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Day 4: Sapadillo Bay

Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands

all seasons in one day 80 °F

Today (Tuesday, January 3) was yet another fantastic day on the island of Providenciales, Turks and Caicos!

Some birding in and around Northwest Point National Park in the morning once again yielded some nice finds.

THICK-BILLED VIREO, a typical scrubland bird of the north Caribbean islands:
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Male PRAIRIE WARBLER:
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Male AMERICAN KESTREL:
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Although I was hoping it was one of the rarer dove species, this just turned out to be a MOURNING DOVE:
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SANDERLING:
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During the afternoon, we visited Sapadillo Bay, which was beautiful with water of depths of about three feet extending hundreds of yards from the shore. Although it did rain off-and-on as it sometimes does in the Caribbean, I did manage to get in a bit of birding.

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD:
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ROYAL TERN:
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RUDDY TURNSTONES:
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Stunning male PRAIRIE WARBLER that posed so well for me when I "spished" it in:
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PALM WARBLER:
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GREEN HERON:
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Unidentified shorebird. Any ideas?
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Distant BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS:
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It was another great day on the island! Bird-of-the-day goes to the beautiful Prairie Warbler with runners-up to the Black-bellied Plovers, a species I seldom get the chance to see.

Good birding,

Henry
World Life List: 929 Species (no life birds today)

Posted by skwclar 05:45 Archived in Turks/Caicos Islands Tagged american_kestrel thick_billed_vireo prairie_warbler sanderling ruddy_turnstone royal_tern mourning_dove northern_mockingbird palm_warbler green_heron black-bellied_plover Comments (1)

Day 3: From Wilson's Plovers to sea turtles!

all seasons in one day 80 °F

Today (Monday, January 2) was another fun-filled day on the beautiful tropical island of Providenciales in the Caribbean.

Some morning birding in Northwest Point National Park yielded great birds!

AMERICAN KESTRELS:
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SANDERLINGS:
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This WILSON'S PLOVER, spotted by my dad, was a life bird for both of us!
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OSPREYS:
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RUDDY TURNSTONE:
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ROYAL TERN:
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Crab in a tide pool:
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The actual Northwest Point of the island is stunning, with the sea crashing into a ledge of rocks with many beautiful tide pools:
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BLACK-FACED GRASSQUIT:
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SMOOTH-BILLED ANI, a common inhabitant of the island:
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Then, in the afternoon, my family and I went snorkeling! It was AWESOME, some of the best Caribbean snorkeling I have ever done. Some highlights included seeing 2 sea turtles, a huge sting ray, grouper fish, angelfish, and many amazing coral formations.

I also saw a few birds in the afternoon, including these BANANAQUITS:
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And this COMMON GROUND-DOVE:
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The day came to an end with an evening spotting of this hunting YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON right outside our front door!
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It was a fantastic day! Bird-of-the-day goes to my life-bird Wilson's Plover with runners-up to the Osprey & Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Honorable mention to the two sea turtles. :)

Happy birding!

Henry
World Life List: 929 Species (1 life bird today: Wilson's Plover)

List from today:

Brown Pelican
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Osprey
American Kestrel
Wilson's Plover***
Ruddy Turnstone
Sanderling
Royal Tern
Common Ground-Dove
Dove Sp.
Barn Swallow
Northern Mockingbird
Mimid Sp.
Thick-billed Vireo
Northern Parula
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Palm Warbler
Bananaquit
Black-faced Grassquit

Posted by skwclar 02:58 Archived in Turks/Caicos Islands Tagged osprey american_kestrel bananaquit sanderling wilson's_plover ruddy_turnstone royal_tern black-faced_grassquit smooth-billed_ani common_ground-dove yellow-crowned_night-heron Comments (0)

A Weekend at City of Rocks

semi-overcast 96 °F

This weekend, eight birding friends and I went on a 2-night trip to the City of Rocks National Preserve and surrounding areas in southern Idaho (and a bit in far-northern Utah). We saw many, many birds, so read on!

My friend Nubs picked me up in his awesome 28-foot RV at 11:00am on Friday, and we were soon off!
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After a three hour drive, we arrived at the campground at City of Rocks National Preserve. I soon had fun exploring the desert habitat type around the campground, and there were many cacti plants around the area:
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We went on a bird walk around the campground and found a few things including this BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER:
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My life bird JUNIPER TITMOUSE!
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Roosting COMMON NIGHTHAWK:
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Flame Skimmer:
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Then, we piled into one of the birder's cars and we drove around City of Rocks a bit. Although we didn't find our hoped-for White-throated Swifts, we did get this BREWER'S SPARROW:
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And this female/immature type LAZULI BUNTING:
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After a wonderful dinner and dessert from chef Marianne who accompanied us on our trip, we went stargazing to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower and a flyover by the International Space Station, as well as owling in search of Flammulated Owls. Luckily, we found all of our terrestrial & extraterrestrial targets for the night, with highlights being multiple meteors, a brilliant pass by the space station, and GREAT HORNED, BARN, WESTERN-SCREECH, & our hoped-for FLAMMULATED OWLS, the last of which was a life bird for me! No photos unfortunately since all of our owls were either fly-bys or heard-only (as was the case with the Flammulateds); however, it was a great night.

