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A SERVICE OF THE OUTDOOR WIRE DIGITAL NETWORK
WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 2018
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BIRDING NEWS
Utah: Attend the Flaming Gorge Osprey Watch at Flaming Gorge Reservoir July 14

Come see Ospreys, in the air and on top of their huge nests, at the annual Flaming Gorge Osprey Watch. The free event will be held July 14 from 9 am to noon, next to the parking lot at the Flaming Gorge Dam Visitor Center. The visitor center is in the city of Dutch John, at the south end of Flaming Gorge Reservoir in northeastern Utah.

July eBirder Challenge

This month’s challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, encourages birders to get into the field this month and submit eBird lists for July, one of the months when the fewest eBird lists are recorded. The temps may be hot, but the birding may be hot too!

Michigan: Attend the Bird Photography Workshop August 18 and 19

Learn more about photographing birds by attending a photo workshop at P.J. Hoffmaster State Parks’ Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center in Muskegon, Michigan, on August 18 and 19. The workshop will explain effective use of photo equipment, photography techniques, and it will introduce RAW processing and editing.

 

Citizen Donates 6,200 Acres to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida

Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, waterfowl and hundreds of other species of birds will benefit from a recent land donation of ecologically critical pinelands and headwaters adjoining St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge from businessman Sam Shine. This land is particularly beneficial in that it connects refuge land to property protected by The Nature Conservancy, which in turn abuts the state-owned Aucilla Wildlife Management Area.

Yellowstone Park’s Iconic Trumpeter Swans Face Population Collapse

The dominoes are falling in Yellowstone National Park and birds are paying the price. It’s a bizarre story that starts when non-native lake trout suddenly appeared in Yellowstone Lake and reduced numbers of native cutthroat trout by 90 percent. As a result most Ospreys have left the park, but Bald Eagles have shifted their diet to other species of birds, with decimating effects on Trumpeter Swans, California Gulls, Caspian Terns and even Common Loons.
 

Zeiss Co-Sponsors 10th Annual Young Birder’s Event at Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Talk about a dream come true for young birders! Up to 16 high school birders will spend July 12 to15 at the legendary Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York, participating in field trips, presentations by Lab staff, workshops about eBird, taking field notes, and sound recording, plus a tour of the facility.

National Geographic’s “Year of the Bird” July Theme: Introduce Children to Birding

Introduce children to nature and build their interest in birds and other wild animals. This month's “Year of the Bird” theme encourages us to take a child on an outdoor adventure, whether it's a walk in the park, a hike in a natural area or a camping trip.

2018–2019 Federal Duck Stamp and Junior Duck Stamp on Sale Now!

Birders may now purchase the new Duck Stamp to help protect habitats across the country. Also known as the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, the winning image of Mallards painted by three-time Duck Stamp artist Robert Hautman from Minnesota is featured on the Federal Duck Stamp ($25), which raises money for habitat purchases and easements to support waterfowl and other birds and wildlife.

Swarovski Optik Birder of the Year Prize is a Birding Trip to Costa Rica

Ed Kanze from New York has won the Swarovski Optik Birder of the Year contest with his essay, "Find a Bird, Get a Life," which was published in Bird Watcher's Digest. Swarovski and Bird Watcher’s Digest have teamed to find extraordinary birding experiences in North America by seeking essays from readers.


BIRDING WEEK
Birds of the Week: Wilson’s Phalaropes

Phalaropes may be the most spectacular of all shorebirds, not only because of their colorful breeding plumage, buoyant flights and lobed toes, but especially because of their surprising sexual role reversals. Females are slightly larger than males, and during the nesting season they are much more colorful.


CONSERVATION
Duck Stamp Dollars Protect Habitat for More than Waterfowl

All birders should buy an annual Duck Stamp for $25; in turn, enlightened conservationists find and purchase the highest quality habitats in the country for waterfowl and all birds and other wildlife. In most cases, the protected habitat is open to the public as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.


EDITORS AFIELD
Join the Editors for a Discussion of This Week’s Birding Highlights

A couple memorable sightings stand out: A female Northern Harrier diving at a Golden Eagle as it soared along the edge of a steep Badlands cliff; adult Rock Wrens feeding two fledglings on a wind-carved sandstone outcrop; and an American Kestrel in flight holding unusual prey in its talons – a small snake – with a Western Kingbird diving at the mini-falcon on the wing.


