Dale Forbes

Learning North American Birds (in Europe)

Thumbnail image for Learning North American Birds (in Europe) by DaleForbes 29 January 2012

You know those people who look at something once and the info is glued in to their brain, seemingly permanently? I am not one of those people. I forget stuff as soon as I do not use/practice it. I love languages and birding, but neither of them are like riding a bicycle (at least not [...]

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The 50 best birds in Africa (part 1)

Thumbnail image for The 50 best birds in Africa (part 1) by DaleForbes 10 July 2011

Africa has tons of great birds to offer, from the reclusive Grey-necked Rockfowl, to the super-DIY Weavers, and the powerful and enigmatic Martial Eagle. But what qualifies a bird to be on a “best birds” list. In Susan Myer’s “ 50 best birds of Asia“, she focused on the birds that moved her in some [...]

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Only 5 pairs Gurney’s Pitta left in Thailand

Thumbnail image for Only 5 pairs Gurney’s Pitta left in Thailand by DaleForbes 19 June 2011

Khao Nor Chuchi, near Krabi in southern Thailand has become something of a tropical birders’ mecca over the last decade – especially for those that are obsessed with pittas as, with 5 pitta species on the cards, Khao Nor Chuchi is bound to get your birder heart racing. Just the thought of Banded Pitta, Hooded [...]

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Can you combine birding in a family holiday?

Thumbnail image for Can you combine birding in a family holiday? by DaleForbes 12 June 2011

I suspect that the vast majority of birders have contemplated this at some stage. Fact is that most of us birders are married to, in a relationship with, or the children of non-birders. And when birders have holiday time, particularly in new lands, we immediately start to think with glee of sewage works, stinking mosquito-infested [...]

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South Africa’s 8 Vultures

Thumbnail image for South Africa’s 8 Vultures by DaleForbes 5 June 2011

South Africa has 8 regularly occurring and breeding vulture species, from the southern African endemic Cape Griffon Vulture (Gyps coprotheres), to the wide-spread and wide-ranging African White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus). One of my favorite – and always a thrill to see – is the Bearded Vulture (Gypaetes barbatus). The Bearded Vulture evidently gets its strong, [...]

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Pilansberg National Park, South Africa

Thumbnail image for Pilansberg National Park, South Africa by DaleForbes 29 May 2011

Pilansberg Game Reserve (and National Park) lies just 1.5-2hrs drive west of Johannesburg/Pretoria and has received some measure of fame through the bordering Sun City and Lost City (luxury casino, golf and resort complexes). But it is also a rather nice big-game area within easy reach of Gauteng (the province in which Johannesburg is situated). [...]

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Digiscoping the African Wattled Plover (Vanellus senegallus)

Thumbnail image for Digiscoping the African Wattled Plover (Vanellus senegallus) by DaleForbes 8 May 2011

The African Wattled Plover (Lapwing)is found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa and while it can be locally fairly common, it is typically not considered a common species. It is the largest lapwing in southern Africa and because of its crazy facial make-up always makes for a wonderful find. Whilst in the Hartbeespoort Dam area (just [...]

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A Drakensberg Good-morning

Thumbnail image for A Drakensberg Good-morning by DaleForbes 1 May 2011

The Drakensberg is a mountain range stretching some 1000km along the eastern side of South Africa, with its highest peaks being 3,482 metres (11,424 ft) above sea level. On our way up from the KwaZulu-Natal (eastern) coast up to the North-west Province, we decided to stop for a night at the Sterkfontein Dam / Oliviershoek Pass (1730m [...]

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South African Shrikes

Thumbnail image for South African Shrikes by DaleForbes 10 April 2011

South Africa has 21 regularly occurring shrike species; including 3 skulking Tchagras, 6 colourful Bush-shrikes and 2 vociferous hoodlum Helmet-shrikes. The boldest of them all have got to be the Bush-Shrikes; characterized by bright yellow and green plumage. Typically singly or in pairs, their skulking manner can make Bush-shrikes often surprisingly hard to find; and [...]

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A view from a new nest

Thumbnail image for A view from a new nest by CharlieMoores 31 March 2011

Writing for Birdingblogs.com feels like an adventure – shared with a group of very talented individuals. Importantly there’s more the feel of making an investment here than of simply hopping aboard an express train with no particular interest in the destination as long as it’s still going forward.

