FOLIO ON FOLIAGE FOR FOLLOWERS OF THE FEATHERED

July 30, 2014

TREES OF WESTERN NORTH AMERICA. By Richard Spellenberg, Christopher Earle, Gil Nelson. Princeton University Press. 560 pages. $29.95.tree bk covr This book was just published.
If you live anywhere in the western U.S. this book has any tree you might see. Whether you’re on the pacific Crest Trail, hiking Glacier National Park staring at some odd tree across the street from your nearest parking lot, the trees you see you’ll see in this book.
All the natives are here, of course. So are all the exotics whether from South Carolina or South Africa.
Good illustrations and range maps. Color depictions of leaves, bark and flowers.
And without all those trees, where would our birds be?P2090066 (1280x960)P2090078 (1280x960)
This field guide is small enough to fit into a large coat pocket or any backpack. About the size of the regional National Geographic bird guides. Has the same plasticized jacket so it will withstand your leaking water bottle or a bit of rain.
Here’s a sample of the entries on specific tree species:
tree book page
The book includes not just towering trees but many woody shrubs such as sagebrush.

P2090081 (1280x960) This last photo is a madrone going through its annual bark and leaf shedding in late summer. Did you know there are other species of madrone native to the U.S.? I had no idea until I got this book. They are the Texas and Arizona madrones and have tiny ranges compared to “my” Pacific madrone which is found from Big Sur north to British Columbia but never far from the ocean.

FOR THE BIRDS

July 27, 2014

Not even the staid New York Times can always resist the attraction of birds and birding. First they run an interview with actress Jane Alexander. What she wants to talk about is birding.

Then the travel section also has a feature piece on travel in Newfoundland. Of course, they can’t write about Newfoundland without putting Puffins into even the headline. Read that one by clicking here.

IT JUST SO HAPPENS THAT WE HERE AT PIB OFFER GREAT BIRD TRIPS TO THAT VERY SAME NEWFOUNDLAND. DID I MENTION THE ATLANTIC PUFFINS? CLICK HERE FOR DEETS.

We’ll know the NYT has finally grown up and gotten serious about the planet when they devout at least half as much space to birds and wildlife as they do millionaires competing in professional sports.

WARBLERS! WARBLERS! WARBLERS!

May 21, 2014

When thousands of birder descend on Magee Marsh each May there are many great birds to be seen: Scarlet Tanager, both cuckoos with some good luck, Eastern Screech-Owl, nesting Sandhill Cranes (we even saw one young colt) and Trumpeter Swans who population is rising, Sora, American Golden-Plover, Upland Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, nesting American Woodcock. But it’s really all about the warblers in fresh breeding plumage. Here’s proof:AMRED SID1
American Redstart of the male persuasion. Flashy is the word when he flashes those orange spots on wings and tail. No “red” in this redstart.
AMREDFLYS

BB FACE1
Bay-breasted. At least one birderin our group from Golden Gate Audubon chose this as her favorite bird.
BB SIDE1

BBRSTY1P2010399Look at the rich pattern on the bird’s back. He obligingly leaned down about six feet from my camera.

BBRSTY2

B-POL1
Blackpoll in spring finery
B-W BAK
Blac.k and White, gleaning like a nuthatch
B-W FLITE1Bw-SIDE

protho bellyAbove is the belly of the Prothonotary Warbler. Who could possibly have a more beautiful belly?

NONPAREIL PARULANOPA BK (1280x960)

NOPA-FRNT
Northern Parula.
NOPA-sing

MAN AND HIRUNDINIDAE

May 20, 2014

Humans and the family Hirundinidae (swallows and kin) have grown to become mutually helpful and even dependent. Without swallows many of our farms and cities would fill with mosquitoes and their ilk. Without man many swallows family members would lose nesting sites and thus diminish in numbers.
In North America the co-operation between humans and members of the swallow family has increased over the past two centuries. In the mid 1800s naturalists noted how the Barn Swallow had begun to nest around buildings in Northern California. Today Tree Swallows and Purple Martins regularly use nest sites provided by people. Sometimes Tree Swallows will appropriate a box first intended for bluebirds. Martins are colonial nesters so they oust House Sparrows and take over the provided tenements. Barn and Cliff Swallows regularly use manmade structures from bridge to barns to porches across their range.
martinropolis A Purple Martin tenement at Ottawa NWR, Ohio.puma gourd

PUMA FRNT A perched Martin.

trsw holeTree Swallow nesting in a natural hole.

trsw shape

trsw-onest
bars nest
Barn Sweallows working on nests on the side of a building.
bars-nest2
Many other birds now take advantage of intentional or incidental manmade nest sites: Barn, Great Horned, Great Gray and Screech Owls, European Kingfishers, many raptors nest on pylons or utility poles, Wood and other ducks, nuthatches, chickadees, bluebirds or all three species, phoebes, House Wrens, White-throated and other swifts. In Europe the most obvious building users are White Storks.

