11 November 2011

Cape Town, 11 Nov 2011

Cape Town layover
Out birding with Per Holmen, 11 Nov 2011
Per picked me up at the hotel at 6 am, heading for Pooi-Els which is a coastal site appx one hour from Cape Town in the direction of Hermanus. We spent a couple of hours here, walking along the gravel road looking for my target species; Cape Rockjumper. As we walked back towards the car I spotted a potential Rockjumper flying onto a rock at a distance, and we eventually came across a splendid male feeding his grown up baby. The female was seen briefly as well.
After Rooi-Els, we stopped at Macassar Water Treatment Plant for some photo-ops, then a short stop at Strandfontein WTP for Maccoa Duck. 

23 September 2010

September in Central Park, New York City

I was lucky enough to get a layover in Manhattan on EK 201 before it goes to the A-380 at the end of October. This is probably my favourite city on the Emirates worldwide network, so I was really looking forward to this.
Excitement started already approaching JFK on September 22nd, with Prez Obama himself scheduled to land in his Air Force One around the same time we were scheduled in.
Luckily we did not get delayed, and The Man himself touched down 10 minutes after us:

Air Force One on approach to rwy 31L
On short final
We have touchdown
Nice paint-job



I woke up early (as usual in New York) on Sept 23rd, blue skies and already 20ºC (69ºF) outside. Ditching the sweater for a T-shirt, expecting to see 30ºC (86ºF) by noon as promised by the meteorologists, I walked towards Central Park and The Rambles.
Birds were around, but apparently in far fewer numbers than 3 days ago when the wind had brought a great fall in New York City. I was still happy with the selection, not so much with the lack of light. All photos are ISO 1600-3200.
Halfway through the morning I met a super-nice birder/lawyer by the name of Mike and we hung out for the remainder of the morning. Birding is always nicer in good company.

Eastern Phoebe, Sayornis phoebe
The Phoebe met me just as I approached the Boathouse, and I have not seen this species listed in any recent Central Park birdlist. Too common perhaps......

Common Grackle, Quiscalus quiscula
Common Grackle is abundant in Central Park

Magnolia Warbler, Dendroica magnolia
Magnolia Warbler, Dendroica magnolia
This first-winter or female Magnolia Warbler came out in the sunlight for a few seconds

Downy Woodpecker male, Picoides pubescens medianus
Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens medianus
Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens medianus
A family party of Downy Woodpeckers were quite approachable

White-throated Sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis
White-throated Sparrows has just started to arrive in the park

Black-and-white Warbler, Mniotilta varia
The star of the day was this amazing little warbler, an unforgettable Lifer for me in Florida in 1986 and always a thrill to see

Black-and-white Warbler, Mniotilta varia
Black-and-white Warbler, Mniotilta varia
Black-and-white Warbler, Mniotilta varia
Black-and-white Warbler, Mniotilta varia
Black-and-white Warbler, Mniotilta varia
Black-and-white Warbler, Mniotilta varia
Black-and-white Warbler, Mniotilta varia
Black-and-white Warbler, Mniotilta varia
Black-and-white Warbler, Mniotilta varia
Black-and-white Warbler, Mniotilta varia
Black-and-white Warbler, Mniotilta varia

Swainson's Thrush, Catharus ustulatus
One of the Swainson's Thrushes seen today

Swainson's Thrush, Catharus ustulatus
Swainson's Thrush, Catharus ustulatus
Swainson's Thrush, Catharus ustulatus

American Treecreeper, Certhia americana americana
The American Treecreeper has arrives in Central Park in the middle of September

Black-throated Blue Warbler, Dendroica caerulescens caerulescens
Black-throated Blue Warbler, Dendroica caerulescens caerulescens
Black-throated Blue Warbler - what a stunning bird!!

