Friday, November 29, 2013

Snowy Owls in the Great Lakes Region

A Snowy Owl in the UP of Michigan
Eric writes: If you want to see a Snowy Owl, now is the time to be looking!  Over the past few weeks Snowy Owls have shown up all over the Great Lakes region.  

During most invasion years, the Snowy Owls start showing up in mid to late November depending on latitude.  Here in the southern Great Lakes region, the owls don't usually arrive until late November, then peak in the first two weeks of December (ebird arrival time).

Good luck in the next two weeks of prime Snowy Owl observation!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The First BSBO Pelagic of the Season on Lake Erie

Rob writes: Before getting started posting about the awesome trip that I had to Honduras, I thought I would talk a little bit about the freezing cold boat trip on Lake Erie that I came home to. After arriving back in Detroit at 10:30 on Friday night, I was up and ready to head to Cleveland for a Lake Erie boat trip by 6 am Saturday morning.

We are just about to get going and everyone is very excited for a day of birding on the lake!
We arrived in Cleveland by 8:30 and shortly after set off on our birding adventure on the lake. The temperature was about 60° colder than when I had left Honduras less than 24 hours ago, but I was ready for a great trip with many amazing friends. There had also been some fantastic birds reported in the area and searching for them always helps keep me warm and not focused on the wind.

We had quite a few species while we were headed down the river, but it took us about an hour before we found our first really exciting species, a Long-tailed Duck! It had been a long time since I had seen this species, and this individual was quite cooperative and tame.

After this, the amount of unexpected species picked up! A Red-necked Grebe was found but before I could get a shot of it, a recently reported Northern Gannet flew over the boat!

As we headed back towards the river, everyone was very excited about the great day that we had. I don't think anyone was expecting that the Brown Pelican that has been in the Cleveland area for the last 5 months would be sitting just around the corner!

Once we were back on land, our whole group decided to go just a few minutes down the road to Edgewater Marina to see if we could find the Little Gulls that others had reported. It turned out that there was a huge group of Bonaparte's Gulls and two Little Gulls mixed in.

Everyone had a great day out on the lake, and finding the Little Gulls was the perfect way to end our adventure!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Quick Video from Honduras

My Sabrewing Nature Tour partners and I are all back in the US now and seriously missing the birds, people, and warm temperatures that we encountered while at the Lodge at Pico Bonito in Honduras last week! We are still trying to get through editing all of our images and videos (I think it might take forever) but Brian was able to get his video of a Great Potoo edited and posted online! Many people only see this nocturnal species sleeping the day away but Brian was in position for some great action shots!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Interview in Birds & Blooms

Rob writes: I am very excited to share that I am featured in the latest issue of Birds & Blooms magazine in the Blogger Spotlight! Check out the article on page 77, and take a bit of time to read the rest of the magazine as well - there are some really great features this month! I'm also thrilled to be the newest bird blogger for the Birds & Blooms blog. I started blogging for the magazine in October, and you will be seeing a ton of posts from me over the coming months. You can read my first post here, and I hope you'll enjoy and follow my writings on both NuttyBirder and Birds & Blooms!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Headed for Honduras

Rob writes: This morning, I am taking off for the Lodge at Pico Bonito for a week of birding on the Caribbean slope of Honduras. Greg Links, Brian Zwiebel, and I will be scouting out the area for future Sabrewing Nature Tour trips to the country and will be filming for a brand new birding show that we are working on. We can't wait to get down there to see some amazing tropical birds and hopefully some other awesome animals. Assuming internet access allows me to do so, I will try to post a few photos during my week in Honduras. For now, I will leave you with a couple of photos of some of the species that I am hoping to see on this trip!

This Lovely Cotinga is one of the birds that I am most
looking forward to seeing! (Photo by James Adams)

I have always thought the manakins were awesome birds and I can't wait to finally
see one like this Red-capped Manakin. (Photo by James Adams)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Our Final Few Days in the Rio Grande Valley

The second half of my week in south Texas was spent at the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival. I had been hearing great things about this festival for a long time and could not wait to have the chance to attend. I was covering the event for Birds & Blooms Magazine, I am the new bird blogger for their blog, and I also got to lead a field trip for the festival while I was in town. The festival was absolutely wonderful and the birding was fantastic! Stephanie had never been to the Valley before so she got to see tons of new and amazing birds. She was especially excited to see a Green Jay for the first time!

We can't wait to go back for the festival again in 2014. Here are a few of our favorite photos from our trip!

A well camouflaged Common Pauraque.

It was amazing to get such an awesome look at a perched Gray Hawk. Most of the time they are just flying over.

Clay-colored Thrush used to be a rare bird in the Valley but is not quite common and even breeds in the area.

Golden-fronted Woodpeckers might look a lot like Red-bellied Woodpeckers but they are a different species.

Green Jays are always one of the highlights of birding in the Valley.

Estero Llano Grande State Park is my favorite place to go birding in the Valley and is a great place to observe waterfowl.
 This female Northern Shoveler posed for some photos.

Vermilion Flycatchers are absolutely brilliant birds. They glow red against a blue sky.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

An Update on our Trip to the Rio Grande Valley

Over the past few days, Stephanie and I have been travelling around the Rio Grande Valley attending conferences and festivals, and doing some birding. We've been really busy and having a ton of fun! I will give more completely update on our trip once we get back to Indiana this weekend. For now, here are a couple photos that Stephanie took of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers while we were hunting for a very rare Fork-tailed Flycatcher which we did not find.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

We Made it to the Valley!

Rob writes: After a great day yesterday at the Ohio Young Birders Club Conference in Ohio, Stephanie and I drove home to Indiana and then flew down the the Rio Grande Valley today. We chose to fly into Corpus Christi since it was somewhat cheaper for us to do and then drove down to South Padre Island. I was very excited to see that the tiny airport had a huge display of bird and nature photos that are part of a wildlife photo contest. Checking out the photos was a great way to start out trip. We will be spending the next five days birding and attending both the Focus on Diversity Conference and the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival!

Tomorrow we will be birding on South Padre Island and maybe chasing a Fork-tailed Flycatcher that was just found today!

Part of the photo contest display

More of the display.