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Sniping again at taxonomy.

Posted Wednesday 10th July 2013 at 13:37 by Rick and Elis
The taxonomy of these four snipe is almost as complicated as identifying them!

For a start there was some misunderstanding about the genus. For a long time this group were called Capella after Frenzel 1801. The name Gallinago had been used by Koch in 1816, but the protocol for nomenclature dictates that the earliest name is the valid name. It was later recognised that Gallinago had been used by Brisson 1760 and thus, predating Frenzel, the genus acquired the name it has to this day....
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The nine wader flyways of the world.

Posted Monday 8th July 2013 at 21:11 by Rick and Elis
During Wader Quest we will visit all of them, we have already been in seven with only two to go.

Working west from Europe, we have obviously been in the East Atlantic Flyway since the UK where we live is within its scope. A splendid example of a species along this route would be the Red Knot.

Next up is the Black Sea and Mediterranean Flyway. This is one we haven't been to yet, but if a mooted trip to Ukraine comes off that will see us squarely in the middle of it...
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Pied Lapwing; is it really a Vanellus?

Posted Saturday 6th July 2013 at 12:31 by Rick and Elis
First described as Charadrius cayanus by Latham in 1790. More recently it was given its own genus Hoploxypterus (Ridgeway 1919) and then has been lumped in with the Vanellus lapwings (Bock 1958).
It is smaller than the other South American lapwings in the genus Vanellus and does look out of place there. Southern Lapwing and Andean Lapwing (itself lumped from its own genus Ptiloscelys by Bock 1958) are bigger and more typical of the genus.
Athough the Pied Lapwing's colouration resembles...
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Day two in the Andes: Marcapomacocha.

Posted Friday 5th July 2013 at 11:42 by Rick and Elis
One of the first birds we saw along the road on the second day was one we had seen the day before but not got good views of, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant.
Once we left Huachupampa the road got considerably worse and more treacherous, but thankfully we got up to the top in one piece although the many crosses at the side of the road over precipitous drops was a timely reminder of just how perilous the road is. On the way up we came across several Peruvian Sierra Finches and we were really pleased...
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Mountain Plovers in trouble!

Posted Tuesday 2nd July 2013 at 20:49 by Rick and Elis
Near the top birds of the list we have seen so far on our Wader Quest is the Mountain Plover. OK it's not the most stunning of birds visually, but its subtle hues definitely appeal to me.
On our trip to the west coast of the USA this was one of the highlights, we were given co-ordinates for where to find them lifted from e-bird by our great friend Knut Hansen. Armed with these details we set forth. Following maps, a GPS and the printed details Knut had given us we eventually arrived at the...
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