January 2015

Monthly Archive

Monkey Business

Posted by on 27 Jan 2015 | Tagged as: birding, Wandering Members

On my last day in Singapore, I walked our granddog, Kiera, as had become my custom. We, Kiera and I, birded our way to a children’s park about a half mile from the house and sat down to see if anything interesting showed up.

After a few minutes I noticed several monkeys, or more correctly Long-tailed Macaques, across the road on a side street. There were about half a dozen, climbing fences, foraging along the side of the road and in general being monkeys. They had no interest in us and Kiera had only minimal interest in them so all was peaceful. That proved to be a temporary condition. Continue Reading »

MERRITT ISLAND NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, JANUARY 17, 2015

Posted by on 27 Jan 2015 | Tagged as: birding

minwr_sm-2A congenial group of 14 people enjoyed a very nice day at the Refuge. At the east end of the 406 bridge in Titusville we were able to find the Long-tailed Duck that had been there for several days-a life bird for several in our group. There were also Red-breasted Merganser, Common Loons, Lesser Scaup and the usual Gulls, Grackles etc. along the causeway.

Along the Wildlife Drive Northern Pintail, White Pelicans, Northern Shovelers, Blue-winged Teal and Ring-necked Ducks put on beautiful displays. At one location, a mixed flock of Egrets, Spoonbills and Ibis were feeding while Boat-tailed Grackles picked off minnows that were trying to hide from the larger birds. All this within 10 feet of the drive with 30 or more people snapping photos and oohing and aahing over the display.   Continue Reading »

Birding Sacramento, CA (2), by Ken

Posted by on 20 Jan 2015 | Tagged as: birding

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As everything was pretty much over with my horses at CalExpo in Sacramento by 10:30 – 11:00 every day, I had considerable time for birding.  I found two excellent areas within twenty miles south of my hotel and I am told there are also several good areas north of the city. Continue Reading »

Birding Sacramento, CA, by Ken

Posted by on 20 Jan 2015 | Tagged as: birding, Wandering Members

Birding the Barns

I have a couple of horses training in Sacramento, California so I spent a few days visiting them in mid-January.  It was my first time in Northern California and it was an experience.  I thought I knew what fog was but this was a whole different experience.  When one is standing on the outside of a racetrack and has trouble seeing the inside rail, the fog is thick.

I was surprised to learn that even though Sacramento is over fifty miles from the coast, it is only five feet above sea level.  Since Pacific Ocean tides off San Francisco are ten feet in winter, the rivers are actually tidal so the level rises and falls twice every day.  This flushes the wetlands around the city and also appears to be used to flood and drain rice fields in the area. Continue Reading »

Cuba, day 12-13, by Ken

Posted by on 20 Jan 2015 | Tagged as: birding

We arrived back in Havana late in the afternoon of Day 11 of our expedition.  Our hotel was in the middle of Old Havana.  What a great old city, beautifully preserved and wonderfully clean!  We had a day and a half there and could have spent a week.  Because most streets are for pedestrians only, we had to walk the last half mile to our lodging.  The hotel sent out a porter but he was overwhelmed so most of us pushed, dragged or carried our suitcases, no big deal.

Old Havana is built on the old harbor.  We only visited the west side but the fortress and barracks on the far bank were plainly visible and are apparently still in use.  Except for diplomatic vehicles, all cars are pre-1960.  Several, probably 50 to 75, are in prime condition and used as taxis for the tourists.  Many line up along the harbor front and are a sight to behold.  If trade is ever opened up, these guys are going to sell their vehicles to Americans and retire rich. Continue Reading »

Cuba, days 5-11, by Ken

Posted by on 20 Jan 2015 | Tagged as: birding

Continuing with our Cuba adventure, we travelled east from San Diego de los Banos, skirted the south side of Havana and at the end of Day 5 got to Playa Larga, one of the two landing points of the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion.  We arrived after dark and were worn out so it was a very short species list meeting after dinner.  One of the interesting sights en route was a long section of highway which had been constructed in a way to facilitate its use as an alternate landing strip for Russian jets.  At intervals along the ditch were large spiked rollers (see Tad’s photo) which, we were advised, could have been rolled onto the road to block American jets from landing there. Continue Reading »

Cuba days 1-4, by Ken

Posted by on 20 Jan 2015 | Tagged as: birding, Wandering Members

On the first of December, Fern Murphy, Tad Fyock and I joined eleven other Floridians and a guide from Maine, Michael, on a bird survey to Cuba.  It was the first trip there for all of us except the guide.

We gathered in a hotel near Miami airport, the evening of November 30, to meet each other and to learn a bit about protocols from the organizers.  Next morning we flew from MIA on an American Airlines charter.  Immigration and baggage collection were a bit slow but without hassle and we were soon on the ground in Havana.  We were met by a local guide who helped us change money then took us to a very modern bus, which would be our home for the next twelve days.  I saw my first life bird of the trip at the airport, a Cuban Blackbird. Continue Reading »