New York City, August/September 2007
Written by Jos   


New York City, metropolis extraordinaire, not perhaps the first place that springs to mind when planning a birding trip! However, amongst the towering blocks and a population that packs in at 25,000 persons per Short-billed Dowitchersquare kilometre, the city has two major saving graces, stunning locations that offer just fantastic birding - Central Park in the heart of Manhattan and Jamaica Bay out beyond JFK airport. It was to these that I decided to focus my short break, a week of excellent birding in the ultimate of urban jungles, the third most populous urban area in the world.

Timing of the trip was crucial to its success - lying on the East Coast flyway, the city falls on a major migration route and, in an otherwise virtual sea of concrete, the 330 hectares of Central Park and almost 4000 hectares of Jamaica Bay act as crucial stopovers for tens of thousands of birds.  Jamaica Bay, famed especially for its waders, is at its best from late August to early September, whilst Central Park sees the annual warbler migration commencing from late August and building up to a peak about a month later.


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 October 2015 )
Labanoras, woodpecker banquet
Written by Jos   

Though nine species of woodpecker breed in Lithuania, several have restricted ranges, occur in very low densities and are listed in the country's Red Data Book. For whatever the reason, in the course of an average year's birding, I would rarely see more than four or five species, perhaps six if I was lucky.

White-backed WoodpeckerWouldn't it be nice if that situation were to change! It had been my intention with the creation of a reserve to establish a feeding station that might attract in a few of these species, perhaps even one of the rarer ones! However, even in my wildest imagination, I could never have prepared myself for success that was to follow! The story begins back in the autumn of 2004 ...setting eyes upon the woodland at the heart of my soon-to-be reserve, the forest just screamed 'woodpecker'! I had found all the ingredients I was hoping for - a mix of mature deciduous trees, a lot of dead standing wood and a mosaic of habitats from dry woodland through to flood forest, the latter being alders and birches standing in a metre of water.

Step one was to establish the feeding station, a quiet spot on the divide between the dry and wet woodlands, step two was to wait. Soon the birds would arrive...



Last Updated ( Saturday, 04 March 2017 )
August 2007. On the move, storks and waders.
Written by Jos   

White Stork orphanA month of farewells, birds were on the move - in days that remained hot and sunny,  White Storks and Rollers lingered at Labanoras but it was all go at Baltoji Voke! As the first pools were drained, there were birds galore -  amongst 20 wader species recorded, no less than five Broad-billed Sandpipers, plus Temminck's Stints, Little Stints, Curlew Sandpipers and totals of over a hundred Wood Sandpipers. Also Caspian Terns, flocks of over a hundred Great White Egrets and Black Storks, including one particularly impressive group of 23.

However, for all the birding highlights, the most satisfying news came from Kaunas - my  White Stork orphans had successfully returned to the wild, both they and their companions were migrating.


Last Updated ( Saturday, 15 September 2007 )
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