Nature Notes

June 17, 2017

Red Canyon, Utah

Filed under: Landscape,Utah — Tags: , , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am


Red Canyon, Utah

Red Canyon, Utah

Going to the mountains is going home” – John Muir

Red Canyon is part of the Dixie National Forest and is about nine miles from Bryce Canyon.It is an area of red sandstone spire amongst groves of Ponderosa Pines, and includes an excellent selection of trails.

Red Canyon, UtahRed Canyon, UtahRed Canyon, UtahRed Canyon, Utah

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February 16, 2017

Birding La Brenne, France

Filed under: Birds,France — Tags: , , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am
Purple Heron

Purple Heron

The Parc naturel régional de la Brenne is a large area in central France which includes some important wetlands, woodlands and grasslands, as well as many small villages and agricultural areas.

Driving the tree shaded back roads, you will encounter Common Wood-Pigeon, Eurasian Turtle-Dove, the strange and wonderful Hoopoe, Yellowhammer and Eurasian Jay, and common birds like the Chaffinch, Eurasian Blackbird and European Goldfinch.

More open fields host Red-legged Partridge, Red-backed Shrike, Black Kite and Eurasian Buzzard.

There is a visiter center near Saint-Michel-en-Brenne which has a boardwalk over the marsh as well as a number of hides in the area. You may see Black-headed Gull, Great-crested, Eared and Little Grebes, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Reed-Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Gray Heron and Purple Heron,  and Little Egret.

I would recommend it as a fine way to spend a day.


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December 22, 2016

Grand Canyon NP, Arizona

Filed under: Arizona,Landscape — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am
Grand Canyon NP, Arizona

Grand Canyon NP, Arizona

We have an unknown distance yet to run, an unknown river to explore.
– John Wesley Powell

Although we only had a few hours to visit this great spectacle, it was still worthwhile. I had not been there for many years, and the crowds had become horrendous, the downside of the experience.

Grand Canyon NP, Arizona

Grand Canyon NP, Arizona

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November 25, 2016

Newfoundland- Trinity Bay

Filed under: Landscape,Lighthouse,Newfoundland — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

Trinity Bay

Trinity Bay area is one of the very picturesque areas of Newfoundland, and the town of trinity has some fifty buildings of historical significance. It was the location for the filming of the movie “Shipping News”. Nearby, you can visit the set of the recently filmed series “Random Passage”

Trinity BightTrinity BightTrinityTrinity LighthouseTrinity

For nature lovers and photographers, the are is excellent for seabirds, whales and sometimes icebergs.

Lupines in Trinity Bay

 
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September 26, 2015

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Filed under: Argentina,Landscape — Tags: , , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am
Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls is a complex of about 275 separate waterfalls on the Iguazu River on the Argentina-Brazil border. Both Argentina and Brazil have established  National Parks on their respective portions of the falls and they have done an excellent job of preserving the area, particularly when you consider the huge number of visitors it has each year.

Compromises have been made to accommodate the tourist traffic. A small train takes people from the visitors center on the Argentine side to the portion known as the Devil’s Throat, as well as a stop to the other two main falls trails. This eliminates the need for buses in this area.

The Falls themselves can be reached by a system of catwalks and lookouts which provide excellent views to various portions of the falls while remaining fairly unobtrusive, They are all accessible to the disabled.

One thing that is obtrusive is the helicopter rides leaving every seven minutes from the Brazil side. They are very noisy, pollutive, and disruptive of the wildlife. Only one one helicopter is allowed in the air at once, an improvement from past years when as many as eight would be airborne, but they are still a very jarring element.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina Iguazu Falls, Argentina Iguazu Falls, Argentina Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Iguazu Falls, Argentina Iguazu Falls, Argentina Iguazu Falls, Argentina Iguazu Falls, Argentina

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August 11, 2015

Ecuador – La Selva

Filed under: Birds,Ecuador — Tags: , , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

Tropical Screech-Owl

The following report is based on a trip to La Selva Lodge on the Napo River Amazon area from Oct 14-18, 2000. I had a number of requests from chatters to comment on the state of La Selva’s facilities and their new observation tower.

