One Way to Record a WAVE File to Post on eBird

After a few failed attempts yesterday I finally recorded a bird song on an iPhone app called “RODE rec” and was able to post it onto an eBird list. Seems simple but it took me enough struggle to post step by step directions here. First is just the app. RODE rec was chosen because of online reviews suggesting that it is a reasonably good free app to record wave files. You can record using the phone recorder, but you get a less usable type file.

On opening the RODE rec app you will need to go through a registration process, but on future openings you’ll see something like this:

To make a new recording just click on the + icon at the bottom. Then you’ll see a screen like this:

All you need to do to record is tap the big red “Record” button, then when you are done tap on the green “Stop” button.

This much is pretty simple. I had difficult getting the recording to play. The trick is to swipe the gray band on the bottom all the way back to the left so that it resets to the beginning. After recording the gray band is all the way to the right, i.e. finished. See this screen shot below of the “finished” recording:

Compare to this one after swiping the gray band back to the far left:

Next I just emailed the recording to myself. To do this select the recording you want to send, and tap the “Upload arrow” on the upper right screen. Choose email, send the file to your self.

Then you move the recording from your email to a location you can drop and drag it to the “media” section on eBird (just like dropping and dragging or selecting a photo). One thing to note is that unlike a photo which is immediately visible on your eBird list, the audio file takes a while to be processed. My first one was able to be listened to on eBird by the next day.

I believe using a microphone or parabola will give a better recording, but this one with just my phone was passable and I’m pretty happy with it. Good luck. Ed

Types of Color in Birds

I knew that the blue color of most birds is not a pigment but rather due to feather structure, and that the iridescence of hummingbird gorgets and some other iridescent bird colors is also non-pigment related, but just how this works was hard to wrap my brain around. I just stumbled onto a nice, short article on the Cornell site that reviews these different ways birds have color. Enjoy:

How Birds Make Colorful Feathers

ANNOUNCING FEB 22, 2018, 6:45 PM, UPlace Library: STUMP THE EXPERTS



Feb 22, 2018, 6:45 PM, UPlace Library: Join Ken Brown as we try to figure out some unusual bird photodocumentation. Some of the slides truly need someone to identify them, some Ken knows but is wondering whether WE know, and some are just tricks from “bad” photos.

Trying to ID birds in the fog

Ken says, “The time has come for the battle of the ages.  We will divide into teams and have some fun putting our bird identification skills to the test.  I will attempt to find some easy-to-hard bird slides in order to stump you. I have not come up with an idea to fuel the competition, so suggestions are welcome.  This should be a hoot.  WOS  calls it ‘Stump the Experts,’, but obviously we won’t go there.”

The real meaning is to try to zero in on field marks you might not ordinarily notice because you use the easier ones, which might be missing in these photos and also in the field.

Ken Brown showing leadership skills

Are there prizes? Ask Ken.

January 17, 2018 – ABC CELEBRATES!


Refreshment table on left with Peter talking on right.

Click photos to enlarge.

ABC held our Big Yearly party on Jan 17th, and we had goodies galore, photos galore, and some very interesting Big Year reports. Those presenting were Blair Bernson, Brian Pendleton, Mike Charest, Heather Voboril, Ken Brown, Will Brooks, Peter Wimberger, Bruce LaBar, Brian Hanson, and Ed Pullen. Will Brooks was touted as the guy to beat in 2018, and it was great to see a young birder step up to the competition.

Some of the crowd

Blair Bernson reports his big year (while Chazz knits!)

Brian Pendleton gives his report while Mike Charest (L) looks on and Ryan Wiese handles the photos

Mike’s fond slide of the Brownsville dump

Many of us submitted our 5 best (or favorite) photos from 2017, including some who were unable to attend. Oohs, aahs, guffahs, and applause accompanied these. We were well entertained! It was noted that at least four people submitted photos of the Gyr at JBLM that was found by our own Donna La Casse!

Heather Voboril with one of her super slides

Reports by Bruce LaBar, Will Brooks, and Ed Pullen

Peter Wimberger gives his Big Year report

Happy birders

Refreshments were catered by Karen Gillis and Vera Cragin, and they were ample and delicious! Thanks! The Pullens are downsizing, and they found good homes for many of their bird books at a great price to us (free!).

ABA Bird of the Year shirts worn by Diane, Faye, Art, Laurel

What a fun way to spend a rainy evening! Let’s do it again next year!


NEW ZEALAND AND KIWIS WITH MALCOLM WILEY – MARCH 21, 2018 – $10.  Join us on March 21, 2018, 6:45 PM, University of Puget Sound – Thompson Hall room 175, to hear about New Zealand, especially Kiwis!

