Species highlight; Green Heron (Buterodies virescens).

Jacks Wild Life

On the 29th of April 2018, an unusual looking heron turned up on a garden pond in deepest Pembrokeshire. The news soon broke that this quirky looking bird was a green heron, a species that is usually found frolicking in swamps and lagoons in the Americas, and it was only the second record of one in Wales. The thought of a bird that had been kind enough to fly all the way over the Atlantic to visit me in Wales got me excited. I was feeling pretty confident about seeing him (the bird had been identified as an adult male) as herons have a tendency to stick around for a while, and I didn’t imagine it hopping on a flight back to the USA any time soon.

Although I was excited to go on a good old-fashioned twitch, I had already seen these fascinating birds on my trip to Central…

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Exploring The Forgotten Islands. Venice, an Unexpected Birding Extravaganza. Part II

Jacks Wild Life

[Viewer discretion advised, this blog does NOT contain a photo of a dead pigeon]

The sun rose on our second day in the stunning city of Venice. If you want to know more about how we got here and the beginning of our trip you can do so here in PART I. Today was the day I was really looking forward to, I had read about the glass blowing island of Murano when I was very young and it held a certain mystique in my mind, and on this slightly breezy but baking Sunday morning, it was finally time for me to see it. We were going island hopping!

The Vaporetto (Venetian water boat) pulled sluggishly out from the floating dock and meandered its way through the grand canal to the city limits. As we departed the main Island of Venice I could see the lagoons splendour…

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The City on the Lagoon. Venice, an Unexpected Birding Extravaganza. Part I

Jacks Wild Life

[Viewer discretion advised, this blog contains a photo of a dead pigeon]

A cultural city break, yeah we could do with one of those. While travelling in Central america we discussed what kind of holidays we’d like to do when we settled back home, and the idea of being culture vultures and city slickers kept coming up. A City that Mayka and I had always thought about but never visited was Italy’s popular but pricey destination; Venice. Sure, I can push down my urge to watch birds for a weekend looking at old architecture and museums, I should have known I was lying to myself.

Not 30 minutes after we had booked the flights, my internet history was full of ‘Where to watch birds in Venice’ and similar synonymous searches. This is when, and to my surprise I discovered that there isn’t a whole lot of solid…

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A Really Cool June – Malibu Lagoon, 24 June, 2018


View down north channel to Adamson House (Lillian Johnson 6-24-18)

The weather was quite pleasant for a December field trip: overcast, cool, a slight breeze riffling the lagoon. Several birders, lacking sufficient warm clothing, left early. Some might complain, I suppose, insisting, “But it’s June! It’s supposed to be hot and sunny!” Not I. Some might grumble and call it, “June Gloom.” I call it, “A welcome respite from intolerable heat.” But then I long ago gave up lying for hours in the baking sun, trying to develop the healthy glow of a deep tan. Live and learn.

Funny bunny – is it sitting on eggs? (Grace Murayama 5-27-18)

About twenty birders showed up, most of them new to the lagoon and its birds. I suspect that the regulars, knowing the avian paucity they would encounter, stayed away. I warned those present not to expect a lot, as June is…

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Off to Massachusetts

Natural Moments

Goodness, it’s been almost a month since my last blog update, with only about a third of that time off to Massachusetts looking for butterflies. That’ll be the main focus of this update, but wanted to share a few other pictures from local outings both before and after that trip. Shortly after my last update I got in a trip to Capulin Spring Picnic Area a few days after the Forest Service opened it after being closed since last October (and likely to be closed again soon because of hazardous fire conditions). A hollowed-out log captures a bit of water from the spring and draws in all sorts of birds for a drink or a quick splash. Some of the birds there that morning included a Western Tanager,

Western Tanager

Hermit Thrush,

Hermit Thrush

Yellow-rumped Warbler,

Yellow-rumped Warbler

and a Plumbeous Vireo.

Plumbeous Vireo

Dropping in on some of my…

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Last of June

Natural Moments

Still way dry and lately way too hot, but there’s always something out there to catch my eye pretty much anytime I get out to look around. It’s now gotten so dry they’ve closed down access to pretty much all the local mountains and remain on high fire alert, especially as those illegal fireworks will start appearing as we get close to Independence Day. We did get a quick shot of rain a couple of weeks ago, but are starting to get desperate for the arrival of our summer monsoon rains to lessen the threat and hopefully allow the woods to re-open.

Knowing the mountains would close by the end of the week, I made a point a couple of days earlier of checking out most of my favorite butterfly spots all the way to the Sandia Crest. With so little moisture about, it wasn’t too surprising not seeing many…

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