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Birding For Beginners – My Top Tips and Advice



Everyone casually notices birds when they go outside and tend to their day-to-day. But only certain people pay special attention to the varied species and are intent on getting a close look to inspect a particular individual bird’s characteristics. The people that do are known mostly as birders.

Birders are hobbyists who watch these winged phenomenon enthusiastically, not only in their local area, but will travel to specific locations to find a species known for that region. A “birdwatcher” is more casual, often tagging along with a birder. They generally aren’t at the same level as a birder and don’t become as involved in the sport.

The activity is one that has grown extensively in popularity, particularly in Northern America. It’s one that people enjoy due to the relaxing nature. It helps with reducing episodes of anxiety and stresses. Being in nature alone brings a sense of peace and calm. The additional entertainment of finding rare and beautiful birds is a most wonderful bonus. But those new are unsure how to start the process.

Birding For Beginners – My Tips

If you have the desire to become a birding enthusiast whether it be on a casual weekender basis or more exuberantly as a traveling birder who follows rare species around the globe, you’ll need to employ research for which you’ll need an informative birdwatching guide to learn about birds, their habitats, their characteristics, how to locate them and interact among them.

It’s also wise to join birding groups where you can meet people with common interests who you could go on excursions with as a way to learn or simply to have a good time. There are rules to keep in mind as a means of respecting your winged friends while observing them in their habitats. Some of these include:

  • Stay Quiet: Birds can be easily startled by loud sounds and will instantly fly away to find cover from what they presume to be a predator. You should not attempt to sneak up on a bird, it’s virtually impossible to do, and you will frighten it. These amazing creatures can hear much clearer than a human. With minimal sound, you’ll get as close as what will be possible.

The excitement of finding a rare or unusual species often leads to a need to make a loud declaration of victory, but most enthusiasts know these exclamations need to be made in a whispered tone so the bird remains perched for everyone to enjoy. Click to see some of the most beautiful birds in the world.

  • No Sudden Motions: When you go out to observe, it’s important to silently, gradually, slowly, “stalk” with deliberate movements to avoid bringing fear into the environment.

You can create a nervous atmosphere merely by swiftly bringing your binoculars up to your eyes. The closer you’re able to get to your subject, the less movement you want to make and the more silent you want to be. The slightest bit of awareness and there will be an instant escape.

  • Look For A Crowd: In most of North America, the winter months is the “non-breeding season.” A lot of the smaller species will join mixed flocks in an effort to be protected and for help in finding food. For the most part, the flocks remain silent, but in some cases there will be a couple of members sending out a call.

During these seasons, if you follow one of these calls, you might be led to a substantially sized feeding flock of a mixed fare that is bound to surprise a novice birdwatcher potentially with a rare subject hiding in the group. These are the reasons birders enjoy the sport, the unknowing of what you’re going to come across.  You can find more notions for why you should join the fun at .

  • Research Habitats: Each type of bird has adapted specifically to a special habitat meant for their needs. You will need to research the winged friends you’re most interested in as far as where they spend their time so you know precisely where to look.

 For instance, woodpeckers, obviously, require trees, and a meadowlark can be found in a wide open field.

As a “birder,” rarest species will be found throughout the globe in some of the most unusual circumstances that you might find yourself in.

But finding birds and, hopefully, getting that picture is worth every effort.

  • Patience Is Key: Often you might sit for what seems like forever before the subject you’re watching comes into the open where you can actually get a nice, clear view.

The hobby requires a great deal of patience and is time-intensive, waiting for the one that you want to see to show up. It’s meant to be relaxing, so it’s about enjoying your surroundings until that happens.

An important rule of thumb passed on from seasoned enthusiasts is to ensure that the sun is always behind you. This makes it easier to recognize what’s in front of you. If the sun is facing you, it can make birds appear merely as a shadow with no color distinctions.

  • Bright Colored Garments Should Be Avoided: Most of the winged creatures’ color vision is poor, but when it comes to brilliant color schemes like white, these contrast so greatly with the background and emphasize even the slightest motions.

It’s wise to wear earth tones that blend into the atmosphere. That doesn’t mean that camouflage is a requirement. The suggestion is that darker tones or earthy shades are just as effective, even neutral shades.

