Posts Tagged ‘PIB’


October 26, 2010

More pictures from the birders on our 2010 winter trips to the Pacific Northwest.  HERE YOU CAN FIND OUT ABOUT OUR TRIP IN 2011.


Brant loafing along the shore of Hood Canal, Washington State.  Photo by Steve Murray.

Male White-winged Scoter, Hood Canal.  By Steve Murray.

Harlequin couple on the rocks along Hood Canal.  Photo by Jeannie Mitchell.

Male Olds… Long-tailed Duck cruising the yacht harbor at Sequim, Washington.  Photo by Ms Mitchell.

A Glaucous-winged Gull struggles to get up enough speed to show its disapprobation of an adult Bald Eagle.  The eagle seemed to be carrying a Coot  in its talons.  This action shot by Ms Jeannie Mitchell.

Red-tailed Hawk dining on fresh rodent, Sauvie’s Island, Oregon.  Photo by Ms Mitchell.

Trumpeter Swans in flight, Sauvie’s Island, Oregon.  Photo by Ms Mitchell.

Whidbey Island beach, photo by Jennifer Hyypio.  Here we saw a large flock of Black Oystercatchers.  A flotilla of Harlequins, several species of loon and grebe fished offshore and a Pacific (nee “Winter’) Wren came down to insect-hunt in the driftwood.

Waterfowl and Weatherfouler

January 26, 2010

In the sky it was rain.   On my hat it was rain.  In the puddles it was…

7:15AM   Our PIB  birding group leaves Astoria.  Moderate rain, low visibility, near darkness.

8:00 AM  We cross Columbia River into Washington State, rain continues.  One of us spots a Kestrel perched on a pole.

8:45 AM  We stop at I-5 rest stop. Free coffee, heated rest rooms.  American Crows and American Robins in the parking lot.  Golden-crowned Kinglets respond to our calls and come down to eye level.  Light rain.

10:15 AM We arrive at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge near Lacey, WA.  Steady rain.  One Bald Eagle visible from parking lot.  Our first two Northwestern Crows* are calling yto confirm they cannot caw the way American Crows do. Pond at Visitors Center has Mallard, one Bufflehead, one Coot,concentric circles from numerous rain drops.

10:30 AM We being to walk the Nisqually trails where century-old levees have been breached to increase the area of salt water marsh in the Nisqually Delta.  Ducks now paddle over former pastures within fifty yards of the Visitors Center.  A Kestrel perches under the eave of one of the Twin Barns, out of the rain.  The rain pounds down on trees, ponds, levees, cars, birders.   Bald Eagles perch atop various cottonwoods, mostly the tallest ones.  It is hard to keep binocs or scope from clouding over with rainwater.

10:45 AM  We meet a lone birder heading back to his car, drenched and defeated by the rain and limited visibility.  Only the ducks, Canada and 3 Cackling Geese seem as ease.  Few songbirds are visible though we encounter a small gr0up of Golden-crowned Sparrows sheltered beneath large cottonwood branches.

11:15 AM  Overlooking the Nisqually River we see Common Goldeneye, the omnipresent Buffleheads, eagles perched up high.  Rain continues.  The seams in my “waterproof” jacket are starting to leak.  Both handkerchieves I use to wipe optical lenses are now soaked.

Noon    We go to lunch at the Nisqually Junction.  An NFL play-off is on the big screen TVs that line the bar walls.  Ravens are not playing, niether are the Eagles.  Rain comes in waves of hard or hardly while we eat.

1:30 PM   We begin walking the Nisqually trails again.  Did I mention the rain?  It’s cold enough that my fingers numb enough that the cold no longer hurts.  Tep somewhere in mid-forties.  More eagles.  Three or more different Harriers over the newly bulldozed shorebird scrapes.   We find a Eurasian Wigeon male among the many dabblers.  Later we see a lone Pied-billed Grebe diving among the ducks,  tightening up its plumage the grebe becomes heavier than water and slowly submarines beneath the water’s surface.

2:15 PM    Out in the sodden marsh a couple of Glaucous-winged Gulls, stand in the rain-slicked marsh.  Bald Eagles perch on the highest bare trees, sentinels of the Nisqually Basin flatlands.  Even the Blue Herons look droopy in the downpour.

