Welcome to Birdspix.com!

Welcome to the ongoing quest to photograph 700 or more ABA countable North American bird species. Of the 753 total species of birds possible to see in North America currently published to this site, the number of ABA “countable” species presently stands at:



Upcoming trips

No trips currently scheduled.

More Connecticut Shore…

Saltmarsh SparrowMay 30:  The Circle Beach boat ramp road on the Madison – Guilford line is a go to spot for Saltmarsh Sparrows and (if you are lucky) Seaside Sparrows asClapper Rail well. I didn’t find any Seaside Sparrows today, but a Clapper Rail called loudly from the roadside tall grass, then walked across the road, and remained in the open for several minutes, calling all the while. Best view I’ve ever had of this species.

More Connecticut Shore…

Saltmarsh SparrowMay 30:  The Circle Beach boat ramp road on the Madison – Guilford line is a go to spot for Saltmarsh Sparrows and (if you are lucky) Seaside Sparrows asClapper Rail well. I didn’t find any Seaside Sparrows today, but a Clapper Rail called loudly from the roadside tall grass, then walked across the road, and remained in the open for several minutes, calling all the while. Best view I’ve ever had of this species.

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Springtime back at Hammonasset

Alder FlycatcherMay 23: This time of year at Hammonasset State Park in Madison, CT one can usually hear the “fitz-bew” call of WillowYellow Warbler Flycatchers, but today I was surprised to hear instead the “free-beer” of an Alder Flycatcher, an uncommon species for this location. The Willard Island Trail always has multiple Yellow Warblers, andMagnolia Warbler today there was a straggler singing Magnolia Warbler keeping company with one of the Yellows.

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Neighborhood Screech-Owls

Eastern Screech-Owl pairDecember 6:  Back in  Florida. My sister-in-law called this morning to say there was an owl in her yard here in Boynton Beach, so naturally I said I’d be right over. Turns out there wasEastern Screech-Owl not just one owl, but a pair of Eastern Screech-Owls roosting quietly in plain view less than fifteen feet up in the shade of an areca palm tree.

Eastern Screech-Owls are common in Florida, but not often noticed. If you sometimes feel like you are being watched, look around – you may well lock eyes with an owl.Eastern Screech-Owl A few years ago I found one sitting on my mail box at dusk as I was pulling into the driveway.

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Eastern Whip-poor-will

September 7:  The nocturnal Eastern Whip-poor-will is a notoriously difficult bird to see, never mind photograph. Its eponymous call is familiar to anyone who has camped in the woods, but it is not often seen, except perhaps as a momentary darting shadow. I have staked out Meshomasic State Forest in Portland, CT at dusk a number of times hoping to spot one at the roadside while there was still enough ambient light to photograph, but although they are numerous here, while there is still light they remain silent and invisible and begin to call only just when the last vestige of useful light has finally waned. They don’t become really active until it is actually dark.  Frustrating.

I well remember when in May, 2014 a migrant was discovered one afternoon sleeping in plain view at eye level no more than ten feet from the boardwalk at Green Cay Wetlands close to home in Boynton Beach, FL, but I only learned about it that evening, and when I so hopefully got there first thing in the morning it was already gone. Only a small handful of people had gotten to see it at all.

Eastern Whip-poor-willSo when Tina Green posted a perched Whip-poor-will at Sherwood Forest State Park earlier today, and since after eleven years of photographing I still had never managed a single decent image of one, it wasn’t much of a decision to drive the 55-minutes down to Westport where Tina was kind enough to meet me in the parking lot and point out the spot. The perfectly camouflaged bird had moved from its earlier unobstructed position just enough to now be partially screened by a fir branch, but from a different angle was still viewable in profile through just one small opening amidst the tangle of branches. How Tina ever managed to find this bird remains a mystery to me, but over the years she has consistently been one of the best in the state at repeatedly doing just that. Thanks, Tina.

Baird's Sandpiper (front) with White-rumped SandpiperEarlier in the afternoon at Hammonasset, small sandpipers were still around, with Baird’s, White-rumped, and Least all in the same rain puddle, and an unusual opportunity to capture the two long-winged small sandpipers directly side by side for a nice plumage comparison, Baird’s in front and White-rumped behind.

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Hammonasset Sandpipers and more

Baird's SandpiperSeptember 2: This time of year is annually a good time to look for shorebirds in the rain pools at HammonassetBuff-breasted Sandpiper State Park in Madison, CT. The west-end pools are immediately adjacent to the parking lots and the birds are not bothered at all by slowly moving cars, so folks are being treated to some nice close-up views and photos.The past two days have featured a visiting Baird’s Sandpiper and a couple of Buff-breasted Sandpipers.

Least FlycatcherAt the east end, American Goldfinches are in the brush and small flycatchers are hawking insects in the low trees Eastern Wood-Peweeby the marsh edge near the picnic pavillion. I photographed a Least Flycatcher and two minutes later took some more shots of what I initially assumed was the same bird as it landed on the same branch in the same tree, but this one turned out to be an Eastern Wood-Pewee.

Osprey in flightFinally, one of the many Ospreys seen daily from our deck here in Westbrook offered some especially nice flight views.

