Tag Archives: bird-watching

95-100% säkert att Sverige har fått besök av sin första lammgam


(Erik Hansson 23 maj 2017; Foto: Daniel Pettersson)

Det började under måndagseftermiddagen den 22 maj med en rapport om att en fågelskådare såg en mycket trolig ung lammgam attackeras av kråkor och en ormvråk väster om Jönköping. På morgonen dagen efter plingade det till i fågelskådningsappen Bird Alarm igen – ännu en rapport om en trolig lammgam i området.

Den andra rapportören uppges känna sig ”95-100 procent säker” på att det var en lammgam som han spanade på. Den flög dock iväg innan andra fågelskådare han till platsen. Under tisdagsmorgonen den 23 maj eftersöktes gamen i området av flera fågelskådare och vid 10-tiden ska den ha setts, men tappats bort igen på hög höjd.

Att det skulle vara en vild lammgam som förflyttat sig upp till Sverige är långt ifrån otänkbart. Det har gått väldigt bra för lammgamarna i Europa de senaste åren. Det kläcks årligen rekordmånga ungar och reviren i Alperna blir allt fler. Dessutom har fåglarna börjat röra sig ut i Europa. Den 20 maj sågs till exempel en ung lammgam i de östra delarna av Danmark, fyra mil från Sverige. Kan det vara samma individ som korsat Öresund?

Lammgamar föredrar att äta från kadaver och sväljer då ofta ben. Lammgamen har en stark magsaft som kan lösa upp benbitarna så att näringen kan tillgodogöras. Det händer även att gamen jagar själv, men framför allt tar den hand om döda djur i naturen och hindrar på så sätt exempelvis smittospridning.

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Flera tunga fågelrariteter i Sverige i helgen


(Erik Hansson 15 May 2017: Photo: JJ Harrison )

För de fågelskådare som gärna ser sällsynta arter började våren blygsamt. Men under söndagen den 14 maj 2017 blev det ”proppen ur” med mängder av riktigt tunga fynd. Så som ett förstafynd och ett andrafynd för Sverige, samt landets första relativt lättsedda knölsvärta.

Uppdatering tisd 16 maj: Knölsvärtan återupptäcktes idag på morgonen vid Svenska högarna.

Under lördagen sågs en möjlig knölsvärta utanför ön Röder i Stockholms skärgård, men det var under söndagen som det small till ordentligt. 06:54 kom ett larm på Bird Alarm om en knölsvärta som ligger tillsammans med andra svärtor i Östersjön utanför Svenska högarna. Eftersom knölsvärta tidigare bara setts flyga förbi Utlängan i Blekinge (2012, 2014 och 2015) och därmed bara setts av de som var på plats just där och just då var det nya fyndet under söndagen den 14 maj en sällsynt chans för många fågelskådare att få se arten.

Medan en del av landets fågelskådare började göra sig redo för en lång färd ut till landets östligaste öar hittades det en svarthuvad sparv på Gotland.

Klockan 08:05 kom nästa larm – knölsvärtan flög iväg söderut och sågs inte längre. Sju minuter senare kom nästa larm från Svenska högarna. På en annan plats på ön hade en….

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Birding Cuba, or Observación de aves en Cuba

(Donna; 4 April 2017)

I just returned from a glorious birding trip all over Cuba, so I am just going to ignore the pile of spring bird books on my dining room table (most of which arrived while I was gone), and write a bit about my favorite Cuban birds.

Of course, it’s the colorful and tiny birds that get the most attention when one thinks of Cuba. There’s the Cuban Trogon, majestic (the national bird of Cuba), brilliantly colored, and surprisingly common. Wherever we went, it seemed, especially in shady areas full of trees, we would hear the low, guttural to-roro to-roro toc-toc.* Despairing of finding a trogon that wasn’t in shadow or blocked by numerous branches, I was deliriously happy when the above bird, seen in La Belén Reserve, decided to fly up into the sun for a few minutes.

And then there’s the Cuban Tody, gaudy in lime green, white, and red, with touches of pink and yellow and blue, tiny enough to be mistaken for a stuffed toy except for its propensity to fly up as soon as I press the focus button. Like flycatchers, the bird continuously forages for insects. And, like the Cuban Trogon, it can be found throughout the island, especially if you are adept at detecting green and white birds amidst green-leaved trees shot through with sunlight.