La Selva seems well organized in providing adequate food and shelter for up to 25 guests daily. The meals were quite good and varied. The cabanas were adequate but very basic. The trails were extensive, and although the main trail near the lodge obviously has high use, the animal life doesn’t seem seriously degraded. There are also extensive trails farther from the lodge as well as across the Napo River, which receive far less use.

The tree, which supported the old observation tower, had developed a crack and the tower became unusable earlier this year. La Selva has built a new tower which is about fifteen minutes walking distance from the lodge. It seems like a good placement is high enough to look down onto the main part of the canopy.

During my stay there, there was a tour group from Birdquest with their own very competent leader while the rest of the guests were not primarily birders. This resulted in my being able to spend all my time there exclusively with a local native guide named Olger. He had extensive knowledge of the birdlife including their calls, and a remarkable ability to imitate and attract birds. This was invaluable in pulling in hard to see Antbirds, Ovenbirds, Antthrushes and Woodcreepers.

In talks with others concerning La Selva and nearby La Sacha, the general conclusion seemed to be that the cabanas and food were of higher standard at La Sacha, but that birds were more extensive at La Selva.

The following list contains a few species, which were heard only (as marked), I have included them as they may be of interest.

Sunbittern

Sunbittern, Eurypyga helias

Great Tinamou
Cinereous Tinamou
Undulated Tinamou …Heard only
Variegated Tinamou
Bartlett’s Tinamou
Capped Heron
Cocoi Heron
Great Egret

Striated Heron

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Rufescent Tiger-Heron

Turkey Vulture

Greater Yellow-headed Vulture
Osprey

Swallow-tailed Kite

Slate-colored Hawk
Black Caracara
Red-throated Caracara
Yellow-headed Caracara

Barred Forest-Falcon

Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon
Little Chachalaca
Spix’s Guan …Heard only

Grey-winged Trumpeter

Gray-winged Trumpeter, Psophia crepitans

Marbled Wood-Quail
Hoatzin Numerous around lake by Lodge
Rufous-sided Crake …Heard only on river islands
Gray-necked Wood-Rail

Sungrebe …On Lake by Lodge
Southern Lapwing

Lesser Yellowlegs

Least Sandpiper

Yellow-billed Tern
Black Skimmer
…Sand bars on Napo River
Pale-vented Pigeon

Plumbeous Pigeon
Ruddy Pigeon
Ruddy Ground-Dove

White-tipped Dove

Sapphire Quail-Dove …Heard only
Ruddy Quail-Dove
Blue-and-yellow Macaw

Scarlet Macaw
Chestnut-fronted Macaw
Red-bellied Macaw
Dusky-headed Parakeet
Dusky-billed Parrotlet

Blue-necked Tanager

Blue-necked Tanager, Tangara cyanicollis

Cobalt-winged Parakeet
Black-headed Parrot
Orange-cheeked Parrot
Blue-headed Parrot
Yellow-crowned Parrot

Orange-winged Parrot
Mealy Parrot
Squirrel Cuckoo

Greater Ani

Smooth-billed Ani

Tropical Screech-Owl

Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
Long-tailed Potoo
Sand-colored Nighthawk … Dusk on lake by lodge
Pauraque
Ladder-tailed Nightjar …Easily approached on river islands
White-collared Swift

Pale-rumped Swift
Short-tailed Swift
Fork-tailed Palm-Swift
Pale-tailed Barbthroat …Another dining room visiter
Straight-billed Hermit

Rufescent Tiger-Heron

Rufescent Tiger-Heron,Tigrosoma lineatum

White-necked Jacobin
Fork-tailed Woodnymph
Olive-spotted Hummingbird
White-tailed Trogon

Violaceous Trogon
Black-throated Trogon
Blue-crowned Trogon1
Ringed Kingfisher

Amazon Kingfisher

Blue-crowned Motmot

White-eared Jacamar
White-chinned Jacamar
Purplish Jacamar
Great Jacamar … Calling but very hard to finally locate
Collared Puffbird
White-fronted Nunbird
Yellow-billed Nunbird
Swallow-wing
Black-spotted Barbet
Lemon-throated Barbet
Ivory-billed Aracari
Many-banded Aracari
Golden-collared Toucanet