EVENTS
Hummingbird festival at Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary

The Indiana Audubon will be hosting the inaugural Hummingbird Migration Celebration at Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary on Saturday, August 11.


GEAR & PRODUCTS
Hurry! Zeiss $100 Binocular Rebate Expires July 15!

The Zeiss Freedom Days promotion offers a $100 instant rebate on the purchase of the TERRA ED 10x42 binocular.


OPTICS
The Right Binoculars Can Give You the Best Low Light Advantage

How can we be sure we’re getting the most out of our binoculars under low light conditions? The two numbers that describe your binocular, say 8x40, combine to affect the brightness of the image you see, an important point for birders.


PHOTOGRAPHY
Be Ready for the Magic Moments, Then Edit and Share Your Best Images

For decades I’ve hoped to photograph a colorful Ring-necked Pheasant crowing. I’ve seen males crow many times and it’s a spectacular behavior to witness, but it’s another thing to be in position to photograph the action. So I’m always on the alert when I’m close to a beautiful rooster in season. This spring I was surprised when a strutting Ring-neck permitted me to approach it closely as it walked gallantly across a grassy opening in an overgrown wooded area.


RARE BIRDS
ABA’s Rare Bird Alert

Texas birders enjoyed views of a Northern Jacana at Hildalgo. These unique waterbirds have exceptionally long toes and claws that permit them to walk across lily pads floating on the water’s surface. Northern Jacanas normally range from Mexico south through Central America and east to Caribbean isles.


YARD BIRDS
Summer Suet Can Attract a Variety of New Birds

Diversifying the foods at your feeding station can really pay off by attracting birds that might otherwise not visit. Summer suet, also known as no-melt suet, is a great way to add some new excitement to your summer yard. No-melt suet is my favorite option in the sandhills of South Carolina, where summer is hot and humid.


YOUR LIBRARY
Book Review: The Narrow Edge – A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab and an Epic Journey

The relationship twists and turns in The Narrow Edge are almost as complicated and surprising as those in a Harlequin romance novel. Join author Deborah Cramer as she explores the fascinating connection between Hemisphere-trotting shorebirds and the living fossils upon which their survival depends.


Reader's Photos

We Thank Our Readers for Sharing Recent Bird Photos!

A King Rail was photographed by Gip Young at the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, Georgia.

 

A macro view of an American Robin nestling was photographed by Jessica Demarjian in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
 

If you have a photo or birding experience you would like to share, please send it to The Birding Wire at editorstbw2@gmail.com



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Many Local Public Hotspots Provide Super Birding Opportunities
 
Black-necked Stilt

 

When you’re up for a birding break and have a free afternoon, where do you go and how do you get around? What birds are you most interested in finding, studying or photographing? Many local parks and preserves provide birders with the opportunity to enjoy birding via different modes: walking, biking, kayaking, auto touring – you know the options. Southern California, my second home, is where my favorite “birding loop” is classic and worth sharing as an example of a great plan for a free afternoon:

After spending a weekend midday watching the action and socializing with friends at the beach volleyball court in Seal Beach, south of Los Angeles, I often feel the call of the wild. As the sun begins its afternoon “descent” and the light gets right for photography, I often begin a birding drive a short distance down Pacific Coast Highway to Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve on the north side of Huntington Beach. The fresh, brackish and saltwater wetlands at Bolsa Chica attract a fun assortment of birds during the nesting season and winter, as well as during spring and fall migrations.

 
Black Skimmer

 

The opportunity to walk along expansive wetland edges provides good exercise, although the birding is usually so good you don’t hike very far before you’re drawn to the avifauna. Bolsa Chica provides great viewing and photography opportunities for Black Skimmers, California Least Terns, Elegant Terns, Western and Heermann’s Gulls, Brown Pelicans, Western Grebes, Surf Scoters and other ducks, rare Ridgeley’s Rails, and a variety of sandpipers and wading birds that varies through the seasons.

