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review: Rare Birds of North America

From the second that I picked up Rare Birds of North America for the first time, I've been fascinated with all of the information that the authors included as well as the great drawings of each species. There's not another book that completely and fully covers the birds that rarely occur in North America.

The book covers 262 species from some of the more regularly occurring rarities to those that have only been found in North America one time. I'm personally very excited to see that the Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush that Eric found in South Dakota back in 2010 is included and that my name is mentioned in the acknowledgements for information that I provided about the Hooded Crane in Indiana!

The authors provide a wonderful introduction that explains what it means for a bird to be rare and also describes many of the theories behind why rare birds get off course and show up where they shouldn't (among many other topics).

The species profiles are also full of information. Each one includes a thorough summary of where and how many times the species has occurred in North America. If it's one of the rarer species, all of the records of the species are outlined. Field identification is also discussed as are the habitats and behavior of the species. These pieces of information really help you to understand more about the species and what you should be looking for if you think that you might have found one of these rare birds.

If you are at all interested in finding and identifying rare birds or just simply learning about all of the crazy species that have shown up on our continent, this book is for you! It always helps to be prepared for whatever you might see when you are out birding.


Title: Rare Birds of North America
Authors: Steve Howell, Ian Lewington, and Will Russell
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: March 5, 2014

We received a copy of this book from the publisher to review on NuttyBirder.com. The links are to our Amazon Affiliate account.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Bird Banding in Johnsons Bayou, Louisiana

Eric writes: For the last week, I have been working with a team of researchers catching and banding (mostly) migrant passerines at a coastal chenier, a sandy or shelly beach ridge, in rural Louisiana.  I'll be working down here through mid-May so I'll have a good opportunity to band most of the eastern passerine migrants.  

Not only will we be catching some amazing birds, we have a house a block from the beach and a couple blocks from one of Louisiana's premier birding locations, Peveto Woods.  Watching the early migration along the coast has been exciting, with new birds showing up each day.

Here is one of my favorite birds that we have been banding . . . 

Hooded Warbler-Second Year Male, notice the greenish cast to the crown
to age it as a second year.
Hooded Warbler-After Second Year (ASY), again
notice the crown to age.

The same Hooded as above, an ASY male.