Author: Jeff Stratford

Dear Editor, I need more time. Thanks, Editor (that’s me)

I’m producing an edited volume that’s a review of Neotropical birds and their biology – everything thing from historical biogeography to climate change.  I lined up authors months ago and then the spring semester happened, then the bird surveys happened. I was out of touch with my authors (my fault).

The deadline was May for rough drafts and I still only have two (yikes). So I sent an email out to my authors and most responded positively but all needed more time (that’s probably my fault for not sending out reminders). I only had one drop out but I lined up another just a few hours later – a key chapter too. I have yet to hear from my the author of my lead off chapter so that makes me nervous.

The structure of the book looks like this: historical biogeography (sets the stage), some evolutionary relationships, life history traits, diseases, ecosystem services, insectivory, frugivory, North American migrants in the tropics, South American migrants in the tropics (yes, that’s a thing), climate change, conservation, human dimensions. In total there’s twenty chapters – for now.

If I can get an extension, I’m going to recruit a few more authors – there’s a number of long-term projects that could be covered, there’s only a few groups covered in the evolutionary relationships chapter, etc.

So today is about trying to get an extension for the book: moving my deadline from December to February.

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Brown Jay in Belize

Done with the bird surveys (kinda sorta but most definitely)

Yesterday I wrapped up the prescribed fire bird surveys. I’m not sure of the totals yet but combined with the previous years’ grassland survey, I should have a nice story about ecological succession and birds. I was asked to do the survey but I assume I’ll need to write up a report.

Not one Golden-winged Warbler.

In the report I’ll recommend more heterogeneity in the forests. The forest tracts are large and tree ages within tracts all tend to be the same. Its my understanding that birds, including the Golden-winged Warbler,  use different types of habitat for different parts of their life history and just prefer heterogeneity per se. Would also be nice to build wetlands in the mix as well. Every feature, though, is money.

I think the best bird of the survey was the Red-headed Woodpecker at SGL91. Another goodie was a Blue Grosbeak at the Bethlehem Water Authority Property. That place is huge and will definitely get more scrub specialists (e.g., Yellow-breasted Chat, Blue Grosbeaks, Golden-winged Warbler) as time goes by.

So done with the prescribed fire bird surveys and now I’m going to do some urban-periurban surveys but these are all very close and I can get to several sites in a day so that should wrap up quickly

Timberdoodles

Timberdoodles are a local name for the American Woodcock – the only shorebird to invade forests for breeding and *foraging.

I was driving home from a SGL 55 when a woodcock was walking across the road and I happened to get a picture or two. They’re incredibly camouflaged when still in the forest but along a country road they’re easy to spot. They remind me very much of South American antpittas (but that long sandpiper bill).

*Spotted Sandpipers nest in the forest but forage along river edges.

State Game Land 40 – Bear Creek, PA and a son of a beech

A perfect morning for counting birds. Cool enough for a sweatshirt and warm enough to get the birds singing. I sampled burned and unburned areas and one of the unburned areas reminded me of some of the azalea-spruce swamps I’ve been in up in Maine.

One cool thing I noticed is the geometry of the young beeches. Seen head-on they form a nice plane and seen from above they are spaced to intercept tons of light.