Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sunday, December 21, 2014

More from the Caribbean... Hispaniolan Woodpecker

Here is a Hispaniolan Woodpecker Melanerpes striatus, that I photographed in the Dominican Republic in December 2014. This woodpecker is endemic to the island of Hispaniola (Dom Rep & Haiti) in the Greater Antilles, and is widespread and common in the former, less so in Haiti. This is a female, note the black mid and fore crown (males have a complete red crown).   

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Back from the Caribbean

Back in Europe after a great trip to the Caribbean... the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe to be exact. Many great birds, particularly the endemics to each island, were seen and photographed, and I will post a few here in the coming days. This photo of a roadside recreation area in the mountains of Basse Terre, Guadeloupe, is named (using the local name Le Tapeur) after the endemic woodpecker found there. And, besides the bird on the sign, real ones are actually right there in the adjacent forest!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Time for overseas travel...

Just finished my last (I think) guided birding trip for this year in C & E Europe. Winter is upon us, and the best birding months over. So, what now ? Well, more birding, but in warmer, exotic, climes...
Watch this space!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ural Owl nest-boxes

The weekend involved a great trip with friends into the hills to put up nest boxes for Ural Owls. These owls are large and the boxes big and heavy, and they have to be placed high up, so it was tough at times. But the weather was kind and we managed. Here is one in place. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Good advice for birders!

I took this picture in a woodland in India. It is without question a very good idea, one all birders should take on board, especially when in woods and forests. Of course, everyone will say, but I am often surprised how it is not adhered to... 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Celebrating a woodpecker

Going through old neglected folders on the PC, having a clean up, and coming across things I had long forgotten about. For example, I came upon this this photo from Argentina, taken just after we (Simon, Yoav and Gerard) had seen our first Magellanic Woodpeckers, one of the world's most stunning picids and our main target on that trip.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Gold Crest

Bird names often fail to make sense, but here you have a species that is very well named, the Goldcrest! (Photo taken in October 2014, Hungary, Gerard Gorman).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Well that was a lot of cranes... and owls

Just finished another trip, with 1000s and1000s of Cranes seen in eastern Hungary. And, of course, lots of other birds, too, including dozens of Long-eared Owls, here is one... 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Next birding trip !

Getting ready for another birding week in eastern Hungary. Main targets will include Great Bustards, Saker, Imperial Eagle and other raptors, geese arriving for the winter, the sight and sound of 1000s of Common Cranes and in the forests, up to 8 species of woodpecker. Autumn is a great birding time

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Cranes, owls, raptors, bustards and this chap

Just finished another great birding trip in Hungary. Highlights included roosts of Long-eared Owls, birds of prey like Saker, Red-footed Falcon, 4 Goshawks soaring together and White-tailed and Imperial Eagles, Great Bustards and 1000s of Common Cranes. Of course, we also saw many common birds which are arguably not as exciting and are often 'neglected', like this Crested Lark. I got this one in a motorway parking area.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Book published today !

I'm proud to announce that today my book POCKET GUIDE TO TRACKS AND SIGNS was published. It deals with the evidence left by European wildlife. Here is the cover on the left. Click here TRACKS for more details.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Still early, but ...

It is only September, but Long-eared Owls are already beginning to occupy their winter roosts in Hungary. I know a few such roosts where dozens sleep together, and numbers rise the colder it gets.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Book Review

In this review of WOODPECKERS OF THE WORLD, I am referred to as being "obsessed". I have been called worse, so will take this as a compliment!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Austria and Hungary

And yet another great birding tour completed. This time with two South African birders, taking in parts of Austria and Hungary. We saw 150 species, upland, lowland and wetland, including many raptors and woodpeckers. Here is a favourite, a Crested Tit which is common in Austria's conifer forests.  

Sunday, August 3, 2014

So after the global travels, back to Hungary

Off soon guiding a group from the UK on an all-round natural history tour in Hungary. Birds, butterflies, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, plants.. all will be sought and looked at... watch this space! Here is one, a Lesser Purple Emperor, from the last such trip.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


A Goat Moth blends in well with this wooden background. Camouflage ? Photo taken in Hungary, June 2014, by Gerard Gorman.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Prepublication copy of new book

I have just received a copy of my forthcoming Pocket Guide to Tracks & Signs. It's due out in September. Here is a sample.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Back in Europe

Probirder is back at his desk in Europe after a very good USA trip! Here is another photo from Arizona, which is a great birding and wildlife destination! This shows a 'granary' or 'larder' of an Acorn Woodpecker in a tree. The birds excavate these holes and store acorns or other seeds in them, one acorn to one hole.  

Sunday, July 13, 2014


After a very successful trip to Arizona, I flew to Oregon in the NW USA. This is a tremendous birding destination, particularly for forests species. Here is one of the many woodpeckers found in the last few days, the handsome White-headed Woodpecker.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Arizona proved to be a great success. My main targets were Gilded Flicker, Arizona Woodpecker and Elf Owl, and all were found and seen. Arizona is a superb birding destination. Here is a shot of Arizona Woodpecker from Cave Creek Canyon, near Portal.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

After many years of work I am pleased to announce that my book WOODPECKERS OF THE WORLD - THE COMPLETE GUIDE has been published. So far, the feedback has been positive! Thank you to all of you who helped me with information and images for this book. Gerard Gorman.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

White Storks

Although locally a common bird throughout much of Eastern Europe, often nesting in villages and at roadsides, White Storks seldom fail to capture the attention of visiting birders. Despite trips often focusing on finding specialities and people's 'lifers', time is usually found to stop, observe and photograph these wonderful birds. Photo of a White Stork on its huge chimney-top nest taken in Hungary by Gerard Gorman.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

European Pond Terrapin

My good deed for the day ! I picked up this Pond Terrapin, who was in the middle of a busy road in Hungary, and got it safely to the side it was slowly heading in and made sure it did not turn back.      