Handful of Kiwi

Malcolm Wiley will give a brief description of the conservation efforts for endangered birds undertaken by the Department of Conservation – with a focus on kiwi. He knows our own Laurel Parshall, who helped arrange this.

Kiwi monitoring

Malcolm spent 12 years working as a biodiversity ranger for the New Zealand Department of Conservation. He tells us, “Five of those years I was project manager for a project monitoring the survival and breeding success of a population of Great Spotted Kiwi in a mountain valley in the South Island of New Zealand. I’ve also assisted briefly with kakapo, fernbird, mohua (yellowhead), yellow eyed penguin, albatross, petrel, robin, and blue duck work. The rest of my time with DOC was running invasive species control projects including a couple of island rat eradication projects trying to create safe havens for bird species. I actually studied plant ecology at college, but in New Zealand most conservation work is focused on bird species so the opportunity came along to lead a kiwi project.”

Holding albatross, Enderby, Feb 03

Malcolm is back in the northwest now. “Now I actually work for Seattle Public Utilities in the Wastewater section, and I’m still not sure how I ended up in that line of work.”

2017 Annual Skagit Trip

A tiny part of large flock of near in Snow geese, not the one “blue goose”.

Sunday Dec 3 Ken Brown organized and led the annual Skagit and Samish Flat’s birding trip. This year so many ABC’ers wanted to come that he spit the trip into two groups to avoid a long caravan in traffic on the flats. The first group met Ken at the Smoky Point Rest Stop at 7:30, and the second group met shortly after about 8 AM and Ed Pullen along with lots of other strong birders headed out to follow Ken’s route.

First we got off on the first exit north of the rest area, Exit 208, and went left through Silvana and then left onto Norman Rd. Shortly after getting onto Norman Road at a house with several feeders a nice variety of feeder birds were seen, including a White-throated sparrow by just a few of us when it showed very briefly. A Sharp-shinned hawk was fanning its tail to dry in a nearby tree, and a merlin perched on a distant tree top. Further down Norman Rd was our second falcon of the day, an American kestrel, as well as several groups of Trumpeter swans and lots of fly-over Snow geese.

Prairie Falcon on Boe Rd

Where Norman Rd intersects Marine Drive, we went directly across to Boe Road where we had great looks at a Prairie falcon, first located by Bruce Labar, as well as American Kestrel and Merlin, bringing Ken’s group to 4 falcons (Ed’s would get Peregrine later, but Ken’s group had one in travel), as well as American Pipits, both common buteos Red-tailed and Rough-legged hawks, a Cooper’s hawk Ken located tucked in a distant tree, lots of Bald eagles, Western meadowlarks, as well as more and larger flocks of Snow geese overhead.

Subsequent stops at Thomie and Edie Roads yielded more of the same, and in Ed’s group the Willet’s (back care as always) brought us back to see a Northern Shrike.

Northern Shrike in the thorny brambles

From here we headed north to Skagit County, traveling on back roads up to Fir Island. At Wylie Slough we found 6 Greater yellowlegs, Ed saw 12 Black-bellied plover fly by, and we sorted through large flocks of Pine siskins hoping for a Common redpoll, and though Ken found one brief look at a likely possibility, none of us could pull a redpoll out of the hyperactive flocks of 250+ siskins.

Our group at Wylie Slough

At Hayton Reserve we were treated to an estimated 8-10,000 Dunlin in a huge flock on the high-tide remaining mudflats. Two peregrines put on a show dueling for apparent territorial rights to the flock, while the Dunlin dazzled with evasive flocking behavior. A good variety of ducks, a Harlan’s Red-tailed hawk, 12 Greater yellowlegs and about 50 Long-billed dowitchers added to our day list.

It was getting late so we skipped the rest of the dike access areas on Fir Island, and headed for the Samish Flats. A potty stop at Bayview State Park added remarkably little action on the water, with Horned grebe, Common and Barrow’s goldeneyes, and a DC Cormorant the only new species.

The Samish Flats, with most of our time spent at the West 90, yielded more sunshine, a flock of an estimated 20,000 Snow geese with at least one nicely seen ‘blue goose”, more peregrines, kestrels, a single short eared owl flew in the distance as dusk approached but probably the most unusual bird of the day was a single Long-billed curlew in a large flock of Ring-billed gulls fairly close in on one of the muddy rivulets.
Overall a nice day was had by all, and Ed’s group totaled 82 species for the trip. (Ken can make a comment re his groups totals.)

