field identification


Thumbnail image for GGRRRRREAT REED WARBLER ON LESBIAN ISLAND! by Rebecca Nason 19 May 2011

GGRRRRRRRRReat REED WARLBER – one of the many highlights from our LESVOS 2011 Trip. Phil & I led a small birdwatching and photographic group of 6 to the stunning birding Aegean mecca of Lesvos from the 5th to the 12th May on behalf of the Travelling Naturalist. This was the 7th year of leading groups […]

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Colombian Mysteries

Thumbnail image for Colombian Mysteries by Gunnar 12 May 2011

Colombia has a lot of birds and not all are easy to identify. While in the old days, the info of field guides was scanty and a lot of birds not seen well or being very cryptic had to be discarded as simple – ID unknown! Luckily, today we can get both photos and recordings […]

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Swallow from Africa in my patch. 1st South America record. Probably NOT!

Thumbnail image for Swallow from Africa in my patch. 1st South America record. Probably NOT! by Gunnar 8 March 2011

Black-and-rufous Swallow? About a month ago, my friend Fabrice Schmitt posted a picture of a swallow on Birding Peru. Very weird with chestnut underparts. No South American Swallow looks this way.

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Oh my! Myiarchus identification problems

Mystery Myiarchus Flycatcher from Isla Palma, Colombia. Photo: Gunnar Engblom by Gunnar 25 February 2011

Identification Quiz. What Myiarchus Flycatcher is this? There are 22 species of Myiarchus Tyrant-Flycatchers. In many places they present no problems in identifying as only or two species occur. However, in some areas various species overlap – and one also have to account for migrating species. The thing to look for to help ID are […]

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The Fauna and the Fora

Thumbnail image for The Fauna and the Fora by Guest Post - Greg Neise 15 January 2011

In this guest post, Greg Neise from North American Birding gives a break down of the benefits of using a forum for connecting with other birders – and how to use them.

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Slaty-backed Gull in Britain?

Thumbnail image for Slaty-backed Gull in Britain? by MartinGarner 14 January 2011

A Potential First. A WOW factor adult gull was seen and photographed today by Dominic Mitchell. I think it really looks very cool! A little frustratingly he didn’t manage to see the wing pattern – but surely you feel it will show a full white ‘string of pearls’. The upperpart tone is at the paler end and will, I guess, get much […]

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Going for Gold

Thumbnail image for Going for Gold by Rebecca Nason 23 December 2010

Goldcrest Christmas I thought I had managed to get away with going through all of freezing October, November and snow-filled December in the UK without getting some nasty Winter bug. But no, alas I fell at the last hurdle. . . catching this latest miserable bug I imagine whilst out Christmas shopping, bringing home a […]

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Snow Birding

Thumbnail image for Snow Birding by MartinGarner 14 December 2010

I like the Snow! But then I did spend 8 childhood years in Canada, 2 of them in Brandon, Manitoba where temperatures reached down to -40 degrees. Cold- you have no idea! The door would be open to a 9 foot wall of  white- snow drift. Cars would clunk down the road each morning, on […]

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Leo Musings . . . .

Thumbnail image for Leo Musings . . . . by Rebecca Nason 25 November 2010

Time Spent with Leo’s . . . Fair Isle can be a special place to enjoy many migratory birds, but one bird in particular stands out to me as a real Fair Isle special, not in the rare sense but in the views one can obtain of this usually secretive & difficult species to see […]

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Live with the Mystery…

Thumbnail image for Live with the Mystery… by MartinGarner 23 November 2010

Someone recently repeated back to me a strap-line I like to use: “Always Discovering”. Well I have really been enjoying November 2010 on the discoveries front. In order to ‘do’ discovery, we also have to admit that the stuff we don’t know is greater than what we do know. We must learn to Live with the Mystery. Despite a plethora of books, and  illustration, birds remain a treasure trove of […]

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Birds on the Beach . . .some are clearly cold!

Thumbnail image for Birds on the Beach . . .some are clearly cold! by Rebecca Nason 18 November 2010

Birds on the Beach . . . . This morning I have started to look through a large selection of Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) images, taken during October 2010 on Fair Isle, Shetland UK. Chiffchaff’s can come through the Island in good numbers during the Autumn & good views can often be obtained as these birds […]

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Hitchhiking Bunting

by MartinGarner 16 November 2010
Thumbnail image for Hitchhiking Bunting

Snow Bunting breaking the rules! My family owns a caravan at Sandy Beaches, Spurn. The Snow Bunting above hung out by my caravan; without ME being there. The second bit is the most important. Sandy Beaches is a generic sounding place for a small holiday ‘van park. Spurn however  is often rated as the best place for migration […]

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Russian Grey Shrike OK with you?

Thumbnail image for Russian Grey Shrike OK with you? by MartinGarner 8 November 2010

What’s in  a name Sorry. Was supposed to post last week and just got swamped! Went to do something on Redpolls, to find Rebecca beat me too it and did a much better job! Multi-authored blogs eh? Anyway, back now. Last friday 5th November I went to see a Great Grey Shrike, only about 15 minutes drive from my […]

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Arabian Shearwater – or something else – in Australian waters.

Thumbnail image for Arabian Shearwater – or something else – in Australian waters. by Gunnar 8 November 2010

Arabian Shearwater on This is good opportunity to both introduce readers of  about a surprising observation of Arabian Shearwater in Australian waters as well as the great Australian web-site (which actually aims to cover the whole world). is a fine example how a birding-site use new techniques of web 2.0 more […]

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A date with a ‘Horny Man’

Thumbnail image for A date with a ‘Horny Man’ by Rebecca Nason 4 November 2010

One of the most enjoyable ‘groups’ of birds to photograph & get to grips with during a good Autumn on Fair Isle are the various Redpoll sub-species which can arrive on the Island in good numbers during October. Although the number of Redpoll’s present varies year to year as with any influx from the North, this year saw a […]

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Lovable gulls for gull-haters!

Thumbnail image for Lovable gulls for gull-haters! by Kenn Kaufman 21 October 2010

First: ugly Gulls! I admit it: I love gulls.  They are endlessly fascinating and challenging.  If we look at a gull flock closely, we find that no two individuals look exactly the same.  They vary with age, season, and individual, many species are confusingly similar, and they often hybridize, further adding to the challenge of […]

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