November 2014 Rio Grande Valley Trip Report

Green Jay shucking seeds - Sabal Palm Sanctuary - Brownsville TX - 2014-11-17

Green Jay shucking seeds – Sabal Palm Sanctuary – Brownsville TX – 2014-11-17 photo by Greg Miller

I led a trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas November 16-23 for Wildside Nature Tours.  We had a very chilly start but ended up with a nice list of birds.  Here’s my trip report.  If you are stuck inside on a cold evening, this will probably warm you up a little.  Texas birds are pretty magical.  I bet you’ll sleep better.

Texas – Lower Rio Grande Valley with Greg Miller – Nov 16-23 2014 (corrected)

I am here in Florida this weekend.  I will meet Kevin Loughlin in a day or two to set up the booth for Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival here in Titusville, Florida January 21-26, 2015.

2014 Ecuador Trip Report

Sword-billed Hummingbird hovering - Guango EC - 2014-08-14

Thee Creature of Extreme Awesomeness“, Sword-billed Hummingbird hovering – Guango EC – 2014-08-14 photo by Greg Miller

Nothing like a little shooting at the local mall to keep me indoors long enough to complete a trip report on the most phenomenal birding adventure I have ever experienced.  Ecuador.  It is a fantastic place full of thousands of orchids, fresh fruit all year (no seasons), deliciously strong, dark coffee, 16,000-foot mountains with cloud forests in the West, the Amazon Basin rainforests in the East, many wonderful people, and bird diversity like nowhere else in the Western Hemisphere (and arguably, the World).

Northern Ecuador – Andes & Amazon – Aug 2014

 

eBird Ranked List of North American Birds

A couple weeks ago I posted the Top 100 Most Reported Species in eBird in North America.  It was data from all years 1900-2012 as of 2/22/2013.  I actually summed up the total of all positive checklists for every species in North America reported to eBird (restricted to only species listed on the American Birding Association’s Checklist of Birds of the ABA Area). Today I am making a file available that lists all 932 ABA species reported to eBird during that time period.  This is a CSV file (comma separated values) so you can download it and put it into most spreadsheets.  Even if you do not have a spreadsheet, you can still view the file as a text file.

North American Species Ranked By Positive Checklists 1900-2012

More about this to come. I gotta to pack to head to Florida.  See you all at Space Coast!

Top 100 Most Reported Species in eBird in North America

Have you ever wondered what birds were most commonly reported to eBird?  I have collected data from eBird for the years 1900-2012 (all months/weeks) as of 2/2/2013. Data has been rolled up by State/Province for the Lower 48 States, all of Canada, and Alaska (but not Hawaii).

Yes. I know 2015 is almost here and this is data through 2012. But I’ve done all this in my “spare” time. I will update it when I get a chance. For now, I find this stuff still very fascinating.  Oh, one other thing.  This is still 2012 taxonomy, too.

The number of positive checklists (those checklists submitted indicating a positive sighting–either 1 or more birds) has been summed for each species out of nearly 6 million checklists.  Want to know the species with the most positive checklists?  The birds that are most commonly reported in all of North America?  Here you go! Continue reading

A Contemplative Christmas – 2014

white trumpet-shaped daylily with drops faded filter- Holmes Co OH - 2014-07-02

white trumpet-shaped daylily with drops – Holmes Co OH – 2014-07-02 Photo by Greg Miller

Earlier in my life I discovered just how amazingly easy it was to be lonely. Lonely is no respecter of persons. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are, or the color of your skin, or whether you are male or female, or where you work, etc. I found out that loneliness doesn’t have anything to do with how many people are around either. I was shocked at how lonely one can feel while married. Or in a crowd. Continue reading

Help the Kirtland’s Warbler!

Kirtland's Warbler - Kelleys Island OH - 2014-05-13 photo by Lee Wallace

Kirtland’s Warbler – Kelleys Island OH – 2014-05-13 photo by Lee Wallace

The Kirtland’s Warbler is going to be taken off the Endangered Species List! What!?!? Yes. It’s true. In both 2012 & 2013 there were more than 2,000 singing males counted. That is double the original objective from the 1960s. Now there is planning for this to happen.  Unfortunately, the Kirtland’s Warbler success story is still heavily reliant on human intervention. What can be done without the Government’s help? There is still hope.  Read on about how we all can be involved.

