Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Nocturnal owl Surveying

It is Nocturnal Owl Survey season here in Canada and two nights ago I was treated to a few rewards before my survey got started – a pair of Barred Owls (Strix varia) duetting in the evening light (photo below shows the male, based on voice) and a Canada Lynx walking along the dirt road! Although common in some parts of their range, Barred Owls occur in low densities in Manitoba and are always a treat for us here.

The following night, I came across 4 Long-eared Owls (Asio otus) displaying in a clearing in a jack pine stand. The owls sometimes glided and sometimes zig-zagged over the clearing and would periodically clap their wings below them producing an audible “snap” noise (such aerial display also seen in other Asio species such as Short-eared Owl). Both sexes were involved as I heard both male and female voices, although I can’t be sure who was clapping. I took a little time in between survey routes to try to photograph this behaviour but was unsuccessful, although I got these shots of a calling bird (presumed male based on voice) at the edge of the clearing. I couldn’t stay long because I had to go on and do other surveys but it was sure hard to tear myself away from the performance.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

the critically endangered Chinese Crested Tern

Once feared extinct, and with fewer than 50 mature individuals in the world, the critically endangered Chinese Crested Tern is one of the rarest birds in the world. They breed on islands in the Strait of Taiwan and visit the Minjiang Estuary on Fujian’s coast typically in May – June. It is therefore hard to describe the emotion I felt when two of these magnificent birds flew in and landed at the estuary on April 5th (one of the earliest records ever) – I think I am still in a state of shock!

曾经我们担心中华凤头燕鸥已经灭绝, 现在知道在整个世界有少于50!
中华凤头燕鸥筑巢在台湾海峡的一些小岛, 5,6月到闽江. 因此, 45日在闽江口看到两只飞过来上滩, 很难交待那一刻的情感. 我还不敢相信!

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