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:
August 19 -23: Simpsonville, S.C. (total solar eclipse – if only the weather cooperates…)
Cape Cod Little Stint
August 14: Today we finally add the first new species in over a year – a Little Stint that was first astutely discovered on August 9 on the mudflats at Monomoy NWR in Chatham, Massachusetts, and a successful reward for today’s six-hour round trip from Westbrook, CT to Cape Cod. This small Eurasian sandpiper occurs only rarely in North America and accordingly has already attracted many out of state visitors hoping for a view. It is keeping company with a mixed flock of Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers, but with a spotting scope is not too difficult to pick out owing to the combination of its crisp dark golden-orange plumage, black legs, and slightly smaller size.
August 14: Today we finally add the first new species in over a year – a Little Stint that was first astutely discovered on August 9 on the mudflats at Monomoy NWR in Chatham, Massachusetts, and a successful reward for today’s six-hour round trip from Westbrook, CT to Cape Cod. This small Eurasian sandpiper occurs only rarely in North America and accordingly has already attracted many out of state visitors hoping for a view. It is keeping company with a mixed flock of Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers, but with a spotting scope is not too difficult to pick out owing to the combination of its crisp dark golden-orange plumage, black legs, and slightly smaller size.read more »
May 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 as 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.read more »
May 23: This time of year at Hammonasset State Park in Madison, CT one can usually hear the “fitz-bew” call of Willow 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, and today there was a straggler singing Magnolia Warbler keeping company with one of the Yellows.read more »
December 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 was 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. A few years ago I found one sitting on my mail box at dusk as I was pulling into the driveway.read more »
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.
So 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.
Earlier 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.read more »
September 2: This time of year is annually a good time to look for shorebirds in the rain pools at Hammonasset 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.
At the east end, American Goldfinches are in the brush and small flycatchers are hawking insects in the low trees by 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.
Finally, one of the many Ospreys seen daily from our deck here in Westbrook offered some especially nice flight views.read more »