Most of my non-birding friends–well, the birding ones too–are asking me if I saw the Bee Hummingbird, the smallest bird in the world at less than 2.5-inches in length and less than an ounce in mass.  Rarer than Cuba’s other hummingbird, the Cuban Emerald, the Bee Hummingbird is found in fragmented areas on the island.

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7 Things a Uganda Safari Taught Me About Birding Back Home

(Hugh Powell; 2 April 2017)

Dream globally; bird locally. That’s what I came away with on my first-ever visit to Africa. For 11 days in western Uganda I was treated to birds, mammals, reptiles, and even a few insects that I had thought I would only ever dream about.

After almost two weeks on the ground, our group locked onto more than 440 species—still well shy of Uganda’s total list of more than 1,000, or half the bird species in all of Africa. This country sits on the equator, gives rise to the Nile, and marries the plains of East Africa to the jungles of West Africa. It’s dripping with birds.

As I struggled to tell apalis from akalat, boubou from Brubru, I marveled at the skills of local birders who were totally at home in patches they’d birded for years. And after I made the long flight home, that’s what stuck with me from Uganda. Traveling as a birder is like being a kid and playing at your friend’s house, with a whole new set of toys. The time I spent with Uganda’s birds (and incredibly skilled birders) reminded me of how much there is to love about birding back home:

1. Love Your Locale

Travel is glamorous and new places are thrilling, right? But no one ever found the heart of a place on their first afternoon, or even their first week. Local birding will always have the power to satisfy deeply, because the biggest surprises come after you’ve built your expectations.

It’s also why you should tap into the wisdom of locals whenever you’re on the road, even in your own continent, by hiring guides or finding locals. When you’re still in the planning stages, use eBird Hotspots to get your bearings. And it goes both ways: around your hometown, maybe you’re the local wizard who can find the hero birds for visitors. The rewards of intensively birding your home turf has even acquired a name in the last several years: patch birding.

2. Find an eBird Buddy

During our time in Uganda our group of six birders filed more than 60 eBird checklists. For me, it was hard enough to keep track of the sunbirds and widowbirds and indigobirds and silverbirds and go-away birds and tinkerbirds, not to mention the eagles, hawk-eagles, snake-eagles, and, yes, something called a Lizard Buzzard. Those eBird lists became an invaluable record after the dust settled.

Amazingly, I didn’t file any eBird checklists myself. I had the good fortune to draft in the eBird slipstream of Nate Swick of the American Birding Association and Ethan Kistler of the tour group Birding Africa. They traded off listing duties—which included navigating the enormous checklist while keeping a mental tally of how many Pied Kingfishers, Red-billed Queleas, Brown-throated Wattle-eyes, Speckled Mousebirds, and more we had seen. If they ever give up birding, the Las Vegas blackjack tables need to watch out.

Back home, the value of having an eBird buddy or two still applies. By sharing birding, you end up with more, and more complete, records that make for better memories and contribute data to scientists. And if you’re like me, you also benefit from having better birders challenge you to keep up.

3. Look Beyond the List

This is the paradox about birding in the tropics: you go there for the overload of strange and fantastic birds, but the unforgettable moments only come one by one. Like the African Broadbill we saw giving its toadlike trill and then display-flying in a tight circle around its perch, as if circumnavigating a basketball. Writing down an X on a checklist or clicking down an eBird screen takes only moments. But thinking back on those glimpses into the bird’s life—that will last you years.

So appreciate behavior. Back in the Northern Hemisphere, even our less sensational-looking birds still dazzle and reveal. Every time I see a familiar bird, I try to follow it a little longer, to seek out what it’s up to. (eBird encourages this by letting you enter breeding codes). I guess that’s why they call it bird watching.

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Andean Gull ~ Cusco Region, Peru

(birdingthedayaway; 15 March 2017)

