July is often a difficult month for birders, but the month has come to an end. For many birds, breeding season is long gone and preparation for fall migration have begun.
Shyloh, of Beakingoff, summarizes the transience of summer for birders and non-birders perfectly:
It’s hard to believe that summer is nearing its end already, when it seems it only had just begun. Soon the leaves will begin to turn, snow will powder the mountain tops, and birds will begin to move again en masse.
Lucas Bobay from Birding With Bobay, announces that although “July is the worst” for birding, he was able to pick up his 301st North Carolina bird, the Dickcissel (Spiza americana):
Prairie Birder Charlotte Wasylik discusses the ethics involved with the encounter of a bird’s nest:
I was starting to get worried. It had been over a week since anyone had reported the Dickcissels, and there was no sign of them now. I drove down the road, and scanned again. I heard the classic Dickcissel flight call behind me, and started looking around frantically. I didn’t want to put this one down in the “heard only” category. Luckily, after a few seconds, I spotted the bird perched on a wire not too far from me. I edged a little closer, and got excellent views of my 301st NC bird. It was definitely worth the drive up there.
I will take about a minute to look at the contents in nest, but will spend as little time near it as possible, as my presence may attract predators, and make the parents feel so unsafe that they might decide to abandon the nesting site. I’ve found quite a few nests from small songbirds to waterfowl. I try to follow the ABA’s Code of Birding Ethics as well as the North American Photography Association (NANPA) Principles of Ethical Field Practices.
Aidan Place of PA Birding documents his recent trip to the United Kingdom,which yielded several lovely birds, including the Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)!
Auriel Fournier, of Boots and Binoculars, discusses wetland management and rails, explaining that maintaining an early successional wetland system can be difficult because “…management is part art and part science because no year is the same as the last, temperature and precipitation can cause all kinds of changes and promote different plant species.” Auriel also gave some tips on how to find rails:
One of the highlights of the trip was that there were a few footpaths which were good for birding, just a short walk out of town of Kettlewell in which we were staying. One of the paths went through a wooded riparian area along a stream where I was able to get some of the classic English woodland birds like common redstart, mistle thrush, and great and blue tits. There was also a spot which held common reed buntings along this footpath. Another footpath went up through open farmland and held many open country birds like Eurasian oystercatcher, Eurasian curlew, northern wheatear, skylark, and meadow pipit.
Your best chance of seeing the birds is in openings in the vegetation, along ditches and the edges of pools. This kind of interspersion between plants and veg creates a matrix of great habitat. Patience is crucial here. Try going out on the calmest day you can and find yourself a good spot to just wait. If you can get above the wetland, either high up on a levee or via a boardwalk that is really helpful in spotting them from afar. Look for moving vegetation and listen for calls. Once you see one, be very quiet and still, they will run/flush as soon as they can, unless they are walking under you on a boardwalk, then they often don’t care. Like this Clapper seen on South Padre Island in Texas.