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Alpine Accentors (Prunella collaris) in Tirol

Thumbnail image for Alpine Accentors (Prunella collaris) in Tirol by DaleForbes 20 March 2011

The Alpine Accentor (Prunella collaris) is one of our most characteristic birds of the high Alps; breeding and spending the summer months almost completely above the treeline (about 1800m/6000ft asl in Tirol). In late March, the Alpine Accentors return to their breeding areas from their lower wintering grounds (i.e. an altitudinal migration) but, from what [...]

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British Birders – a separate subspecies?

Thumbnail image for British Birders – a separate subspecies? by DaleForbes 13 March 2011

I have only been in Britain a couple of times, and have yet to go birdwatching there (an Osprey at Birdfair doesn’t count). But the British Birdwatcher has certainly intrigued me for many years. Never having seen them in their natural habitat, my impression of British Birdwatchers is based almost exclusively on studying them as [...]

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Digiscoping Lesser Kestrels in Trujillo, Extremadura

Thumbnail image for Digiscoping Lesser Kestrels in Trujillo, Extremadura by DaleForbes 20 February 2011

The first Lesser Kestrels (Falco naumanni) have just started arriving back to Extremadura, and while we were there for the EL50 Swarovision field trials, we got some chance to hang out at the local bull fighting ring in the evenings, to enjoy the Lesser Kestrels in all their wonder – calling, playing and swooping; all [...]

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Spain, the EL50 and me

Thumbnail image for Spain, the EL50 and me by DaleForbes 6 February 2011

My life has recently been dominated by the launch of the new Swarovski EL50 Swarovision binoculars and all the million small details that need to be taken care of. This has been made easier by two things: 1. I really love this binocular, and 2. It is a really great binocular (fairly sure I am [...]

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new virtual Birding Game

Thumbnail image for new virtual Birding Game by DaleForbes 1 February 2011

So the basic idea of the Birding Game is that you can go virtual birding, click on the bird silhouettes and be presented with a bird photo which you need to identify. At the moment there are three locations: Corpus Christi, Texas Extremadura, Spain Lake Neusiedl National Park, Austria And you can choose to play [...]

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hornbills and other silly birds

Thumbnail image for hornbills and other silly birds by DaleForbes 9 January 2011

I heard a story once. It is probably a load of bull, but the story went that when the first naturalists brought toucans back from the new world, the academy (Sesselfurzer for want of a suitable English word) didn’t believe them and thought they were birds stitched together to command higher prices. Its probably an [...]

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Long-legged Buzzard twitching mega rarity

Long-legged Buzzard by DaleForbes 2 January 2011

“Is this really a Long-legged Buzzard?” was the question from Reinhard Hölzl, a friend and local photographer (check out Reinhard’s website here) with two photos attached to the message (top and below). My gut said yes, Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus) and everything I could tell from the photos and the books seemed to suggest so, [...]

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African Christmas Colours

Thumbnail image for African Christmas Colours by DaleForbes 26 December 2010

Africa’s is not all zebras and lions, and steamy hot Christmases, but it also has some stunning colours to show off. Richard’s stunning Christmas Quetzal post got my (and probably your) feet itching to go explore far-away jungles. But Africa also has its fair share of Christmassy colours. The birds that spring to mind first [...]

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The Capercaille

Thumbnail image for The Capercaille by DaleForbes 19 December 2010

The Western Capercaille (Tetrao urogallus) is one of the most emblematic birds of the Alps, amongst the people of the Alps, it is probably just behind the Golden Eagle. This is partly because it really is large and beautiful, secretive and shy. But to be honest it is probably because it is part of the [...]

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Finding Gurney’s Pittas

Thumbnail image for Finding Gurney’s Pittas by DaleForbes 12 December 2010

Crouched in the undergrowth of a mosquito and leech-filled tropical forest I waited quietly, and patiently, for yet another view of the Gurney’s Pitta. I knew his ritual: every 35-55 minutes he came on a feeding cycle through this area. I never knew when he was going to appear and there was no way to [...]

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