August 2011

Cristalino Jungle Lodge Report – August 24-30, 2011

Thumbnail image for Cristalino Jungle Lodge Report – August 24-30, 2011 by Rich Hoyer 30 August 2011

I don’t have much time for a full report of this week at Brazil’s Cristalino Jungle Lodge, but it’s been amazing every day. Yesterday morning, the first Zigzag Heron of the season (resident but rather silent and very hard to find during the dry season) flushed from under my feet while I was on my [...]

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A Bird Photo Hide in Thailand (part 1)

Thumbnail image for A Bird Photo Hide in Thailand (part 1) by DaleForbes 29 August 2011

Thailand offers a rich splendour of wildlife and birding opportunities and Kaeng Krachan National Park (แก่งกระจาน) is one of its absolute greatest. Bird photographer and ex-bird guide Alex Vargas very kindly offered to take us out to Kaeng Krachan when we were recently in Thailand and instead of running around searching for birds, he took [...]

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Birds, Darwin, Sex: Foreplay

Thumbnail image for Birds, Darwin, Sex: Foreplay by GregLaden 26 August 2011

Birds played an important role in Darwin’s thinking about evolution, both from his observations of bird variation and biogeography and his observation of breeding birds in England. But they also played a very important role in his development of one of his most important theories: Sexual Selection. I’d like to address this development over the [...]

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Journal Club: Jumping genes reveal deep relationships between parrots and songbirds

Thumbnail image for Journal Club: Jumping genes reveal deep relationships between parrots and songbirds by Grrlscientist 24 August 2011

SUMMARY: A new study adds support to two earlier reports that songbirds and parrots are each other’s closest relatives (Psittacopasserae), indicating that vocal learning abilities appeared in this group of birds 30 million years earlier than originally assumed. Passerines and parrots share a common ancestor as well as the ability to learn vocalization. Vocal learning [...]

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Cristalino Jungle Report – August 16-23, 2011

Thumbnail image for Cristalino Jungle Report – August 16-23, 2011 by Rich Hoyer 23 August 2011

There are now two 50-meter towers here at Cristalino Jungle Lodge, making it the best place to view the Amazon Rainforest canopy anywhere. It’s about a kilometer walk in either direction to reach the towers (one is across the river), and along the way it’s easy to become distracted by the biodiversity, such as this [...]

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The Dove of Peace Has Not Always Been Safe

Thumbnail image for The Dove of Peace Has Not Always Been Safe by GregLaden 19 August 2011

This dove is one of the most abundant birds in the Archipelago. It frequents the dry rocky soil of the low country, and often feeds in the same flock with the several species of Geospiza. It is exceedingly tame, and may be killed in numbers. Formerly it appears to have been much tamer than at [...]

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Journal Club: Why are there so many bird species in the tropics?

Thumbnail image for Journal Club: Why are there so many bird species in the tropics? by Grrlscientist 17 August 2011

SUMMARY: What can we learn about evolution, geography and biodiversity by studying continental patterns of speciation? Since before the time of dinosaurs, species diversity is related to latitude. Basically, species richness increases as distance from the equator decreases. As any sweaty bird watcher dragging a heavy field guide through the tropics will tell you, this [...]

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Cristalino Jungle Report – August 8-15, 2011

Thumbnail image for Cristalino Jungle Report – August 8-15, 2011 by Rich Hoyer 16 August 2011

Birding and wildlife observation here at Cristalino Jungle Lodge has been fastastic during my first week here.  We’re nearing the end of the dry season, which means days are sunny and hot (but mornings refreshingly cool) and surface water is becoming a scarce resource. Usually we travel the Rio Cristalino to get to more distant [...]

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Birding Doi Inthanon – Thailand’s highest mountain

Thumbnail image for Birding Doi Inthanon – Thailand’s highest mountain by DaleForbes 13 August 2011

Thailand is not only gorgeous white beaches, lowland tropical forests and Bangkok cabaret shows; there are also some great high-altitude forests. Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai province holds Thailands highest mountain (of the same name) rising up to a surprising 2565m asl (8415ft). It is pretty much solid forest all the way to [...]

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Darwin’s Rheas and the Birth of Evolutionary Theory

Thumbnail image for Darwin’s Rheas and the Birth of Evolutionary Theory by GregLaden 12 August 2011

Everyone knows about Darwin’s Finches, of the Galapagos Islands. But of course, Darwin made observations of birds throughout his travels on The Beagle. And, one of the most interesting sets of observations has to do with the Rhea. Struthio Rhea I will now give an account of … the Struthio Rhea, or South American ostrich. [...]

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Journal Club: The decline and fall of showy bustards

Thumbnail image for Journal Club: The decline and fall of showy bustards by Grrlscientist 10 August 2011

SUMMARY: intense early reproductive effort takes a toll on long-term survival of individual male houbara bustards by leading to early declines in fertility and early ageing Why do we get old and die? Why hasn’t natural selection “weeded out” those genes responsible for age-related declines? Several hypotheses have been proposed, with the most important pointing [...]

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Costa Rica in July

Thumbnail image for Costa Rica in July by Rich Hoyer 9 August 2011

Rich Hoyer is happy to be back and posting, and this time to share just a few photo highlights from the Costa Rica tour he just completed.

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The Cowbird and the cuckoo

Thumbnail image for The Cowbird and the cuckoo by GregLaden 5 August 2011

For this week’s installment of Darwin’s Other Birds I give you pure Darwin, from the Voyage monograph on birds, concerning the cowbid and the cuckoo. MOLOTHRUS NIGER This species is common in flocks on the pasture grounds of Chile, and along the whole western shore of the southern part of the continent. In Chile it [...]

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Winging it on Fair Isle

Thumbnail image for Winging it on Fair Isle by Rebecca Nason 4 August 2011

Winging it on Fair Isle . . . . Puffin Flight Photography – July Update. My favourite image taken on Fair Isle during my whistle-stop visit, a Puffin in flight interacting with other Puffins on land below. It has been a very hectic July and seems to be looking likely that August will go the [...]

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