Fall bird migration and waterfowl in southwestern USA – August 2013

In late summer (mid-late August/early September), the Brehm Fund for International Bird Conservation, Bonn, offers an ornithological tour to the United States. The southwestern part – located between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico – provides numerous ornithological highlights, which we will do in California and Texas Station.

California, because of its exposed location along the Pacific flyway, has an extremely diverse avifauna (over 640 species), including interesting deposits of water-and seabirds. In addition, up to 10 different species of hummingbirds, such as Anna’s, Costa’s and Calliope Hummingbird, can be observed regularly. Highlights of the trip will detour to the coastal marshes south of Los Angeles (e.g. Western Sandpiper, Belding’s Savannah Sparrow), the lagoon of Malibu (Least Tern, Black Skimmer) and in the vicinity of the Salton Sea (Caspian Tern, Yellow-footed Gull). We will also check typical chaparral habitats (coastal shrub with endemic Wrentit, California Quail, Black-headed and California Gnatcatcher) and visit the coastal mountain range with its coniferous forests (occurrence of Acorn Woodpecker, Mountain Bluebird, Steller’s Jay). The trip to a bird island of Channel Islands National Park (including endemic Island Scrub-Jay, colonies of Brandt’s Cormorant and California Gull and the possibility of observing whales) can be scheduled optional. In 2009 and 2011 excellent images of pelagic birds could be shot to enlarge the portfolio von Bird-Lens. With a bit of luck these seabirds – as you see here in the gallery– can be seen on the ferry to the Channel Islands National Park.

In Texas, field trips will include the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, the Rio Grande Valley and Welder Field Station north of Corpus Christi. There, in autumn a mass migration of hummingbirds can be observed (especially Ruby-throated hummingbirds). Participation in bird trapping at the station and an introduction to the local bird life (possibly with field trip) by a scientist are planned. Southern Texas is just within the borders of the northern Neotropics, i.e. numerous tropical birds are achieving their northern boundaries. Rarities include, for example, White-tailed Hawk, Groove-billed Ani, Red-billed Pigeon as well as kingfishers (Green, Ringed Kingfisher) and tyrants (Vermilion Flycatcher, Couch’s Kingbird).

The tour will last ca. 2.5 weeks and include flights from/to Frankfurt (other airports on request) and in the U.S., bed/breakfast in hotels or motels (optionally at Welder Field Station) and trips with vans or SUVs. The minimum group size is 6 people. Depending on the number of participants, costs from € 2.800, – on are to be expected; however, due to the preliminary design and the fluctuating dollar rate an exact calculation of the trip can be only provided at a later date.

Please direct your noncommittal feedback by the end of October 2012 in order to start on time with the extensive organization of the tour.

Registration and further information:
Dr. André-A. Weller

Secretary’s Office, Brehm Fonds e.V.
Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum A. Koenig
Adenauerallee 160
D – 53113 Bonn

E-mail: a.weller(AT)brehm-fonds.de

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