Monday, November 29, 2010

What do you do between fall migration and Christmas counts?

Hopefully your answer was to go birding anyway. And depending on your region and/or religion this question may be completely irrelevant.

For me this year, unfortunately, it meant mostly working on a bunch of midterms and applying for a grant from the National Science Foundation. Yuck.

Anyway that's my excuse for the hiatus from blogging...a lack of time and birds exciting enough to go see locally.

Of course birds are everywhere and you have to find a deep dark hole to miss them.

I stumbled upon this surprisingly tame Great Blue Heron at Duke Gardens on a walk with my family. Click the picture for a high-res view; you can see how banged-up their bills can get.

And I did get to go out with Robert Meehan to Falls Lake again. He promised me Rusty Blackbirds, which obligingly vanished from existence. But we did find a Lesser Black-backed Gull mixed in with some Ring-billeds and Herrings--not a bad find for the piedmont (I refuse to get excited over this bird was a new ABA bird for Robert, who claims it's only the 4th record
at Falls Lake
for Durham County, though I'm sure a fair few crusty veterans would beg to differ...see Robert's comment below)

See if you can find the Lesser Black-backed Gull in the photo! (hint: it has a black back). At least one of the other gulls thinks this is a boring (or hilarious?) game.

We also found a few late shorebirds: 2 Dunlin, a few dozen Least Sanpipers and one depressed-looking Greater Yellowlegs.

The highlight for me was a flock of about 60 American Pipits (NC bird #216 for me!)

Continuing with the game theme...

Can you guess what bird laid this egg??

Hint: I found (errr.... my guide found) this nest in the Ecuadorian Amazon at Tiputini Biodiversity Station, a rediculously spectacular (and remote!) birdwatching spot, which will be the topic of my next post. Heck, it's in the Yasuni, which rivals Peru's Manu for the title of "most biodiverse spot on the planet."

Hopefully that will bring you back for more!

Stay tuned...