  • Don’t Focus On One Spot: Even though you might go to a location with the intention of finding one particular subject, you should never limit yourself to merely that one specific species. You don’t know what you might be missing in the surrounding areas. If you focus on the thickets, or the wide open fields, you’re missing so many examples resting on branches and lounging in holed-out trees, one of which might be that rare find a birder longs for.

If you’re new to the hobby, you’re going to be excited, anxious, and, if you find what you’ve been searching for, elated. Remember, though, you’re in the birds’ home. Pay your respects in the most silent way, with little movement in the proper attire so you don’t bring fear into their environment. Please look, but don’t touch their habitat, their babies, and their things. Look with your eyes and leave as you came.

The post Birding For Beginners – My Top Tips and Advice appeared first on Travel Experta – Family Travel Blog.

By: Marina Villatoro
Title: Birding For Beginners – My Top Tips and Advice
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Published Date: Wed, 07 Oct 2020 14:41:37 +0000

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What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?




People have always liked to drink on board flights, especially people from Australia. Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that there was an inflight bar offering in the 1970s.

Ansett Airlines were a major player in the Australian domestic market up until their demise in September 2001. For many years, there were two domestic airlines, Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) and Ansett.

Ansett’s Inflight Bar

At the time, Ansett operated Boeing 727s, Douglas DC-9s and Fokker F27 Friendships on domestic routes in the country. Airline tickets were quite expensive, with tariffs agreed upon by both airlines thanks to Australia’s weird two-airline policy at the time.

While tickets were expensive and food complimentary, you still had to pay for a drink at the bar. Here is an inflight bar menu from the era, showing the drinks available and their prices.

Clearly the pricing is astounding by today’s standards – 30 cents for a beer? I’ll have thirty-three please! I like how Australian gin is 35c while the imported gin is just 5c more. Which would you choose?

You can tell it is from another era as you can buy cigarettes on board. These price up at 45c, a far cry from the extortionate prices people in the west pay these days for a smoke!

Overall Thoughts

The on board offering is pretty comprehensive for internal flights, and I imagine you’d be hard pressed not to find something you might like. In those times, all payments would have been by cash as well, which would have meant a lot of coinage being handled on board.

Of course, things haven’t changed too much over the years. On many airlines you pay for your drinks just as they did back in the 1970s. Shame the prices aren’t the same of course!

Did you ever buy drinks on board flights from the inflight bar back in the day? Do you still? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Daniel Tanner on via Wikimedia Commons.
Menu image by Ikara on Australian Frequent Flyer.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?
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Published Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2020 15:03:14 +0000

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These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?




The shrimp stop swimming at dusk and gather near the river’s edge. After sunset, they begin to climb out of the water. Then they march. All night long, the inch-long crustaceans parade along the rocks.

The parading shrimp of northeastern Thailand have inspired legends, dances and even a statue. (Locals also eat them.) During the rainy season, between late August and early October, tourists crowd the riverbanks with flashlights to watch the shrimp walk.

Watcharapong Hongjamrassilp first learned about the parading shrimp, and the hundred thousand or more tourists who come each year to see them, about 20 years ago. When he started studying biology, he returned to the topic. “I realized that we know nothing about this,” he said: What species are they? Why and how do they leave the safety of the water to walk upstream on dry land? Where are they going?

Mr. Hongjamrassilp, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, decided to answer those questions himself. His findings appeared this month in the Journal of Zoology.

Working with wildlife center staff members, Mr. Hongjamrassilp staked out nine sites along a river in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province. They found shrimp parading at two of the sites — a stretch of rapids, and a low dam.

The videos they recorded revealed that the shrimp paraded from sundown to sunup. They traveled up to 65 feet upstream. Some individual shrimp stayed out of the water for 10 minutes or more.

“I was so surprised,” Mr. Hongjamrassilp said, “because I never thought that a shrimp can walk that long.” Staying in the river’s splash zone may help them keep their gills wet, so they can keep taking in oxygen. He also observed that the shells of the shrimp seem to trap a little water around their gills, like a reverse dive helmet.

DNA analysis from captured shrimp showed that nearly all belonged to the species Macrobrachium dienbienphuense, part of a genus of shrimp that live mostly or fully in freshwater. Many Macrobrachiumspecies spend part of their lives migrating upstream to their preferred habitats.

