After just having spent a week at the 21st Battalion of Rolling Plains Bobwhite Brigade, my third year there, I still find these lyrics from wha
Compiled by Alexandria Simpson and Sarah Toner
I leave here tomorrow
you still remember me?”
Skynyrd, Free Bird
Alexandria: After just having spent a week at the 21st
Battalion of Rolling Plains Bobwhite Brigade, my third year there, I still find
these lyrics from what Dr. Dale Rollins, quail expert of Texas, calls the
“national anthem of quail” echoing around my head. The RPBB’s mission is to teach kids about
quail conservation and leadership and land stewardship skills, firing them up
about saving quail. Many Texans have
watched the quail decline and from a birder’s viewpoint, it’s even worse than
just one species; many different grassland birds will disappear along with
quail. I got to spend five days helping
pass on the conservation knowledge I learned at this camp to other youth, as
well as introducing more kids to birding.
This year was extra special because for the first time in six years, we
heard the familiar “bob-bob-white!” many, many times while in the field. It seemed as though every bobwhite in the
area was giving us a salute for our work and encouraging all youth and
instructors to continue it. Other young birders were having a wonderful time birding this month as well!
Sarah: June can sometimes seem to be a month of doldrums, as migrants settle down to breed, the weather gets hotter, and the bugs become plentiful. I’m scratching quite a few bites from my recent excursions, but nesting Northern Parulas and Atlantic Puffins in Maine certainly made up for the mosquitoes!
Brendan Murtha and the New York State Young Birders Club, on Catching The Thermals, had breeding warblers, with great looks at Cerulean and Hooded Warblers, but they also had an even cooler non-bird sighting:
But, I saved the best for last. This may be one of the best wildlife sightings I have ever had. This is a Timber Rattlesnake (!) that we found basking on a ruined stonewall along one of the many Doodletown paths. This elusive snake is endangered and is rapidly declining due to habitat loss and hunting. Seeing one in the wild was truly incredible, for everyone in the group.
Other non-birds are amazing, as well. At Bill’s Birding, Bill finds some rare, localized English butterflies:
Continuing the local theme, I clocked in a visit to Fairmile Common yesterday lunchtime, in the hope of catching up with a butterfly that has so far eluded me. Like the nearby Esher Common, Fairmile Common is predominantly heathland, but despite its small size and unsightly location near the A3 motorway, it provides perfect habitat for what is possible now London's only population of the restricted Silver-studded Blue.
But wait! Migration isn’t completely dead! Craig Reed, The Midlands Birder, discovers a late flock of migrant shorebirds, along with a local rarity:
Walking into the hide at Upton Warren was rewarded immediately as a flock of 5 RINGED PLOVERS were feeding on the waters edge, apparently having only just dropped in a few minutes previously….However, the real reason for me dropping in was to get my 'fix' of one of my favorite Gulls, a stunning 2nd summer MEDITERRANEAN GULL, which was showing fairly well the entire visit, strutting its stuff around one of the main islands.
Continuing the English vagrant theme, David Campbell, from Devil Birder, visits the Isle of Wight to see a beautiful stray Wilson’s Phalarope:
Yesterday I teamed up with Liam Langley and Dan and Michael Booker for a trip to the Isle of Wight. I didn't need the target bird, Wilson's Phalarope, just being keen to see one as smart as the IoW bird. The lack of pressure was refreshing!
And, if the heat and humidity prove too much for you, you could always go inside and play with LEGOs. At Two Birders and Binoculars, Sam Brunson interviews Thomas Poulsom, a LEGO enthusiast who has been creating LEGO sets based on birds:
I have always been a fan of LEGO, and a big admirer of the natural world, I rekindled my love for LEGO two years ago and built what most boys would build, cars, trucks and spaceships, this lasted a year but being a gardener and tree surgeon and a lover of nature I wanted to build something related to my job. One day during a break from digging in a customers garden a Robin Red Breast landed on my fork handle. This was the eureka moment behind what is now the LEGO Bird Project and that evening Bobby the Robin was born.
Wild @ Heart blogger, Kristina Polk, has an interesting
post about Red-winged
Blackbirds, as well as some lovely photographs.
The most abundant native North
American bird is the enigmatic Agelaius phoeniceus: the Red-winged
Blackbird. Often overlooked by birders, this successful icterid
(passerine of the Icteridae family which includes blackbirds, meadowlarks, and
New World orioles) utilizes both marshy and grassland habitats for nesting and
Corey Husic at his Baypoll Blog writes about banding
young American Kestrels
Last year, I wrote a about my
experience banding American Kestrels in State Game Lands #205 in Lehigh County.
I had a chance to return this past Tuesday to do some birding and check the
nest boxes. The morning started out with a bird survey of the game lands that
involved five-minute point counts at about twenty locations throughout the
Luckily, most birders don’t have to experience what The
Colorblind Birder, Liam, does on a regular basis, but his post
about what it means to him should
remind us all we should appreciate we can see all colors well.
Can you picture the flaming orange
throat of a Blackburnian Warbler? The vibrant rufous on a Hermit Thrush's tail?
The purple iridescence on a Lesser Scaup's head? These are all sights a color
deficient birder like myself will never be able to experience, or at least