Bainbridge Sparrow hunting

There is a little spot on the Susquehanna River south of Harrisburg known for fall Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows. It’s basically a collection of small islands populated by sedges and grasses and the sparrows seem to like it. Today, the most common passerines on the islands were American Pipits and Savannah Sparrows.

The real show-stoppers today were the shorebirds, though. A friend and I managed 11 species, which is notable for an October birding excursion in Pennsylvania. For me, the most exciting find were the three juvenile Long-billed Dowitchers that foraged for a long stretch of time with both Yellowlegs. Unfortunately I forgot the memory cards for the camera and so this is the best shot of the birds I could come up with.

Long-billed Dowitcher- juvenile

American Golden-Plovers also put in a good showing, with at least six juvenile plumaged birds flying consorting with a trio of Black-bellied Plovers and Killdeer. I took some decent shots of them last week when I managed some shots of an adult transitioning out of breeding plumage.

American Golden-Plover- transitional plumage

juvenile American Golden-Plovers with Killdeer

juv American Golden-Plover

How will border fence affect Texas birding?

Amy Hooper over at WildBird on the Fly recently blogged on what a border fence could mean for the birds and birders visiting south Texas. Read her entire post here.

I think the idea of a big fence stretching hundreds or thousands of miles is a silly proposal, more like what kids playing in a sandbox would suggest. The people crossing our border are already making it through many difficult obstacles and I find it hard to believe that one more obstacle is going to make a difference.

Great Turtle Race

So I found this great website where you can follow The Great Turtle Race. It’s a little more fun than Rat Race but maybe not quite as exciting. Eleven Leatherback Sea Turtles are being tracked from the coast of Costa Rica on their journey to the Galapagos Islands. You are encouraged to cheer for one of the turtles and watch as they complete their journey via a snazzy interface that updates every 10 minutes. Widgets, like the one above, have also been created to show your support for the various turtles. Although I do like that fact that one individual has been named Stephanie Colburtle in honor of Stephen Colbert, I am really pulling for a win by Billie who is now 86 miles from the finish zone.

The Onion features birding

I guess birding has finally made it. Our sport has been featured in the great satirical newspaper, The Onion. Focusing mainly on apparent errors in the Sibley Guide to Birds it is humorous at times although not really that great. Hopefully someday birding will actually get featured in a clever satirical article, but we will have to wait.

Check out the full article here.

Far flying Godwits

Here is an exciting news clip from New Zealand. It’s nice to see birds making the news.

Bar-tailed Godwits, a shorebird that breeds in Alaska and winters in New Zealand and Australia have been tracked in their migration. The Bar-tailed Godwit is one of the species that is considered High Concern under the US Shorebird Conservation Plan due to their low breeding population of 100,000-150,000 in Alaska. Threats to their wintering grounds and migratory stopover sights in Asia, as well as their restricted breeding range in North America are also factors.

It is incredible, and in fact hard to believe, that these birds weighing in at less than a pound, can fly non-stop for a week, covering 6,000 miles (10,000 km).

Bar-tailed Godwit

Source: Point Reyes Bird Observatory
Photo credit: Changhua Coast Conservation Action

2007 List of Banished Birding Words

Check out djringer’s 2007 List of Banished Birding Words, based on Lake Superior State University‚Äôs List of Banished Words. I know I’ve been guilty of some of these.