Golden-headed Quetzal

Golden-headed Quetzel, Pharomachrus auriceps

Cuvier’s Toucan
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker
Little Woodpecker
Chestnut Woodpecker
Cream-colored Woodpecker
Crimson-crested Woodpecker

Lesser Hornero
Dark-breasted Spinetail
Rufous-tailed Foliage-gleaner
Tawny-throated Leaftosser
Black-tailed Leaftosser
Plain-brown Woodcreeper

Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Long-billed Woodcreeper
Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper
Straight-billed Woodcreeper
Striped Woodcreeper
Buff-throated Woodcreeper
Great Antshrike
Cocha Antshrike …A wary bird finally whistled in
White-shouldered Antshrike
Mouse-colored Antshrike
Cinereous Antshrike

Golden-headed manakin

Golden-headed Manakin, Pipra erythrocephala

Short-billed Antwren
White-flanked Antwren

Banded Antwren
Black-faced Antbird
Warbling Antbird
Plumbeous Antbird
White-shouldered Antbird
White-plumed Antbird
Bicolored Antbird
Spot-backed Antbird
Dot-backed Antbird
Scale-backed Antbird
Black-spotted Bare-eye
Rufous-capped Antthrush
Black-faced Antthrush
Striated Antthrush
Ochre-striped Antpitta
Thrush-like Antpitta
Chestnut-belted Gnateater .. With thanks to Birdquest group for the heads up
Rusty-belted Tapaculo …Heard only
Screaming Piha

Plum-throated Cotinga
Spangled Cotinga

Red-capped Cardinal

Red-capped Cardinal, Paroaria gularis

Purple-throated Fruitcrow
Amazonian Umbrellabird …On River island
Wire-tailed Manakin
Blue-crowned Manakin
Golden-headed Manakin

Striped Manakin
Orange-crested Manakin
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher
Slender-footed Tyrannulet
Spotted Tody-Flycatcher
Ringed Antpipit
Gray-crowned Flycatcher
Euler’s Flycatcher
Olive-sided Flycatcher

Cinnamon Attila
Bright-rumped Attila

Lesser Kiskadee

Great Kiskadee

Boat-billed Flycatcher

Social Flycatcher

Gray-capped Flycatcher
Piratic Flycatcher

Tropical Kingbird

Red-rumped Cacique

Red-rumped Cacique, Cacicus haemorrhous

Eastern Kingbird
F
ork-tailed Flycatcher
Greater Schiffornis
White-winged Becard

Pink-throated Becard
Black-tailed Tityra
White-winged Swallow
White-banded Swallow
Barn Swallow

Black-capped Donacobius
Buff-breasted Wren

White-breasted Wood-Wren
Scaly-breasted Wren
Black-billed Thrush
Lawrence’s Thrush
Hauxwell’s Thrush
Long-billed Gnatwren
Violaceous Jay
Red-eyed Vireo

Orange-headed Tanager
Gray-headed Tanager

Fulvous Shrike-Tanager
Flame-crested Tanager
Summer Tanager

Silver-beaked Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager

White-lored Euphonia
Orange-bellied Euphonia
Rufous-bellied Euphonia
Paradise Tanager
Green-and-Gold Tanager

Yellow-bellied Dacnis
Blue Dacnis

Green Honeycreeper

Purple Honeycreeper

Variable Seedeater

Chestnut-bellied Seed-Finch … On sandy river banks
Red-capped Cardinal

Yellow-browed Sparrow …On sandy river banks
Grayish Saltator

Slate-colored Grosbeak
Shiny Cowbird

Giant Cowbird
…On Small River islands
Troupial
Yellow-rumped Cacique

Casqued Oropendola
Crested Oropendola

Russet-backed Oropendola
Oriole Blackbird …On River islands.

In addition we saw Red Howler Monkeys, Spider monkeys, Black Mantled Tamarins and Gold Mantled Tamarins.