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Another tour in Hungary done !

This Long-eared Owl chick was one of three found in a roadside bush in the Kiskunsag region, Hungary, yesterday. We did well for owls last week, with in addition great views of Little, Ural and Eagle Owls. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Busy birding times

These are busy days. Just back from guiding a group in Croatia, now off guiding another in Hungary. And in-between, I checked the first proofs of my forthcoming book TRACKS & SIGNS.  

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Croatia - Tawny Pipit

Currently taking some nice folks from Denmark around Croatia. Despite some unseasonal wet weather we are doing well. We are even getting some decent photos, for example, I managed to get this shot of a Tawny Pipit on Pag island yesterday. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Woodpeckers - North American Edition

I just found out that the Canadian publisher Firefly will issue a co-edition of WOODPECKERS OF THE WORLD - THE COMPLETE GUIDE (in Europe published by Helm this June). The sub-title and the cover will be different from the European one, as you can see here. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Back to a nice surprise!

Back from Croatia, where it was very windy on two days and rainy on another, making things hard, but we still found the special birds like Rock Partridge. But upon getting home I opened my mail and found a pre-publication copy of my new book WOODPECKERS OF THE WORLD. Here is the back cover, as a teaser! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Next up... Croatia

After Cuba, Spain, Slovakia and Hungary, the next trip for Probirder up is Croatia. Lots of 'rocky' birds there, like Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Nuthatch and the much sought after Rock Partridge ...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Back from Slovakia

Another successful trip done ! This time in  the mountains of Slovakia. One of the highlights was seeing Hazel Grouse (always a tough bird), but also finding Wolf scat, fresh prints and hearing a pack howl at dusk ! Here is a shot of some of the prints in wet mud. Photo: Gerard Gorman.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

We look at common birds, too!

Now Turkey Vultures are very common in Cuba, but most are seen soaring in flight or flying up from road-kill. Here is a perched one, a real beauty right? Photo by Gerard Gorman. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A stunning endemic bird

Blue-headed Quail-Dove Starnoenas cyanocephala, a localised, endemic Cuban bird. I got this shot in a roadside woodland on the Zapata Peninsula, Cuba last week. It was not easy, the bird was often in cover and when it did trot out into the open it would not stay still! Gerard Gorman.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Back from Cuba

Now that was a great trip to Cuba ! Here is one of the many birds we saw, a Cuban Parakeet, taken in the Zapata Swamp National Park. Gerard Gorman. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Off to Cuba again !

Vamos ! Probirder is off to Cuba again ! It is a great birding destination with endemics that include 2 woodpeckers. Here is one, Cuban Green Woodpecker, which I photographed on my trip there last year. The internet in Cuba is not always available, so not sure I will be able to post anything whilst there... we'll see.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Great Tour in Northern Spain

Just completed a great week-long tour to the Pyrrenean Mts in Navarra, northern Spain. Special birds seen included 3 Lammergeiers, many Griffon Vultures and Red Kites, Wallcreeper, Eagle Owl, Snow Finch, Golden Eagle, White and Black Storks, Alpine and Red-billed Choughs, and the lilfordi race of White-backed Woodpecker, etc, etc. The higher elevations were covered in snow and animal tracks were everywhere. For example, here is the trail of a Wild Boar. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tracks & Signs book due in September

The publisher has announced that my POCKET GUIDE TO TRACKS AND SIGNS (of Europe) will be out this September (2014). I have seen a few versions of the cover, but the final one is not yet decided upon. In the meantime, here are some bear droppings to keep you going. Click here TRACKS AND SIGNS for more info and a pre-publication discount !

Friday, February 14, 2014

New Woodpecker Book

My new book WOODPECKERS OF THE WORLD - THE COMPLETE GUIDE is due out this June. Click here for more details. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mammals in Tanzania

Probirder is back from Tanzania ! Lots of good birds of course, but overall the large mammals - zebras, wildebeest, giraffes, various gazelles and antelopes, black rhino, elephants, hippos, lions, including cubs, and 2 cheetahs - were the highlight. This young elephant was carefully guarded by the herd. Photo by Gerard Gorman.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tanzania here we come

So it will soon be time for Probirder to fly off to Tanzania. I expect that it will be hard to get on-line in the more remote areas, but actually, even if there is internet access, there might not be time to up-date this blog as there will be too much wildlife to see and it is best to be in the field! 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Tanzania... up next

The European winter forces Probirder to go exotic again. Next up is a trip to Tanzania. Of course, some major mammal watching is on the cards there, but there are also many great birds to see, including 4 'new' species of woodpecker to find, photograph and sound record. Wonder whether I will have another elephant encounter as I did last time I was in Africa ?