Wood Thrush, Hylocichla mustelina
This trusty Wood Thrush was seen by the little pond in the Ramble, apparently a pair had bred here this summer

Wood Thrush, Hylocichla mustelina
Wood Thrush, Hylocichla mustelina
Wood Thrush, Hylocichla mustelina
Wood Thrush, Hylocichla mustelina
Wood Thrush, Hylocichla mustelina
Wood Thrush, Hylocichla mustelina

Veery, Catharus fuscescens
A brief glimpse of a Veery

Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis cardinalis
Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis cardinalis
Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis cardinalis
The Cardinals were showing off

Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura carolinensis
Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura carolinensis
Thios Mourning Dove had found a sunny spot in the bush and enjoyed a lazy morning

Goodbye
The last bird of the day was another obliging Black-and-White Warbler



Police line-up?
Arriving back at my hotel, an amazing amount of New York's finest were milling about. Apparently the President was about to visit my hotel.
Now it's time to catch some zzzzzz's before the flight back to Dubai

And as usual, the days list:



23.09.2010 NYC; Central Park (New York, USA)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos) - 30
Eastern Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis borealis) - 1
Feral Pigeon (Columba livia 'feral') - 10
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura carolinensis) - 1
Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica) - 2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) - 2
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens medianus) - 4
Yellow-shafted Flicker (Colaptes auratus luteus) - 3
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) - 1
Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis hiemalis) - 1
Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) - 3
American Robin (Turdus migratorius migratorius) - 50
Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) - 2
Veery (Catharus fuscescens) - 1
Swainson's Thrush (Catharus ustulatus) - 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula calendula) - 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa satrapa) - 1
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus atricapillus) - 8
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) - 2
American Treecreeper (Certhia americana americana) - 3
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata bromia) - 4
Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris vulgaris) - 100
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus domesticus) - 50
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus olivaceus) - 2
Northern Parula (Parula americana) - 3
Magnolia Warbler (Dendroica magnolia) - 4
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Dendroica caerulescens caerulescens) - 2
Pine Warbler (Dendroica pinus pinus) - 1
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia) - 6
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) - 2
Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis) - 2
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas trichas) - 2
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) - 10
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis cardinalis) - 8
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) - 100

14 September 2010

A winter walk in a Melbourne Park, 14 September 2010

Landed in Melbourne after a 6:45 hours flight from Singapore.
A beautiful sunrise greeted us just north of Adelaide, captured below with my newly purchased Canon S95 pocket-camera (a camera I can highly recommend by the way, for it's bright f2.0 lens and tiny size compared to the slightly better but much bulkier Lumix LX5 that would not fit in my pocket).

Sunrise north of Adelaide as seen from the flight-deck

It was a chilling 3 degrees when we touched down on RWY 27 (the short one) in our B-777 300ER, very much like a good Norwegian summer morning.
So after a quick breakfast I immediately went outside (no, just kidding - I actually went straight to bed).

Waking up around 1pm, I walked in the large park around the famous MCG for a couple of hours, enjoying the crisp blue sky and equally crisp spring wind.
A Magpie-lark enjoyed 25 minutes of dive-bombing my head (this can surely NOT be the breeding season for these cheeky buggers?) and I can only imagine it's glee when it placed a warm, white bomb spot on top of my noggin. Me not happy.

Anyways, with a runny nose and apple-red cheeks I retired to the relative warmth of my hotel room and prepared the photos.

Nice day, all in all.

Rainbow Lorikeet, Trichoglossus haematodus moluccanus
The common parakeet in Melbourne


White-backed Magpie, Cracticus tibicen tyrannicus
White-backed Magpie, Cracticus tibicen tyrannicus
A common, but great bird nevertheless


Noisy Miner, Manorina melanocephala melanocephala
Noisy Miner, Manorina melanocephala melanocephala
Noisy Miner, Manorina melanocephala melanocephala
Noisy Miner, Manorina melanocephala melanocephala - juvenile
Noisy Miner, Manorina melanocephala melanocephala
Noisy Miner, Manorina melanocephala melanocephala
Common and often overlooked, the Noisy Miner is a superb little bird. I saw several adults find these small black beetles and feeding the young ones with them


Grey Butcherbird, Cracticus torquatus torquatus
Grey Butcherbird, Cracticus torquatus torquatus
Surprisingly vocal and tame. Look at the fantastic hook at the tip of the bill - this is not a vegetarian!


Crested Pigeon, Ocyphaps lophotes lophotes
Crested Pigeon, Ocyphaps lophotes lophotes
Crested Pigeon, Ocyphaps lophotes lophotes
Crested Pigeon, Ocyphaps lophotes lophotes
Crested Pigeon, Ocyphaps lophotes lophotes
I found a feeding flock of these magnificent pigeons in a corner of the park


Magpie-lark, Grallina cyanoleuca cyanoleuca
Magpie-lark, Grallina cyanoleuca cyanoleuca
Magpie-lark, Grallina cyanoleuca cyanoleuca
This is the cheeky bird that relentlessly attacked me