Most parading shrimp that Mr. Hongjamrassilp captured were young. Observations and lab experiments showed that these shrimp probably leave the water when the flow becomes too strong for them. Larger adult shrimp can handle a stronger current without washing away, so they’re less likely to leave the water.

Walking on land is dangerous for the little shrimp, even under cover of darkness. Predators including frogs, snakes and large spiders lurk nearby, Mr. Hongjamrassilp says. “Literally, they wait to eat them along the river.”

And the shrimp can survive on land for only so long. If the parading crustaceans lose their way, they may dry out and die before they get back to the river. A few times, Mr. Hongjamrassilp came across groups of lost shrimp dead on the rocks, their once-translucent bodies baked pink.

Yet most navigate upstream successfully, and scientists have spotted other freshwater shrimp around the world performing similar feats, scaling dams and even climbing waterfalls.

Leaving the water when the swimming gets tough may have helped these animals spread to new habitats over their evolutionary history, Mr. Hongjamrassilp said. Today, the number of parading shrimp in Thailand seems to be declining. He thinks tourist activity may be a factor, and learning more about the shrimp might help protect them.

The study’s authors made “some really excellent observations,” said Alan Covich, an ecologist at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the research. But understanding why the Ubon Ratchathani shrimp move upstream, and how far they travel, will require more research, he said.

“The most surprising thing to me was that it attracted so many tourists,” Dr. Covich said. He doesn’t know of any other example of people gathering to appreciate a crustacean in quite the same way.

“We have crayfish festivals, we have all kinds of things,” Dr. Covich said, “but generally it’s people eating them, not watching them move.”

By: Elizabeth Preston
Title: These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?
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Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 17:02:07 +0000

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Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?




There are reports that Aer Lingus have applied for 1,500 slots at Manchester Airport for the Summer 2021 season. This will allow the airline to base four aircraft there and service flights to the United States.

At present, there have been no press releases from the airline stating what is going on. Even so, it probably makes sense for the Irish airline to do this in the current market.

Aer Lingus And Manchester

From what is known, there will be three Airbus A321LRs and an A330 based at Manchester. These will operate non-stop services to New York JFK, Boston, Chicago and Orlando, and the season starts on 28 March 2021.

With Thomas Cook having gone out of business, there is likely space for another competitor. New York and Orlando will see competition from Virgin Atlantic, while the other two routes have no airline flying at the moment.

Aer Lingus has been connecting passengers over Dublin very successfully from the UK regions for a while now. Due to this, they will have visibility on traffic patterns, potential yields and more, making this an informed decision.

I imagine they also hope to cream off some of the connecting traffic that routes through London Heathrow on British Airways and Amsterdam on KLM among others. It would prove to be quite successful.

Transatlantic Joint Venture Approval

The US Department of Transport has tentatively given its approval for Aer Lingus to join the oneworld transatlantic joint business. This is operated by American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair.

These airlines coordinate schedules and pricing, share revenues and expenses. For the consumer, it means more choice – those making a booking on British Airways across the Atlantic will also see options on American Airlines on the BA web site as one example.

Theoretically, it would allow people seeking flights on the British Airways web site to automatically be given options to fly non-stop with Aer Lingus, along with the Manchester-London Heathrow-US city connecting itinerary.

Whether Aer Lingus will join the oneworld alliance, even in a oneworld connect capacity remains to be seen. Frequent flyers would welcome it, especially those in Ireland.

Overall Thoughts

No doubt the boffins have been working behind the scenes to see if the business case for transatlantic flights from Manchester stack up. As things have proceeded as far as a slot application, I would guess chances are good that it will go ahead.

Either way, let’s see if this happens and if it does, whether Aer Lingus will stay for the long haul. If they can make more money elsewhere, they’ll up sticks and leave. Regardless, it is an interesting development in European aviation.

What do you think of Aer Lingus starting transatlantic services from Manchester? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by N509FZ via Wikimedia Commons.
Aer Lingus A321neo LR by Pitmanaaron via Wikimedia Commons.
Business class cabin via One Mile At A Time.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?
Sourced From:
Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:03:48 +0000

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