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A Pair of Armchair “twitches”

California Scrub-JayWoodhouse's Scrub-JayJuly 7:  Each summer the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU) issues its latest list of taxonomic changes which invariably include not only name revisions, but also some splits that create new species. This year is no exception, and our birdspix.com list is the fortuitous beneficiary of two such new species.* First is the split of the former Western Scrub-Jay into two species, California Scrub-Jay and Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay*.

Leach's Storm-PetrelTownsend's Storm-PetrelNext, the former Leach’s Storm-Petrel is now split into three species – Leach’s Storm-Petrel, Townsend’s Storm-Petrel,* and Ainley’s Storm-Petrel.

Of the other changes, several affect species that may be seen in North America:

Green Violetear is split into two species – Mexican Violetear (Mexico to Nicaragua but seen rarely in the US as a casual), and Lesser Violetear (Costa Rica to South America).

The Puffinus genus of shearwaters has been split so that many of the North American shearwaters are now in the genus Ardenna. This affects Wedge-tailed, Buller’s, Short-tailed, Sooty, Great, Pink-footed, and Flesh-footed Shearwaters.

Sandhill Crane is now in a new genus Antigone.

Orange Bishop (not ABA countable) has had a name change to Northern Red Bishop.

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19 Responses to Welcome to Birdspix.com!

  1. Barbara Johnson says:

    Nice going John; I bookmarked the site so I’ll be checking your
    progress from time to time.


  2. penny solum says:

    Congratulations John on this excellent new presentation of your
    fine photography and travel details! I’ll be a regular visitor to your site,
    with pleasure!!!

  3. John Gerke says:

    Nice job with the web site!

    I added our 141st yard bird the other night when I heard Trumpeter Swans flying over headed north.

    Enjoy your south Texas trip!

    John and Anne

  4. john gentile says:

    Hi John;
    Beautiful site. You really found your call.
    Hope You’re all well.

  5. Gina Nichol says:

    It’s amazing what you’ve done in a few short years. The new site looks great! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Manny and Thelma Myerson - friends of the Leshems in The Cascades says:

    Wonderful bird photos.
    Wonderful web site.

    With SLRs, both Thelma and I enjoy photography locally.

    Manny (also retired MD)

  7. Jody Stout says:

    Enjoyed this site very much. Have added it to my favorites. Looking forward to the Alaska pix. I have friends, Robert and Carolyn Buchanan that travel with Kennan and Karen Ward taking pix of Polar Bears and Eagles. They spend most of their time in Alaska. Told me about the eagle lady and her live feed of “the feed”. Sad to learn she had passed. If you ever trip acros the Buchanan’s on your journeys, sy ‘Hi’ for me please. They are huge supporters of Polar Bears International.

  8. Wade and Melissa says:

    We would like to thank you for your help and this wonderful site. Your site is a valuable source of information for us as we expand our Birding hobby. Good luck in May, we know what you are going for, as we will be there for the whole month and hope to get a shot of the little guys also.

  9. Lauren says:

    Hi I am a third grader at North Trail Elemantary school and I am Working on a bird project with one of your pictures on it. My teacher said it turned out better than she thought it would so more people will be looking at it than usual and your picture was the best I could find. So can I please use your picture? We will not be selling anything.

    • john says:

      Please let us know your name, a little bit about your project, and exactly which picture it is that you wish to use.

  10. James M Oates says:

    may 1, 2005 photo of laughing gull on i-bird has red legs & incomplete hood-did you hear it laugh? tail could have more white spots in it for a franklin’s?

    • john says:

      I believe the photo to which you refer is that of the full breeding plumage Laughing Gull taken at Chincoteague, VA. It was seven years ago, so I honestly couldn’t tell you if I had heard it “laughing” or not, but Laughing Gulls are very common there and there were many dozen present. Franklin’s Gull in that location would be exceptional. The gull in question has a heavy bill, downward pointed at the tip, and almost no white on the wing tips. If you look at the Franklin’s Gull photos on birdspix.com, note that the bill is much more delicate, and the white on the wing tips is unmistakably pronounced. Also breeding plumage Franklin’s shows a delicate pink blush on the belly, that Laughing Gull lacks. The apparent shape of the black hood in a given photo has more to do with the posture of the bird when that particular picture was taken.

  11. Paige Rothfus says:

    Greetings, John.
    My name is Paige Rothfus and I was wondering if the photos on your website are ok for use in an app for iPhone and Android?
    I am making an educational app that lists birdsongs and I was hoping to provide photos of the birds with the clips to make for easier identification.
    I can credit the photos to you if would like. If you have any questions about my project, do let me know!Looking forward to hearing from you,


    • john says:

      Many of my photos already appear on the popular app IBird Pro. I would need to know a lot more details about what you are planning.

  12. I have created a free online ‘Birds of Vancouver Island’ that requires a photo of a juvenile Tree Swallow of which you have an excellent example. The ‘book’ is found on my website and I was hoping that you might contribute said photo.


  13. Dickson says:

    Great site, really impressed with what you have seen and photographed. Great goal! I’m definitely going to have to build a blog and share. Thanks again for the trip out to S.T.A.-5 today, great day of birding and photographing. Definitely get in touch with me when you want to come out my way, also hope we can get out again while here in your area for some more birding.

  14. Carol says:

    John: A pleasure to have spoken with you as you were photographing gnatcatchers on the Florida Canyon trail in southern Arizona on January 23rd. Thank you for sharing your blog and excellent photos. Best wishes, Carol H.

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