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July 5, 2015

Southern Arizona-Huachua Mountains

Filed under: Arizona,Birds — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

Bewick's Wren

The Huachuca Mountains form a link into the Sierra Madres of Mexico, and much of the birdlife shows this affinity. Their are four major peaks, Miller, Carr, Ramsey and Huachuca. Their watered canyons are where the majority of the birds can be found.

These canyons can be accessed from Sierra Vista. Huachuca Canyon is accessed through Fry Blvd. which passes through Fort Huachuca Military Reserve. Their are currently restrictions on entering, and, as a Canadian, I was refused admittance. I don’t know how easy it is for U.S. residents to obtain a permit to pass through.

Ramsey Canyon is accessed from Ramsey Canyon Road off of Highway 92. The lower portion go through dry desert grassland, good for such birds as Scaled Quail , Greater Roadrunner , Cactus Wren , Curve-billed Thrasher , Pyrrhuloxia and Lark Sparrow . You will also see the similar looking Cassin’s and Western Kingbirds .

Higher up the canyon becomes wetter fueled by the Ramsey Creek. At the end of the road is the Ramsey Canyon Reserve. During the busier times, you want to get here early as parking is limited.

Western Tanager

As you move south along Highway 92, you come to the Carr. Miller and Ash Canyons, all of which will give you entry to excellent birding habitant.The lower portion of Carr is pine and oak woodland with birds like Cooper’s Hawk , Whiskered Screech-Owl , Magnificent , Blue-throated and Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Arizona and Acorn Woodpeckers , You can sort out similar flycatchers like Dusky-capped , Brown-crested and Ash-throated Flycatchers , and also find Cassin’s Kingbird . Also found are Mexican Jay , Bridled Titmouse , Bewick’s Wren , Plumbeous Vireo , Black-throated Gray Warbler, Painted Redstart , and Black-headed Grosbeak .

At higher elevations, you can expect to find Band-tailed Pigeon , Grace’s Warbler , Broad-tailed Hummingbird , Hairy Woodpecker , Pygmy Nuthatch , and Steller’s Jay .

Broad-billed Hummingbird

Miller Canyon wends its way through elevation changes, and offers access to southern Arizona’s bird specialties. The lower portion is dry desert grassland, home to species like the Greater Roadrunner , Cactus Wren , Ladder-backed and Acorn Woodpeckers , Verdin , Curve-billed Thrasher , and Pyrrhuloxia .A you go higher, you may find Mexican Jay , Hutton’s and Plumbeous Vireo , Bewick’s Wren , Bushtit , Northern Flicker , Rufous-crowned Sparrow , Ash-throated and Brown-crested Flycatcher , Black-throated Gray Warbler , and Black-headed Grosbeak .

At the end of the road lies the Beatty Guest Ranch, and they kindly allow visiting birders to check the hummingbird feeders along the fence. Here you can expect to find many species including Magnificent , Blue-throated , and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds .

Cassin's Kingbird
The Turkey Track Road runs into Ash Canyon where Mary Joe Battalor has a B&B which has been transformed into a bird oasis. her many feeders include those for hummingbirds and she welcomes birders. You will likely see Ladder-backed and Arizona Woodpeckers , Bridled Titmouse , Curve-billed Thrashers , Verdins , Mexican Jays ,and Canyon Towhee . We saw a Whiskered Screech-Owl that had taken over a nesting box as well as Scott’s Oriole .

Guide to Bird Photography

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April 6, 2015

The Algarve, Portugal

Filed under: Landscape,Portugal — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am
The Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve is the name of the southern most region of Portugal. It borders on the Mediterranean and has some amazing beaches. It is one of the main tourist destinations in Portugal and in high season, the population of the area can double.

The area has been occupied and controlled by many peoples including the Phoenician, Cathaginians, Romans, and for may centuries, the Moors.

The area was heavily damaged by the 1755 Lisbon Earthquack which caused a tsunami to hit the coastal towns.

The Algarve, Portugal The Algarve, Portugal The Algarve, Portugal

 

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