Here’s a nice article by Howard Meyerson of The Grand Rapids Press: Endangered Kirtland’s Warblers: Looking good, but what lies ahead

Here is the latest info from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Endangered Species page for the Kirtland’s Warbler

Michigan Audubon will be giving guided tours to see Kirtland’s Warblers this year (2014): Guided Tours for Kirtland’s Warbler 2014

The Kirtland’s Warbler Initiative (thanks to Huron Pines) was designed to smoothly transition the efforts to continue conservation of the Kirtland’s Warbler after it becomes delisted from the Endangered Species List.

Michigan DNR is looking for public input on the new conservation plan in this Petosky News article: Public invited to provide input on new Kirtland’s Warbler Conservation Plan

Come join me this Thursday (June 12, 2014) in Grayling, Michigan to help make this a safe ride for the Kirtland’s Warbler.
Kirtland’s Warbler Home Opener
Join me to help the Kirtland’s Warbler!
Thursday, June 12, 6:30-8:30pm
Ramada Inn, Grayling, Michigan

2014 Optics Fling by Time & Optics

2014-06-05 14.17.41

Today (June 5, 2014) & Tomorrow (June 6, 2014)!  Optics Fling by Time & Optics.

6954 CR77, Millersburg, OH 44654 PH 330-674-0210

Here’s a schedule as of late last night:

*Sign up for trips on site as spaces are available (first come – first served)
*Field trips are limited to 10 – 25 people depending on the destination
*Food provided by South Mount Hope School (food is by donation and the proceeds will benefit the school). A local Amish family will also be making kettle corn. (YUM!)
*LOADS of optics to try before you buy!
*Used Book Sale

Field Trips and Book Signing Schedule

FRIDAY

8:15
Mohican Hotspots (4 – 5 hours)
Leaders: Hallie Mason, Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman

9:15
Killbuck and Funk (3 hours)
Leaders: Bob and Denise Lane and Aden Yoder

9:15 AM – Leihley Hill and Dundee Field (2 – 3 hours)
Leaders: Greg Miller and Su Snyder

10:15 AM local Barn Owl and Bobolink Trip (1 hour)
Leader: Bruce Stambaugh

1:15 PM Leihley Hill and Dundee Field (2-3 hours)
Leaders: Bob and Denise Lane and Aden Yoder

2:15 and 3:15 Barn Owl and Bobolink (1 hour)
Leader: Bruce Stambaugh

4:00 – 5:00 PM Book Signing with Kenn and Kimberly, Greg Miller, and David Klein

SATURDAY

Same Field Trip Schedule but leaders may change
Book Signing from 11 – 1:00 PM (same authors)

More information can be found at the Optics Fling web page.

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and… Wait. That's some 1960's movie. But Biggest Week in American Birding is almost here. And really these little gems called warblers decorate the trees and fill the air with song. In short, they make me happy. Here are a few birds I got photos of in 2013. Enjoy! Continue reading

2014 April Road Trip

Some Upcoming Events

High Plains Snow Goose Festival Feb 20, 2014 Lamar, CO
Beckham Bird Club Annual Dinner Mar 11, 2014 Louisville, KY
Big O Birding Festival Mar 13, 2014 LaBelle, FL
Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival Mar 20-23, 2014 Spring Hill, FL
Road Trip from Ohio to Arizona
watch for updates on my Facebook page!
Apr 11-23, 2014 OH to AZ
Verde Valley Birding and Wildlife Festival Apr 24-27, 2014 Cottonwood, AZ
Biggest Week in American Birding May 6-15, 2014 Oregon, OH
Acadia Birding Festival May 29-Jun 1, 2014 Bar Harbor, ME
Ecuador: Northern Andes and Amazon with Greg Miller
trip is a “go”! only a few spots remain
Aug 8-23, 2014 Quito, Ecuador
2014 April Road Trip

2014 April Road Trip

Yep.  I am hitting the road again.  Another 5,000 miles and lots of birds!  I will be making some updates here, but hope to update Facebook & Twitter daily.  I hope you will be able to follow me vicariously.  And, for those of you in my path, maybe you can bird with me.  Much of this itinerary is in flux–quite optional.  I’m hoping to have some fun seeing and photographing birds along the way.  I just got a PhoneSkope adapter for my iPhone and Swarovski telescope.  This will be a good test and you all will be my Quality Assurance team to rate the pictures.  And I will be eBirding along the way, too.