Recently, Reddish Egrets have been a favorite addition to the avifauna, probably originating from a Mexican population to the south. Some winters, one or more species of loons can be found, including Pacific, Red-necked and Common Loons. Raptors are common, including Ospreys, White-tailed Kites, Northern Harriers and occasional Peregrine Falcons. When you’ve walked enough, you can languish on the boardwalk that bisects the vast wetland area and wait for the birds to come to you.

After a short drive farther south on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) to Newport Beach, I enjoy unloading my bicycle to take advantage of the bike route through another birding hotspot, the Upper Newport Bay. This expansive coastal wetland dictated by daily tide cycles, attracts a variety of ducks, wading birds and sandpipers that is ever-changing through the year. Raptors tend to soar along the cliffs that line the east side of the bay above the bike route, which is especially rewarding for me. A hike into the associated uplands may yield a couple special species, California Gnatcatchers and Allen’s Hummingbirds. A fun option for some people is to kayak into the “Back Bay” for water/bird action (there are rentals available on the bay, and birds are protected in no-kayak areas).

Last stop on my Orange County coastal birding loop is the nearby San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine, California. Elevated trails permit visitors to walk between or around many freshwater lagoons that attract White Pelicans, Black Skimmers, Elegant Terns, a variety of ducks including Cinnamon Teal, and many species of shorebirds including Spotted Sandpipers, Black-necked Stilts and American Avocets. Shrubs and trees along the hiking trails through the north and west portions of the sanctuary attract many interesting birds varying from Anna’s Hummingbirds, Bushtits, Yellow-breasted Chats, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, wintering warblers and many more. Other favorites in the area are White-faced Ibis and nesting Ospreys, and rare avian visitors include spectacular Vermillion Flycatchers some years.

 
Cinnamon Teal

 

It’s interesting to note that San Juaquin also tends to attract some attention-grabbing introduced species, including Egyptian Geese, Mandarin Ducks, Orange Bishops, Yellow-crowned Bishops, and Scaly-breasted Munias. Should you find yourself at San Juaquin, be sure to visit the Audubon House (a favorite of mine), which is operated adjacent to the parking lot by the Sea & Sage Audubon Chapter. You’ll find free hiking maps, a list of rare birds sighted in the area recently, a great library of bird books, and a host of similar books and other birding items to check out or purchase.

Whether you’re hiking, biking, kayaking or driving, a couple hours can yield great birding and photo opportunities close at hand. Of course, when I’m limited by time or geography, I can limit my outing to just one of my three Orange County birding favorites for a quick bird-based outing. It may take a while for you to come up with your own favorite birding route near your home, but be sure to enjoy your next birding adventure soon.

Article and photos by Paul Konrad

How does birding fit into your lifestyle? Do you have a favorite birding hotspot? Share your observations and photos at editorstbw2@gmail.com



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July 14
New York City Audubon It's Your Tern Festival
Governors Island, New York
July 28
Annual High Country Hummers Festival
Eagar, Arizona
Aug. 1 - Aug. 4
Southwest Wings Annual Birding and Nature Festival
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Aug. 8 - Aug. 12
Southeast Arizona Birding Festival
Tucson, Arizona
Aug. 11
Indiana Audubon Hummingbird Migration Celebration
Connersville, Indiana
Aug. 18 - Aug. 19
RaptorFest
Silt, Colorado
Aug. 19 - Aug. 26
Vancouver International Bird Festival
Vancouver, Canada
Aug. 23 - Aug. 26
Davis Mountains Hummingbird Celebration
Fort Davis, Texas
Aug. 24 - Aug. 26
Plumas Audubon Society Grebe Festival
Chester, California
Aug. 30 - Sept. 2
Yampa Valley Crane Festival
Steamboat Springs & Hayden, Colorado
Sept. 3
Labor Day Observed, No Wires
Sept. 7 - Sept. 9
Hummingbird Migration and Nature Celebration
Holly Springs, Mississippi
Sept. 7 - Sept. 9
Princeton Whooping Crane Festival
Princeton, Wisconsin
Sept. 8 - Sept. 9
Audubon Society of Rhode Island's Nature Center and Aquarium Raptor Weekend
Bristol, Rhode Island
Oct. 8
Columbus Day Federal Holiday - No Wires
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