I had convinced myself that this species was going to be fairly straightforward, well it wasn’t easy …
So the plan was that on route to Machu Picchu I would get a taxi to the train station from Cusco to Ollantaytambo and stop at lakes or whenever needed for the species ..
Errrrrr NO that’s not what happened !!
I sat out in the sun the previous day and paid the price with sunstroke, up most of the night being sick.
The taxi ride was challenging, I did have an emergency bag in my pocket just in case but managed to sleep for most of it ..
I did see two gulls from the train which boosted my straightforward theory ..
Two days at Machu Picchu was fantastic  but didn’t see any gulls even though the River Urubamba flows past Aguas Calientes where I was staying ..
After Machu Picchu I had pre-booked another night in Cusco but I cancelled this for another night at the lake, doubling my chances with the gulls ..
The train ride back and a few more gulls spotted ..
Taxi to the lake $80 yep take me !!
3 hours later and I’m at Lake Huacarpay not a gull in sight !!
But it gets worse the Hotel is closed and has been for 7 months ..
Thanks alot Booking(.)com
I then tried the surrounding area for another hotel but in the end had to return back to Cusco for the two nights.
The whole day wasted and a taxi fare of $160 for nothing ..
At this point my straightforward theory has got a slight crack in it !
Once at the Cusco hotel a car and driver were arranged for the next morning.
06:30am and the first stop is Lake Huaypo a gigantic lake which did have a few gulls but they just never came close ..
Next was Lake Piuray this was a humongous great lake and the tiny white specks never came close ..

My straight forward theory is shattered !!

Time for something to eat so the taxi driver took me to Chinchero an ancient city with ruins, after some food, the taxi driver stopped at the ruins from an elevated vantage point and flying past were two gulls which landed in the valley below ..
I gestured to the driver take me to the Blanco Aves ?
In the midday sun I managed a few shots just before they were flushed.
With one more lake to try we headed off towards Pisaq, the road just kept on going up and reached 3,870m ..
By now all the Inca Kola that I’d been drinking needed to come out so I asked the driver who did a u-turn and stopped outside what looked like a house but was actually a Textiles Shop, as I got out the car I could see a small lake behind the shop so grabbed the bins and looked over the fence, I was immediately rumbled and invited in by the owner.
The bins were dumped in favour of the camera and then I had to get rid of the Inca Kola and into the garden I went ..

I could not believe what I was seeing a pair of Andean Gulls with another circling overhead, I’m glad I got that Kola out or else I would of just wet myself there and then ..!!

The location was Lake Huayllarccocha and it was time to cash in my Karma points …

I had 15 minutes with the birds and went away happy giving the man some money for letting me in ..

We then went further up the road towards Pisaq but this nagging feeling ate away at me so after 90 minutes it was a return to the small lake which is when all the grass shots took place ..

Another 15 minutes and I gave the man $20 more …

If you want to just tick n run then any suitable habitat is straight forward ..

But if you want to photograph them keep your fingers crossed and wear your lucky pants !! 

Avian Gems of the Caribbean Foothills

(Patrick O’Donnell, 18 March 2017)

Want to know a good recipe for tons of different bird species? Mix high mountains with abundant water, add warm stable temperatures, throw in a pinch of dry areas, and blend it in a place where different evolutionary lineages meet. The end result is southern Central America and in terms of birds, we get a bonanza of literally hundreds of bird species in a pretty small place.

Whether volcanic, tectonic, or both, the mountains are a vital part of the species equation. The slopes catch or prevent water from falling and thus produce conditions for different habitats and continue with habitat generation by lifting land to different elevations with accompanying cooler temperatures. Microhabitats also come out of this situation for an extra dose of biodiversity, including transition zones that have their own suites of adapted birds. One of those transition areas is my favorite habitat in Costa Rica because it blends the richness of lowland avifauna with some aspects of the highlands along with a local set of restricted bird species. Although the prospect of rare and little known birds is always a draw, the slightly cooler temperatures and dripping mossy vegetation of foothill forests likewise make them an attractive place to visit, and in Costa Rica, another bonus comes into play for birding foothill forests. While steep slopes and heavy rains make these interesting transition areas tough to access in many other parts of the globe, the rare combination of good roads and protected areas makes them one of the easier places to access when visiting Costa Rica.

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Baby Ospreys Now!

( , 5 march 2017)
Ospreys, fish-eating raptors, are breeding now on Sanibel, FL. This female is delivering fish to her partially grown young. She ate some of the fish herself first, starting with the head,  then she began to feed the babies, pulling off very small bits of fish.
The Osprey nestling period is 50-55 days. Ospreys can have from 1-4 young and eggs do not hatch at the same time. The first egg may hatch up to 5 days before the last one. The oldest hatchling dominates its siblings and may monopolize the food brought. If food is abundant food will be shared and all the chicks will survive. Ospreys breed in parts of the West and northern U.S and across Canada, and live all year in FL and parts of the Gulf Coast. You can see them migrating through much of the country.