Tonight I am doing laundry and packing.  I will be leaving tomorrow morning.  Here is my tentative itinerary:

Fri Apr 11 - Sugarcreek OH to Bowling Green KY (420 miles)
Sat Apr 12 - Bowling Green KY to Little Rock AR (411 miles)
Sun Apr 13 - Little Rock AR to Keller TX (351 miles)
Mon Apr 14 - Keller TX to Beaumont TX (314 miles)
Tue Apr 15 - Birding at High Island TX (86 miles r/t)
Wed Apr 16 - Beaumont TX to Corpus Christi TX (291 miles)
Thu Apr 17 - Birding in Corpus Christi TX
Fri Apr 18 - Birding in Corpus Christi TX
Sat Apr 19 - Corpus Christi TX to Fort Stockton TX (457 miles)
Sun Apr 20 - Fort Stockton TX to Tucson AZ (556 miles)
Mon Apr 21 - Birding in SE AZ
Tue Apr 22 - Birding in SE AZ
Wed Apr 23 - Tucson AZ to Cottonwood AZ (219 miles)
Thu Apr 24 - Verde Valley Birding Festival in Cottonwood AZ
Fri Apr 25 - Verde Valley Birding Festival in Cottonwood AZ
Sat Apr 26 - Verde Valley Birding Festival in Cottonwood AZ
Sun Apr 27 - Verde Valley Birding Festival in Cottonwood AZ
Mon Apr 28 - Cottonwood AZ to Albuquerque NM (387 miles)
Tue Apr 29 - Birding in Albuquerque NM
Wed Apr 30 - Albuquerque NM to Oklahoma City OK (541 miles)
Thu May  1 - Oklahoma City OK to Rolla MO (394 miles)
Fri May  2 - Rolla MO to Lexington KY (441 miles)
Sat May  3 - Birding NE KY
Sun May  4 - Lexington KY to Sugarcreek OH (291 miles)
Mon May  5 - Sugarcreek OH to Oak Harbor OH (125 miles)
Tue May  6-15 - Biggest Week in American Birding

On Making Missteaks

Blue-winged Teal male nice reflection - Viera Wetlands - Melbourne FL - 2014-01-27 IMG_4019

Blue-winged Teal male nice reflection – Viera Wetlands – Melbourne FL – 2014-01-27 photo by Greg Miller

Some Upcoming Events

High Plains Snow Goose Festival Feb 20, 2014 Lamar, CO
Beckham Bird Club Annual Dinner Mar 11, 2014 Louisville, KY
Big O Birding Festival Mar 13, 2014 LaBelle, FL
Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival Mar 20-23, 2014 Spring Hill, FL
Road Trip from Ohio to Arizona
watch for updates on my Facebook page!
Apr 11-23, 2014 OH to AZ
Verde Valley Birding and Wildlife Festival Apr 24-27, 2014 Cottonwood, AZ
Biggest Week in American Birding May 6-15, 2014 Oregon, OH
Acadia Birding Festival May 29-Jun 1, 2014 Bar Harbor, ME
Ecuador: Northern Andes and Amazon with Greg Miller
registration closes April 10!
Aug 8-23, 2014 Quito, Ecuador

Aack!  I am at a hawk watch and I just misidentified a Red-tailed Hawk as a Red-shouldered Hawk.  Oh, my!  I just pointed out a Lesser Yellowlegs and it called and it was really a Greater Yellowlegs.  Sigh.  I just posted a picture of a bird that I identified as a Song Sparrow but really it was a Savannah Sparrow.

How frustrating!  Making mistakes in front of other birders makes you feel foolish, embarrassed, and very self-conscious.  But how can you avoid birding mistakes?  Just give up trying?  Let someone else call out the birds?  Don’t lead any more bird walks?  Just stay silent every time you are with a group?  Stop birding altogether?  Hopefully you haven’t considered quitting. Continue reading