Five hours later, we all piled back into the car at 5:30am for a full morning of birding. We had many target birds and found a good number of them. Starting our birding day off within the Jim Sage Mountains, this DUSKY FLYCATCHER was a tough ID but a nice species:
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Male BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER! This is a photographic life bird for me as I have seen it before but never properly photographed it. We obtained soul-satisfying views and photos of this beautiful specimen.
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PLUMBEOUS VIREO, a real life bird for me! Seeing 4 of these in one day was a treat:
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The "rarest" bird of the weekend was a pair of NASHVILLE WARBLERS, which are old hat for me because I'm from Chicago; however, these are a much more uncommon sight in Idaho and all of the other birders were very excited to see them:
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JUNIPER TITMOUSE:
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RED-TAILED HAWK posing for photos very nicely:
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Pair of SAGE THRASHERS. We probably saw close to 100 of these over the weekend, which was really cool!
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We also got a total of 11 LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES, including this guy who perched really nicely for us:
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LARK SPARROWS were a pleasant sight, including this pair:
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Can you spot the GREAT BLUE HERON?
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Suddenly, as we were examining a tree full of songbirds, a huge white bird burst out of the tree and out flew a BARN OWL! Luckily, probably the same guy perched for us further down the road, allowing for distant but identifiable photos of its heart-shaped face:
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Female AMERICAN KESTREL:
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Yesterday we had a very impressive total of 10 GOLDEN EAGLES including this flyover:
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And this guy who perched for us:
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We also found my life bird FERRUGINOUS HAWK, a spectacular species which is the largest hawk in North America!
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WESTERN MEADOWLARK:
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Male MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD:
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VESPER SPARROW:
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NORTHERN HARRIER:
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A pair of WOODHOUSE'S SCRUB-JAYS, a life bird for me, flew into the campground and allowed for this photo:
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And before another fantastic dinner prepared by Marianne, I took a photo of the beautiful desert sunset:
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Today, we birded by car in the morning again and as well as beautiful birds, we birded in gorgeous areas. You can see why the preserves in the area are called City of Rocks and Castle Rocks! The landscape is truly astounding!
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LARK SPARROW:
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Female MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD:
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Female RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER:
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SPOTTED TOWHEE:
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My only life bird of the morning, WHITE-THROATED SWIFT aka "the flying cigar:"
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EASTERN KINGBIRD:
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This COOPER'S HAWK allowed for beautiful views:
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This rock has graffiti from pioneers dating back to 1843!
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This GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE perched nicely for us right on the rock:
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Overall, it was a fantastic weekend! Thank-you to Norbert Fratt (aka Nubs) for letting me stay in his wonderful RV during the trip and thank you to Jean Seymour and Kathleen Cameron for driving during the birding.

I gained six life birds on the trip:
Ferruginous Hawk
Flammulated Owl
White-throated Swift
Plumbeous Vireo
Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay
Juniper Titmouse

Stay tuned! Tomorrow I will go mountain biking with my dad in the Boulder Mountains, and then on Wednesday I will be doing a central Idaho "big day" with three other birders when we will try to find the most bird species in one day from 2:10am till late! It'll be awesome!

Good birding,

Henry
World Life List: 925 Species (6 life birds on the City of Rocks overnight trip)

Posted by skwclar 20:55 Archived in USA Tagged idaho city_of_rocks brewers_sparrow dusky_flycatcher american_kestrel common_nighthawk mountain_bluebird blue_gray_gnatcatcher juniper_titmouse lazuli_bunting black_throated_gray_warbler plumbeous_vireo nashville_warbler red_tailed_hawk sage_thrasher loggerhead_shrike lark_sparrow great_blue_heron barn_owl golden_eagle ferruginous_hawk western_meadowlark vesper_sparrow northern_harrier woodhouses_scrub_jay red_naped_sapsucker spotted_towhee white_throated_swift eastern_kingbird coopers_hawk green_tailed_towhee Comments (3)

Wood River Valley Birding

semi-overcast 77 °F

Yesterday (Monday, August 8) I did some local birding near the town of Ketchum (right next to Sun Valley), the town in which we stay every year out here in Idaho.

A bit of birding in the morning close to home yielded some nice looks at YELLOW WARBLERS:
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Juvenile YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER:
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Then, in the evening, I attended a bird walk led by Poo Wright-Pulliam and we were joined by another birding friend, Hunter who is also in high school, and two other birders. Pretty soon after arriving at the bike trail near St. Luke's Hospital, we found this male AMERICAN KESTREL:
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CEDAR WAXWING nest, very cool!
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Here is an adult waxwing:
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Female/immature type YELLOW WARBLER:
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WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE:
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This flyover COMMON NIGHTHAWK was a big surprise and it is the first flight shot I have ever obtained of a nighthawk!
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Then, we birded at the beautiful Elkhorn Pond:
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Unidentified probable "Empidonax" flycatcher (Empidonax refers to a group of hard-to-distinguish flycatchers). Maybe a Cordilleran? Does anyone have an ID?
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The bird-of-the-day, in my opinion, was this ROCK WREN which vocalized not even five minutes after I expressed interest in finding one!
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It was a very good day of birding! Thanks to Poo Wright-Pulliam for leading the evening bird walk!

Stay tuned, because today my dad and I will ride the ski lift up Mt. Balde in Ketchum, and then we will hike/bird our way down the mountain!

Good birding,

Henry
World Life List: 923 Species (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 07:20 Archived in USA Tagged flycatcher yellow_warbler yellow_rumped_warbler american_kestrel cedar_waxwing western_wood_pewee common_nighthawk elkhorn_pond rock_wren Comments (0)

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