Birder's Guide

OCT 2017

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 24 of 51

23 October 2017 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy underwing covers flies past below the canopy, a Harpy Eagle. Ecstatic after this observation, we continue, when suddenly a Cryptic Forest-Falcon starts calling. We tape in this recently discovered species in and have incredible views. Half an hour later, we run into an ant swarm with the star bird being the rare Bare-eyed Antbird. On the way back to the lodge, we flush an- other huge eagle from the trail; it perches 50 feet away from us, and to my amaze- ment, it's a freaking adult Crested Eagle! During the heat of the day, I manage to photograph the very rare Para Gnatcatcher in a canopy flock. After an absolutely cra- zy day, we decide that we deserve a relax- ing boat ride on the river. First we have a displaying male Crimson Topaz, next a flock of the recently described Bald Parrot flies past, and then we finish the day with incredible views of a male Zigzag Heron. This must have been the most incredible day of birding I've ever experienced. 10 September 2016 BOSQUE UNCHOG, PERU 5,192 species Ten years ago I visited the elfin forest of Bosque Unchog to look for the Golden- backed Mountain-Tanager. Back then, we searched in vain for a full day in the pouring rain—a dip that hurts to this day. Today I finally have the chance to redeem myself. We wake up in the tent after a freez- ing night at almost 4,000 meters altitude. Luckily the weather is good, and one of the first birds we find is the endemic Bay- vented Cotinga, a species I dipped on last time as well. The mountain-tanager has different plans in store for us, and after 10 hours of extensive searching, we haven't even heard one. At 4 p.m., it is time to give up and I'm almost crying as we walk back to the car. Barely half a mile from the car, at the last patch of elfin forest, I suddenly hear a weird, high-pitched call. And there, to my astonishment, is a family of three Golden-backed Mountain-Tanagers! I call my girlfriend Camilla through the walk- ie-talkie and together we have gorgeous views of this gripping species. Finding the bird when all hope seems lost—that is the ultimate feeling of victory. November 11, 2016 NEAR PARAÍSO, COSTA RICA 6,102 species Three of my best friends decided to join me and Pieter Westra for three days in Costa Rica. As luck would have it, they are there with me when I break the re- cord. The record-breaking bird is a Buffy- crowned Wood-Partridge that gave excel- lent views. My friends have taken along a bottle of champagne and a box of cigars to celebrate this milestone. So in the middle of the Costa Rican rainforest, with a glass of champagne in my hand and a cigar in the corner of my mouth, I quote Colonel Hannibal Smith: "I love it when a plan comes together." 2 January 2017 AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS 6,833 species What an incredible feeling to come home after traveling and birding for a year. My girlfriend, parents, and friends are there to welcome me at Schiphol Airport. Without them, my Biggest Year would never have been possible, and I am eternally grateful for their unconditional support. This was the adventure of a lifetime. I consider myself extremely lucky for stay- ing healthy throughout the year and being able to thoroughly enjoy myself right until the end of my journey. Over the course of the past three months, people have repeatedly asked me the question: Would you do it again? I have to answer "no" to this question. It was a one-time gig, but I will continue to raise awareness and funding for conserva- tion. So please feel free to visit my website ( and make a dona- tion for BirdLife's Preventing Extinctions conservation program. TOP TO BOTTOM: n Southern Crowned-Pigeon. Photo © Max van Waasdijk n White-necked Picathartes. Photo © Arjan Dwarshuis n Cliff Flycatcher. Photo © Arjan Dwarshuis

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