The next two days I was guided by Patrick De Geest from Eyes on Wildlife, who was an excellent guide and good company, with an extensive knowledge of all the wildlife, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and of the plants also. We had a great day starting in Cairns then heading to Atherton, and finished the day with a nocturnal trip during which we saw possums, gliders, lizards, bats, and a kangaroo that lives in trees.
Olive-backed Sunbirds, the header image is a male Olive-backed Sunbird, the closer one in this image is a female, without the blue throat.
This Scarlet Myzomela is one of a large group of birds known as the Honeyeaters, who all gorge on nectar whenever the trees (or other plants) are producing.
This Umbrella tree was full of many different species of Honeyeater, including White-Cheeked, Scarlet, MacLeay’s and Brown (clockwise from top left)
A better view of the MacLeay’s Honeyeater
I had never before seen a Goose sitting in a tree! This is a Magpie Goose.
I decided to extend the Australia trip with a visit to Cairns and the Atherton tablelands. The first day in Cairns I was on my own, but with the advice of a guide I searched out the Southern Cassowary shown in the header image.
The feet on this Comb-crested Jacara are amazing
The Bar-Tailed Godwit has the longest non-stop flight of any bird, with the south-bound migration being about 12,000 km from Alaska to Australia or New Zealand. Before the flight they pack on fat, reaching more than 50% of their body weight being fat, and they shrink their digestive organs just before taking off. 12,000 km and about 8 days later they land with little body fat left, and then spend the next months eating.
I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Australia very recently, with a few days in Victoria, mostly spent in Melbourne and at Wilson’s Promontory. The header image is a juvenile Emu that we saw there.
This family of Emus confronted us at Wilson’s Prom, they are huge, the adult’s head being somewhat higher than mine.
The drive down from Phoenix took me to a few kilometres from Mexico at the Casa de San Pedro, a very pleasant B&B that caters for Birders. The two days I spent there were accompanied by the excellent Nolan from Arizona birding tours, who knew a great deal about bird behaviour, and was able to find almost all the target species on our list.
Header image shows a Canvasback. Lesser Scaup, and Ring-necked Duck.
After a really well organized AAP perinatal workshop, in Scottsdale AZ, where I presented a couple of things, I took a couple of days in the far southeast of Arizona. On the way there I stopped off at Chaparral Park and at Gilbert Water Ranch.
This was the first time I have done a trip like this, dedicated to viewing, and photographing, birds, as well as whatever other wildlife came our way.
Many thanks to Birding Ecotours for the organisation of the trip, and most especially to Galo Real, our most excellent guide, who was able to find birds when no-one else could, even some that were at great distances and almost hidden. 17% of the worlds bird species are found within the borders of this tiny country, that is about 1,700 different species, Galo was able to identify all of the ones we saw almost without hesitation. He was also able to identify an incredible number of birds by their songs and calls, several hundred at least, he thinks maybe 900! Galo also really saved my trip by lending me his camera lens when mine was dropped (actually I dropped it!), he also has his own travel/wildlife viewing company based in Ecuador.
My final tally was over 270 different species seen, with about 260 of them being the first time I had encountered them. There are a few I had seen before in the USA, and 5 that also visit Quebec in the summer.
Here are a few highlights that I haven’t yet featured on other posts, starting with a video I made of the mating display of the male Andean Cock-of-the-rock, the screeching you can hear is the noise of the other males.
Blackburnian Warbler, this is one of the species that migrates to Canada in the spring.
Palm Tanager, this beautiful bird was the plainest of the Tanagers that we saw.
Silver-throated Tanager, we only saw one of these, an uncommon bird with a restricted range.
First thing in the morning at a blind near the lodge, then a long journey back to Quito, we were supposed to stop at altitude and search for birds but it was raining and cold, so we continued on and spent most of the afternoon at Hacienda Jiminita.
Western Fire-eye, this female shows how they got their name. The header image is a male of the same species.
Variable Hawk, seen on the trip back to Quito, the plumage is very variable (!)