Book Review # 38

A Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh

Authors:  Bikram Erewal, Sumit Sen, Sarwandeep Singh, Nikhil Devasar & Garima Bhatia


More information

“I can actually say, and very sure of myself, this Photographic Field Guide is simply terrific! It’s a “heavy weight” contender versus other guides which are heavy on the text and light on the photos. One thing about birds, you may describe them in many ways but still will not compare to a color photograph of great quality. It’s my opinion of course being a bird photographer myself. Now, imagine 1375 species and subspecies over 4000 beautiful photographs, 3000 maps…did I mention the Photographic Field Guide is 792 pages in all!

Don’t get me wrong, there are accurate descriptions as well as important information about their plumage, habitat, range, and maps indicating distribution and population density.

I’m very delighted with the photo work, sharpness, color and high quality presentation. It’s a well structured guide that should be in every birder’s library. I recommend it!”

Reviewed by:  H.J. Ruiz – – May 15th, 2017

Publisher:  Princeton University Press

Stilt Sandpiper # 213

The stilt sandpiper (Calidris himantopus or Micropalama himantopus) is a small shorebird. The scientific name is from Ancient Greek.

he stilt sandpiper breeds in the open arctic tundra of North America. It is a long-distance migrant, wintering mainly in northern South America. It occurs as a rare vagrant in western Europe, Japan and northern Australia

This species nests on the ground, laying three or four eggs. The male has a display flight. Outside the breeding season, this bird is normally found on inland waters, rather than open coasts.

This species resembles the curlew sandpiper in its curved bill, long neck, pale supercilium and white rump. It is readily distinguished from that species by its much longer and paler legs, which give rise to its common and scientific names. It also lacks an obvious wing bar in flight.

Breeding adults are distinctive, heavily barred beneath, and with reddish patches above and below the supercilium. The back is brown with darker feather centres. Winter plumage is basically gray above and white below.

Juvenile stilt sandpipers resemble the adults in their strong head pattern and brownish back, but they are not barred below, and show white fringes on the back feathering.

These birds forage on muddy, picking up food by sight, often jabbing like the dowitchers with which they often associate. They mainly eat insects and other invertebrates.

The Stilt Sandpiper is # 213 on my “Lifer” List

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum:    Chordata
  • Class:       Aves
  • Order:       Charadriiformes
  • Family:      Scolopacidae
  • Genus:      Calidris (disputed)
  • Species:    C. himantopus

Binomial name

Calidris himantopus
(Bonaparte, 1826)

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© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

What’s Up?


In one location I visited in Florida, last April… While looking for waders birds, a peculiar pattern of mounds made of dry tall grass and weeds placed in a runoff shallow water canal. My curiosity led me to think they were perhaps nests built by large birds. Not until the following day when I saw a Tricolored Heron trying to hide from my presence by running toward the nest it proved to me it was a nest.

As my own rule, I don’t  disturb or bother any birds in the privacy of their abode.

It was the first time that I saw this type of nests. Interesting…

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© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

Wood Stork – # 210

Scientific classification













Species: americana

Binomial name

Mycteria americana

Linnaeus, 1758

The Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) is a large American wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae.

The adult is a large bird which stands 83 to 115 cm (33–45 in) tall and spans 140 to 180 cm (55–71 in) across the wings. Males typically weigh 2.5 to 3.3 kg (5.5–7.3 lb), with a mean weight of 2.7 kg (6.0 lb); females weigh 2.0 to 2.8 kg (4.4–6.2 lb), with a mean weight of 2.42 kg (5.3 lb). Another mean estimated weight for the species was 2.64 kg (5.8 lb). However, exceptionally large males are sometimes found and these can weigh up to 4.5 kg (9.9 lb). It appears all white on the ground, with blackish-gray legs and pink feet. In flight, the trailing edge of the wings is black. The head is dark brown with a bald, black face, and the thick down-curved bill is dusky yellow. Juvenile birds are a duller version of the adult, generally browner on the neck, and with a paler bill. The bare head and the long bill, which can measure up to 25.5 cm (10.0 in) in length, render the wood stork distinctive from other large waders in its range

This is a subtropical and tropical species which breeds in much of South America, Central America and the Caribbean. The wood stork is the only stork that presently breeds in North America. In the United States there is a small breeding population in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, along with a recently discovered rookery in southeastern North Carolina. After a successful three-decade conservation effort resulting in an increased population in the southeastern United States,

The Wood Stork is listed as my # 210 “lifer”.

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© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

Book Review # 36

The New Neotropical Companion

Author:  John Richer

Publisher: Princeton University Press 


“I’ve been reading The New Neotropical Companion written by Professor John Kricher (Biology at Wheaton College. It’s a 432 pages rich in knowledge converted to words and photographs.

He has made a compilation of important information referent to Ecology and the natural Neotropical areas of the western hemisphere. The book covers the American Tropical areas, as well as the Neotropical areas starting with the Caribbean islands such as the Bahamas, Bermuda the Antilles, including West Indies and Abaco, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Martinique and Cuba.

Rain Forests, Jungles, Tropical Forests are explained in a comprehensive language. The book also continues to describe with great detail the richness of wildlife of the Tropic areas of the Amazonia in South America. The abundance of wildlife in the Amazonia  with so many species animals and plants are the subject of a great deal of information for any reader with interest in Nature, especially when it comes to species of the New World.”

Reviewed by HJ Ruiz – – April 17th, 2017

What’s Up?

We Are Back!…

We returned home from our Spring vacation…still thinking that we needed even more days to unwind. Our vacations in general, leave us more tired than relaxed! We utilize our vacations to do the most we can, getting up early in the morning and going to bed late at night.

Anyway, we enjoyed every minute of our trip. Tyler had a ball and kept busy at all times. He loved his camera  and put it to good use to! His camera is a Sony Cyber -shot DSC-W800 20,1 MP. He shot approximately 45 photos, Some of which I consider very good. See samples:

We visited many places, went to the beach, enjoyed the pools, hikes, restaurants, strolls at night on the beach…I must mention my photo shootings too! The weather was perfect to top it all!.. ( Meanwhile, in our home’s area in Georgia was under severe storms that bordered into extreme!)

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© HJ Ruiz – Avian101