3:20 PM    We’re just finishing the trail circuit, rain continues.  The boardwalks are slippery from rain.  The trees in the river bottom are furred with ferns and heavy mosses  One of our group has spotted Downy Woodpeckers.  We search.  Instead we find the a drumming Hairy Woodpecker.  Then we find the two Downys, feeding on the thinnest of limbs, dangling near the ends.  The Golden-crowned Kinglets are about the only songbirds we’ve seen feeding in the rain.

4:00 PM  We head to our last birding spot of the day. Tolmie State Park, named for Dr. Tolmie who discovered the first known specimen of the MacGillivray’s Warbler. And he collected right here on the Oympic Peninsula.  The rain continues, dusk deepens, clouds lie on Puget Sound, visibility is back to 8AM levels.  Wigeons, Bufflehead, Goldeneyes, gulls feed along the shoreline.  A female Belted Kingfisher perches above the estuary.  Slowly our wetted, dampened, washed-out birders returns to the cars and call it a day. Thanks to Kinglet curiosity insouciant woodpeckers and the newly breached dikes at Nisqually we saw a lot of birds up close.

* An excellent Sequim birder told us that the locals in the Northwest claim you have to go all the way to the Fraser River to find “Pure” Northwestern Crows.  Sort of like gulls and oaks, the crows here intermingle their genes to the point where species becomes a very vague definition.  Much like honesty in Washington D.C.

Here’s our Northwest group, in photo taken by trip host and driver Tom Bush: left to right–Mary Ellen Moore, Christie Arnold, Meredith Anderson, this blogger in back, Bryan Arnold, Jeannie Mitchell, Loran Olsen, Ron Mitchell.  In the background is the mouth of the Columbia River.  We are on viewing platform at the wind whipped South Jetty in Fort Stevens Park.

Proof that I have been to one of the few state parks in America that share a name with a bird species.  Park and MacGillivray’s Warbler binomial both honor the good Dr. Tolmie. And MacGillivray was a Scottish naturalist who wrote most of Audubon’s ORINTHOLOGY text and so got a namesake bird he had never seen.

PIB Loves Colombia Birding, and You Will Too

January 4, 2010

It’s a Yellow-eared Parrot.

Not one you’ll get for your life list in Arizona or even L. A.

Pictures are wonderful, thanks to lightweight digital cameras.  But this guy you want to see for yourself.  Neblina is PIB’s partner in the Colombian tours and they sent a scouting team across the hotspots you could see on one of our several trips.  The first one is in April of this year but we have another half dozen before the end of 2010.  We love Colombia birding.

They actually saw more than just this one parrot on their scouting trip.  On their first day out, “We  started driving up a road  to higher elevations. Our first stop was made near Jardin.  Here we observed:  Yellow-faced Grassquit, Blue–necked Tanager, heard White–throated Crake near the road, Black and White Seedeater, Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Southern Lapwing,  among other open field birds.”

Later in the trip, they spent a morning in lush jungle.

“We began a walk on a trail in the very lush Chusquea forest with an incredible number of bromeliads. This is a fine trail, but due to the heavy rain during the night before, it was a bit quiet. After some time and patience we saw: Three – striped  Warbler, Slate-throasted Whitestart, Yellow–throated Bush Tanager, Azara’s Spinetail, Unicolored Tapaculo.

 “After these birds, and a hike up a hill, Manuel [Neblina guide] spotted the Moustached Puffbird.  It was such a great bird and we all got fine scope views.  After almost 4 hours walking we were please to see the bird of the day,  Parker’s Antbird, both male and female. This bird has such bizarre  behavior.” 

The Parker’s is a Colombian endemic and considered a threatened species.

That’s why we like working with Neblina, they know their territory and keep abreast of any changes in local birding locations.  Nothing beats local knowledge when you’re looking for birds with limited range or specific habtat needs.

Bird the World With the Pros

January 4, 2010

Partnership for International Birding puts together small groups for great trips to Latin America and Africa.  This could be your chance to really see dozens of new bird species in exotic, dramatic countries.   We work hard to keep both the price and the size of the group as low as practical.  Most of our trips include fewer than a dozen birders so you don’t get stuck in the back of a huge bus while the first off see the fleeting rarities.

We also do some short trips to the hot spots of North America from Arizona and North Dakota to the Pacific Coast.  Check out our list of great trips.

There’s still time to get into our trip to Colombia this spring.

Want to add a Shoebill to your life list?  Try our Uganda trip in the autumn.