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offshorebirder last won the day on February 3 2016

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About offshorebirder

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  1. @lmonmm and @Zubbie15 - the sad thing about Dominica is that their main tourism and economic driver was the preserved forest habitat and wildlife - rather than sandy beaches (which they largely lack) like their neighboring islands. @janzin - thanks very much for the donation link.
  2. Thanks for this news - albeit sad news - @COSMIC RHINO
  3. I have been too sad the past few days to post about this. But Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria may have wiped out some endangered species. With storm surges submerging hiding places and winds stripping trees bare, small birds have no options for refuge - both during the storm and for weeks or months afterwards. I have been hearing horror stories about "no vegetation left at all" on Barbuda after Irma. Hard to fathom how Barbuda Warblers could survive - if not the storm, then to evade predators for weeks or months with no hiding or resting places. Not to mention drastically reduced available nesting habitat. The island of Dominica lost a lot of forest - they have never been hit with a storm of Maria's magnitude. Species at risk of extinction on Dominica include: Imperial Parrot and Red-necked Parrot, which occur nowhere else. Endemics found on other islands that were affected by one or both storms include: Blue-headed Hummingbird, Plumbeous Warbler, Forest Thrush, Red-necked Parrot, and Brown Trembler. Bahama Woodstars are an endemic hummingbird that lives only in the Bahamas - and Hurricane Irene stripped all flowers and many leaves from plants. Going forward, I suspect plants will be spending precious resources on staying alive / foliage rather than regrowing flowers. Much of the Kirtland's Warbler population that breeds in Michigan, USA were already on the wintering grounds in the southern Bahamas. Same for Wayne's Black-throated Green Warblers, a subspecies that has a perilously low breeding population in a few coastal swamps in North Carolina and South Carolina. Puerto Rico learned some hard lessons from Hurricane Hugo in 1989 - that storm killed half the world population of Puerto Rican Parrot. They now have colonies established in multiple areas - not just El Yunque National Forest - with the help of artificial nest boxes and a captive breeding population. Adelaide's Warbler is endemic to Puerto Rico but I hope they survive in enough numbers for the population to rebound. Yellow-shouldered Blackbirds in Puerto Rico do not do well at all in tropical storms - and their population has already been brought very low by the invase species Shiny Cowbirds. Though American Flamingos will not be exterminated by 2017 hurricanes, I have heard tragic accounts and have seen horrendous photos of thousands of dead flamingoes in Cuba's Keys (small islands along Cuba's north shore). American Flamingos in the Turks and Cacos and Bahamas were also pummeled. And not only birds are at risk of extinction - but also endemic island populations of lizards, insects, etc. Here are a few research papers on the subject of hurricanes on island endemics: Spiller, D.A., J.B. Losos, and T.W. Schoener. 1998. Impact of a Catastrophic Hurricane on Island Populations, *Science *31 Jul 1998:Vol. 281, Issue 5377, pp. 695-697 Schoener, T.W., D.A. Spiller and J.B. Losos. 2001. Natural restoration of the species-area relation for a lizard after a hurricane. Science 294: 1525-1528. Schoener, T.W., D.A. Spiller and J.B. Losos. 2003. Variable ecological effects of hurricanes: The importance of seasonal timing for survival of lizards on Bahamian islands. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101:177-181 Spiller, D.A. and T.W. Schoener. 2007. Alteration of island food-web dynamics following major disturbance by hurricanes. Ecology 88:37-41. -- I compiled some of this info from the BIRDCHAT email discussion group / Listserv.
  4. Glad you had an enjoyable safari @Gilgamesh. I am very jealous for how light you were able to travel! When the time comes, Botswana bush flights won't be a problem for you. Looking forward to your report!
  5. I can't bring myself to click "like" but thanks for the sad update @pault. I hope it turns out better than feared and that the Wild Dog and herbivore populations can be rebuilt.
  6. So sad - I DESPISE dams!
  7. I agree with @ice - in reading their blog entry, I took the move to be primarily motivated by the Rock Python's welfare. Constant disturbance at its lair would definitely degrade its ability to hunt, bask, etc. - which would not be good for the snake's welfare over the long term. I can see a responsible camp feeling guilty about that and I expect Kaingo followed any applicable laws or regulations.
  8. "Recently, scientists carried out the first large-scale study of what climate change may do to the world’s much-loathed parasites. The team came to a startling conclusion: as many as one in three parasite species may face extinction in the next century. As global warming raises the planet’s temperature, the researchers found, many species will lose territory in which to survive. Some of their hosts will be lost, too. “It still absolutely blows me away,” said Colin J. Carlson, lead author of the study and a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. He knows many people may react to the news with a round of applause. “Parasites are obviously a hard sell,” Mr. Carlson said. But as much as a tapeworm or a blood fluke may disgust us, parasites are crucial to the world’s ecosystems. Their extinction may effect entire food webs, perhaps even harming human health. Parasites deserve some of the respect that top predators have earned in recent decades. Wolves were once considered vermin, for example — but as they disappeared, ecosystems changed. Scientists realized that as top predators, wolves kept populations of prey in check, which allowed plants to thrive. When wolves were restored to places like Yellowstone, local ecosystems revived, as well."
  9. Enjoying this TR very much @Geoff - thanks for taking the time to prepare it. Have fun on your upcoming safari - making up for lost time last year?
  10. Thanks for this very informative and enjoyable trip report @Alexander33! I am taking notes for when I make it to Costa Rica. Question for you: in general, how safe for gringos is the tap water in Costa Rica?
  11. Yikes! I guess I will have to give up chocolate until a framework for assuring responsibly-sourced chocolate is in place. Thanks for bringing this to our attention @COSMIC RHINO.
  12. Great start @vikramghanekar. I am really looking forward to the rest of your report and photos!
  13. Thanks for the info @johnweir. I bought Werner Glenn's book shortly after it came out - amazing pre-digital photos he acquired in a turbulent situation. Did you know the Glenn family was the subject of a recent reality TV show? I appreciate the info on Jack Child's book - am I correct in thinking he is part of the Borderlands coalition trying to establish a migration corridor for Jaguars between Mexico and the "Sky Islands" in Arizona? I celebrate each male Jaguar in the USA in recent years - El Jefe, Macho B, etc. - but I really would like a female to appear! I share your trepidation regarding the border wall. The sections that are already up in parts of Arizona are already causing terrible ecological damage - particularly the section across the San Pedro River / Riparian National Conservation Area. One hand of the US Federal Government destroying the efforts of other hands...
  14. A friend said he had trouble accessing the Facebook video, so here is the Youtube version:
  15. This video of a male Jaguar was taken in the Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona - one of the most diverse habitats in North America: I was very happy to learn this, as I will be visiting there next May, as I guide Ben Mugambi from Kenya on his trip to the USA. I don't expect any Jaguar sightings, but maybe we will get lucky and see a track.

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