Long-billed curlew at Hayton Reserve

ABC announces Hood Canal cruise for March 3, 2018

WHEN: Saturday March 3 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

Field Trip:  Hood Canal aboard the Lady Alderbrook

Leaders:  Tahoma Audubon’s Bruce LaBar and Cara Borre, both accomplished spotters for Westport Pelagics

Lady Alderbrook cruising Hood Canal

The Lady Alderbrook cruising Hood Canal

The success of Black Hills Audubon’s Lady Alderbrook birding cruises spread, and this time ABC Club and Tahoma Audubon will partner with them to offer a birding cruise aboard the Lady Alderbrook. We will board the Lady Alderbrook at the Alderbrook Resort at noon and seek birds upon and above the waters of Hood Canal. The Lady Alderbrook has two decks, and if the weather happens to be rainy and cold, one can go inside and look out through picture windows. For a fuller sense of the Lady Alderbrook herself, see; go to “Area&Activities”; select “Lady Alderbrook” on the left-hand side of the page.

     Please dress for the weather and, then, extra warmly, to counter breeze on the water. Bring food and water as needed. Bring binoculars, of course. The trip will cost $25 per person, payable at the dock. Please contact Faye McAdams Hands to sign up for the trip at or 360-275-0553. Limit:  50 people. Since we are partnering, register as quickly as you can; spaces will go fast.

DIRECTIONS: The Alderbrook Resort and Spa is in Union, WA, and is about an hour’s drive from the Tahoma Audubon office at Adriana Hess Wetlands Park in University Place.  There are directions on their website (above), or use any app.  CARPOOLING is encouraged.  COME EARLY!

November 17, 2017 – ABC goes to Africa with James Bradley – report

ABC was happy to welcome James Bradley on November 17th, hosted by UPS/Slater Museum (thanks!), the incredible guide with whom Ed & Kay Pullen and Bruce LaBar toured Kenya a year ago. Now living most of the year in B.C., James still sported his African-English accent acquired during his formative years in Kenya.

James Bradley: Geology, Landscapes, and the Biogeography of the Birds of Kenya

James Bradley addresses avid ABC group

His narrative, entitled “Geology, Landscapes and the Biogeography of the Birds of Kenya,” was more of a class than a travelogue, as he took us through the geography, geology, climatology, biomes, and migration routes across Kenya and east Africa. We learned the geology of the rift valley and that the Arabian Sea and Red Sea are older rifts that eventually reached down to water. Kenya is dotted with dormant or extinct volcanoes of three types, as well. Graphic photos showing dry vs. wet seasons of the same areas showcased the scope of habitats available in what we might have expected to be year-round tropics elsewhere. Besides the famous Lake Victoria, there are may other lakes including saline lakes, some of which are seasonal. Flamingoes love these! Although there are many trees, famously acacias and baobabs, there are few dense forests. Because of less dense forestation, birds are easier to see in Africa in general than in the true jungles of South America, for example, plus there’s all that fabulous big game!

Migration routes to and from Kenya

There are quite a few endemics if you count the entire biome for each, which stretch across surrounding political borders. These 6 main biomes include types of groundcover, soil, trees and forests, as well as salt and fresh water habits, which were explained in detail, as well as threats to each.

Vulture crisis in Kenya, caused mainly by poisoning

Critically endangered Apalis

Yummy Cordon-blue

James’ current work is research in western Kenya, bordering Uganda, Lake Victoria, and Tanzania, where he has been studying a possible new species of cistacola. When asked for photos of the bird, he replied that recordings (which he played for us) are more confirmatory for this group of birds which look mostly alike. James is an ear birder extraordinaire, much preferring to identify birds and other wildlife by their sounds than by sight. In the case of the cistacolas, they are also named by their vocalizations rather than their appearances. James gave us a short quiz to see whether we could match sounds with the appropriately named cistacolas, but he called it off before we finished, hopefully not because of our sluggish responses!

Cisticolas named by voice


James goes to Kenya at least a couple of times a year and has been leading small personalized tours recently, and Bruce, Ed, and Kay were certainly sharing their delight with the tour they went on. He will be going again in March/April and possibly again next November. Since the tours are small, you’d better sign up soon. Details can be found on his website:, and the home page of the site currently features Ed, Kay, and Bruce, with James and other members of last year’s safari.

James Bradley with Willettes in their Africa shirts (Carol, Laurel, Diane)

REUNION: Bruce, Kay, tour leader James Bradley, & Ed

We need a field trip to Africa with James!