WingsBirds Updates Updates from WingsBirds Fri, 27 Apr 2018 08:02:57 +0100 en daily 1 Rich Hoyer on his just concluded tour to Jamaica 2014-04-23 11:02:17 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>We had a delightful week of birding and natural history in Jamaica with everyone getting on the birds in record time and many spare moments left over to enjoy the butterflies, dragonflies, and the many other interesting animals and plants of the island.</p> <p>On our first, very relaxed morning (you can't hurry anything on island time), we watched a Black-crowned Night-Heron catch a small Atlantic Bumper from the anchor rope of a yacht by the breakfast restaurant overlooking Kingston Harbor.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="371" /></p> <p><em>Black-crowned Night-Heron</em></p> <p>Later that day we were delighted by a group of four White-tailed Tropicbirds investigating their cliff nests, followed by an authentic Jamaican lunch at a jerk centre.&nbsp;We didn't actually see any endemic birds until we arrived in the habitat at about 1:45 p.m., where we instantly saw a pair of the adorable Jamaican Tody.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="457" /></p> <p><em>Jamaican Tody</em></p> <p>Then the endemics began showering upon us. By less than 24 hours later, we had seen 25 of the 27 endemics while birding the exact same 6 km of road, with the exception of the Jamaican Owl, which was only a short walk from our delicious dinner, expertly cooked in our villa by Clover and Andrea of Goblin Hill. They also made our breakfast for us, overlooking the San San lagoon below.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="406" /></p> <p>The final four days of the tour were spent getting better views of everything as well as those final two endemics (Jamaican Pewee and Blue Mountain Vireo were added on Day 3), seeing nearly every possible additional subspecies, and boosting the list with migrant warblers and water birds. Highlights in the latter categories were three new species for the long-time cumulative list: Forster's and Common Terns, as well as group of four Blue Grosbeaks, an extremely rare visitor to the island. We also had time to photograph any and all bugs we saw, a highlight being the gorgeous metalmark-like moth on the lampshade at Marshall's Pen, which we eventually identified after consulting the 1994 paper revising the genus: the endemic and little-known <em>Phrygionis sumptuosari</em>a.</p> <p><em>Phrygionis sumptuosari</em></p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="" alt="" width="640" height="377" /></p> <p>Of course no Jamaica tour summary woul be complete without mentioning the "Doctor Bird."&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="640" height="494" /></p> <p><em>Red-billed Stremertail, with Black-billed Streamertail better known as Jamaica's Doctor Bird</em></p> Steve Howell and Jake Mohlmann from their Chile tour 2011-11-02 19:43:27 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>It's been fantastic... Yesterday crossing the Straits of Magellan over to Tierra del Fuego we had almost balmy weather followed by a mild and amazingly near-calm afternoon - during which we found a pair of Magellanic Plovers in record time and watched them feeding alongside handsome Two-banded Plovers and migrant Baird's and White-rumped sandpipers. Among many other highlights these first few days we've enjoyed Magellanic Penguins "wading" through bunch grass and flowering <em>Berberis</em> bushes (below), displaying Magellanic Snipe (below), flashy Canary-winged (Black-throated) Finches, stately Guanacos and sleek South American Gray Foxes roaming the Patagonian grasslands, and beautiful Commerson's Dolphins (below). The "common" birds are also easy on the eyes - from Black-faced Ibis to Rufous-collared Sparrows (both below).</p> <p><img src="/img/field_reports/211/penguins.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/img/field_reports/211/Snipe.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/img/field_reports/211/Dolphin.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/img/field_reports/211/Ibis.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/img/field_reports/211/Sparrow.jpg" alt="" /></p> Steve Howell and Jake Mohlmann on their search for the new storm-petrel 2011-10-29 07:04:09 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>Today, in the company of pelagic aficionado Dave Shoch (the happy trio in habitat, below), we braved wind waves of up to 5mm (did we say it was calm?) and were successful in locating numbers of "Seno Storm-Petrel," the undescribed taxon (species?) of storm-petrel that inhabits the Seno de Reloncavi near Puerto Montt, Chile. This striking bird was discovered in 2009 by a visiting group of perceptive Irish and US birders, who published their observations in <em>Dutch Birding</em> (volume 31:218-223; 2009). Little is known of 'Seno Storm-Petrel' (Seno pronounced "say no?"), very few people have knowingly seen it, and needless to say its breeding grounds remain unknown.</p> <p>While some have suggested a similarity between Seno and the recently rediscovered New Zealand Storm-Petrel, we felt the bird was clearly of the Wilson's/Elliot's Storm-Petrel ilk. It had highly variable plumage, with some individuals resembling the <em>chilensis</em> taxon of Wilson's, others much more like Elliot's. The bold whitish underwing stripe appeared to be the most consistent feature (and some also had white tongues on the inner webs of the outer primaries), the upperwing band and white tail base was also bolder than most Wilson's, and the white belly patch varied from indistinct and almost lacking (like many <em>chilensis</em>) to bold and extensive (but differently shaped than on Elliot's, as noted in the DB article). Some photos of this exciting enigma are posted below.</p> <p><img src="/img/field_reports/210/Jake-2Mohlmann-Seno-Reloncavi-Chile-1-of-1-1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/img/field_reports/210/1Seno-Reloncavi-Chile-90-of-504-11.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/img/field_reports/210/3Seno-Reloncavi-Chile-380-of-504-1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/img/field_reports/210/4Seno-Reloncavi-Chile-459-of-504-1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/img/field_reports/210/5Seno-Reloncavi-Chile-483-of-504-1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/img/field_reports/210/Seno-Reloncavi-Chile-279-of-504-11.jpg" alt="" /></p> Steve Howell on an unusually good week in the field 2011-10-23 11:11:31 Wings Staff Field Reports <p>Recently, I was lucky enough to be standing next to Mark Billings in Baja California, Mexico, when Mark spotted and we identified Mexico&rsquo;s first Marsh Sandpiper &ndash; a species otherwise recorded in the New World only from islands in Alaska! Mark was a participant some 7 years ago at the Young Birders Convention event in Kern County, which Steve and Jon Dunn helped to lead for WINGS &ndash; it&rsquo;s great to see young birders years later, even if Steve says it makes him feel a bit old and slow. Only four days later, I was standing next to Todd McGrath on a boat off Bodega Bay, California, when Todd spotted (and I helped identify) a White-chinned Petrel, one of only a handful of North American (and Northern Hemisphere) records. Not a bad week!</p> <p><img src="/img/field_reports/207/Estero-Punta-Banda-BCN-78-of-138-1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><img src="/img/field_reports/207/Bodega-Bay-pelagic-57-of-75-1.jpg" alt="" /></p>