BARS-NST1

bars-onwall

All these pictures were taken during a PIB field trip to northwestern Ohio earlier in May.

SEEING RED

May 17, 2014

The Magee Marsh Boardwalk today was alive with feeding warblers as weather and insect activity brought nearly all predators down to lower levels of the forest. Most surprising were the scads of Scarlets who came down with them…Scarlet Tanagars at about fifteen feet above the ground.
SCARL-BEST

SCARL JUMP

SCARL7

SCARL8

SCARL9

SCARL-FACE

SCRLT1

SCRLT2

SCRLT4

SCRLT5

SCRLT6
SCARL-WHIRR
SCRLT-FLIZ
Our PIB tour group got twenty species of warbler in addition to many fine views of both male and female Scarlet tanagers during our hours on the Magee Marsh Boardwalk today. Magnolia, Bay-breasted and Blackburnian Warblers drew gasps of appreciation. When two Blackburnians appeared near one another I commented it was a conflagration of Blackburnians (with their flame-colored throats).

May 16, 2014

Spring here in northwest Ohio comes in many shades, from gray to grass green to brilliant red. Here are a few:
CARD-TITTufted Titmouse and Cardinal share feeder.

GRND-HOGGroundhog, known also as woodchuck. How much wood wuld a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? We await the answer.

GW-WARB1Golden-winged Warbler at Wildwoods Metropark in Toledo area. This disappearing warbler is the central figure in a conservation program headed by American Bird Conservancy.

RBWOOD1 Red-bellied Woodpecker, which has no red belly.
SOLI-SAND2Solitary Sandpiper, Ottawa NWR.

BAOR-1 Baltimore Oriole, Magee Marsh.P2000670Indigo Bunting male, Oak Openings Preserve.

All these birds seen in the first two days of the Partnership for International Birding Trip, co-sponsored by Golden Gate Audubon, to northwest Ohio for spring migration. So far we have 109 species for the two days and over 20 species of warblers seen.

KETTLES ON; KIDDIES OUTTA THE POOL

May 14, 2014

P2000598There was a kettle of immature Bald Eagles over Pointe Mouillee just south of Detroit this morning. When I first saw this phenomenon I could not imagine what was up:

BE KTTL1At one time there were six of them circling and swooping about. BE KETTLE2

BE KTTL4

BE KTTL5

BE-KTTL2

BE-KTTL7

BE-KTTL8
One of the eagles had a duck or coot and the others were hoping to make a steal. Here’s the successful predator carrying its prey.
BE CARRIES

OKAY, KIDS, OUT OF THE WATER:CAGO-FAM1

CAGO-FAM2

CAGO-FAM4

CAGO-FAM5

CAGO-FAM7

Northern Rough-winged Swallow:
NRSW-PTE.M
Osprey on nest, Pointe Mouillee
OSPR NST--PTE.M

Tomorrow we begin the PIB trip to northwestern Ohio, co-sponsored by Golden gate Audubon.

May 13, 2014

forter1 Forster’s Tern fishing along Metzger Marsh, Ohio.

forter2

forter3

forter4

forter5

eso -monEastern Screech-Owl sleeping.

howr nstHouse Wren at its nest hole.

howr nst2

howr
Wren on ground hunting for building materials.
howr2 (2)
The five of us here at Magee Marsh’s bird festival from Partnership for International Birding and Neblina Forest Tours had a combined species list of 179. Tomorrow two of us begin leading tour for clients from California, Colorado and Florida–here to see the warblers and their friends.

BLACK AND WHITE IN FLIGHT

May 12, 2014

Along the Magee Marsh the word “beauty” is often spoken…with conviction not irony. With awe not sarcasm. It is a strange and wondrous thing to see so many adults admitting to the beauty of something so small, so valueless in monetary terms and so ephemeral as a migrating warbler less than six inches long:B-POL1 Blackpoll above. Bay-breasted male beliow:
BB FACE1

BB SIDE1

BBRSTY1

BBRSTY2

THIS MAY BE MY BEST PICTURE EVER:

B-W FLITE1This is a Black and White Warbler flying toward me through the trees.

AMRED SID1
American Redstart
AMREDFLYS
More Black and White
B-W BAK

Bw-SIDE

KITE!

May 11, 2014

_K8O6571

_K8O6572

_K8O6573

_K8O6574 These four photos were taken by Michel Lussier, a birder from Montreal, We were all standing at the PIB table under the tent at Ottawa NWR,


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