Welcome to Birdspix.com!

Welcome to what began in 2005 as a quest to photograph 700 or more ABA countable North American bird species. Of the 760 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


Red-necked Phalarope, Portland, CT

Red-necked Phalarope - femaleMay 29-30:  Stopped at the Portland Fairgrounds along the Connecticut River to check out the breeding plumage female Red-necked Phalarope feeding there in a large rain puddle. In the afternoon here the lighting was awful, but the following morning conditions were perfect. Phalaropes are unusual among avian species in that the females are more colorful than the males.

Red-necked Phalarope, Portland, CT

Red-necked Phalarope - femaleMay 29-30:  Stopped at the Portland Fairgrounds along the Connecticut River to check out the breeding plumage female Red-necked Phalarope feeding there in a large rain puddle. In the afternoon here the lighting was awful, but the following morning conditions were perfect. Phalaropes are unusual among avian species in that the females are more colorful than the males.

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Hammonasset Fallout

Blackburnian Warbler - femaleMay 20-21:  Hammonasset State Park in Madison, CT is one of the most visited birding venues in Connecticut year-round, and a place I visit often as it is just 15 minutes from my house. Since arriving back from Florida two days earlier, on May 20 I thought I’d check it out for migrants after three solid days of rain. There were a moderate number of warblers and others, the best being this female Blackburnian, but nothing compared to the next day. I’ve never before had the experience of a true “fallout,” but today there were so many warblers on the Willard’s Island trails, in Magnolia Warbler - femalevirtually every oak tree and even some of the conifers, that there was no way to accurately count them all and even difficult to stay on any single bird with the camera. I Bay-breasted Warblercounted eleven warbler species, but there were undoubtedly more. Most numerous were American Redstart (estimated minimum 75 seen), Magnolia (minimum 50 seen) and Black & White (minimum least 25 seen). I spent most of the time concentrating on those Canada Warblerspecies that I don’t see often – especially a pair of Bay-breasted Warblers which were lower down in the trees than most of the others except for the Black & Whites, and several Canada Warblers. Other species included a Yellow-bellied Flycatchercooperative Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Orchard Oriole, Scarlet Tanager (female), Great Crested Flycatcher, and a number of Eastern Wood-Pewees.

Except for possibly May 14, 2010 at Magee Marsh in Ohio, one of the best spring migration hot spots in the U.S., and September 10, 2012 at Bluff Point in Groton, CT during fall migration, today had the highest number of warblers I have ever seen in one place at the same time.

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Bahama Mockingbird in Lantana, FL

Bahama MockingbirdMay 2:  Best view yet of a Bahama Mockingbird, seen immediately adjacent to the parking area at Lantana Nature Preserve. This small patch of habitat along the intracoastal Waterway in the midst of surrounding development can often be surprisingly rewarding. On the right spring day this spot can hold a nice selection of transient migrants, and over the past few years has had such rarities as LaSagra’s Flycatcher and even a Kirtland’s Warbler.

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Back to Southeast Arizona

Slate-throated RedstartApril 25 -27: Southeast Arizona is undeniably one of the premier birding areas in all of North America, and it’s always a treat to go back. This time I was particularly tempted to make the impromptu trip by the appearance of a Fan-tailed Warbler that appeared on April 13 in a private yard in the Chiricahua Mountains, not far from where another rare (for North America) warbler, a Slate-throated Redstart, also was being observed.

I arrived in Tucson at 10 AM on April 25 and headed south directly to Tubac, along I-19, to look for the Sinaloa Wren that has been seen there off and on just south of Santa Gertrudis Lane. This species is becoming a kind of nemesis since I missed the one at Fort Huachuca two years ago after a morning of fruitless searching, and missed it again this time despite spending most of the day looking and listening. The wren had not been reported for the previous four days so there was no being certain that it was even still there, but it turns out it was indeed seen again sporadically by a few others later in the week. This is an extremely shy bird, more often heard than seen, and very difficult to see well let alone photograph.

My good Arizona friend Matt VanWallene met me back in Tucson in time for dinner, and together we set out early on April 26 for the Chiracahuas, two and a half hours southeast and not far from the New Mexico border. Unfortunately the Fan-tailed Warbler had turned Slate-throated Redstartout to be only a five-day wonder and was already long gone before my flight west, so we concentrated our search instead on the Slate-throated Redstart up in Pinery Canyon. The specific area to search is along a hilly trail adjoining a creek some 200 yards uphill from the roadside parking spot which is some two miles west of the campground at 7000 feet elevation. The bird can possibly be anywhere along a 100 yard or so stretch of the trail, so it is best to park oneself and just remain stationary and observe until sooner or late it is spotted. We were fortunate to see it several times, once at very close range at eye level which afforded an unusually furtunate opportunity for good photographs.

Red-faced WarblerBecause of the vigil for the Slate-throated Redstart, we paid only scant attention to the other species present including Townsend’s and Red-faced Warblers, Painted Redstarts, and one MexicanPainted Redstart Chickadee. I also had a two-second view of one brightly green-backed hummingbird that I suspected was a Berylline – a prospective life bird, and the Chiricahuas are indeed the place to see it – but I managed to miss the opportunity to document this would-be rarity with a photo.

OvenbirdNext stop, still in the Chiricahuas, was the George Walker House in Paradise. No rarities, although there was an Ovenbird which, although common in the east, is rare for Arizona.

The following morning we headed for the Huachucas where we had planned to seek out the Tufted Flycatcher in Ramsey Canyon, but the spot is a two mile hike uphill from the montane parking area and, discretion being the better part Zone-tailed Hawkof valor, I decided to forego this particular trek, so instead we drove up to the campground at the top of Carr Buff-breasted FlycatcherCanyon Road. This is a steep narrow dirt road with no guard rail and continuous very sharp switchbacks which leave no margin for error, so do not try this without a four-wheel drive vehicle with adequate ground clearance. The road up featured a pair of Zone-tailed Hawks. The roughly 26Greater Pewee species tally was rewarding with the highlights being a resident group of Buff-breasted Flycatchers and a Greater Pewee loudly singing its unique “Jose Maria” song.

In the afternoon we stopped at the Ash Canyon B&B which I had visited once before back in 2009. It’s a well-known birding hot spot where you can spend a leisurely few hoursScott's Oriole relaxing while the myriad species come in to the many feeders. Highlights here among the some 28 species I counted were Scott’s Oriole and a male Lucifer HummingbirdLucifer Hummingbird that the B&B is especially known for.

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Tropical Mockingbird in Lake Worth, FL

Tropical MockingbirdMarch 15:  Today I visited Lake Worth Beach Park on Rte. A1A in Lake Worth, FL to see if I could find the Tropical Mockingbird that has been reported to be resident there. It turned out to be quite conspicuous, perching openly in the small trees at the south end of the parking lot. This species is an uncommon visitor to the U.S. being normally resident from southern Mexico, the Yucatan, and through Central America into northern Brazil. The species is very similar to Northern Mockingbird, but lacks the white patches in the wings and has a longer tail that shows significantly less white. These two species have been considered by some to be conspecific.

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Boynton Beach White-faced Whistling Duck

White-faced Whistling DuckJanuary 3, 2018:  We kick off the new year with a White-faced Whistling Duck, currently hanging out on a neighborhood Boynton Beach pond with a huge mixed flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and Egyptian Geese. This species is not native to North America and not “ABA countable,” although it is widespread in most of South America and sub-Egyptian GooseSaharan Africa, including Madagascar. The individual represented here is quite docile and most likely an escapee. It is keeping company with a huge mixed flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and Egyptian Geese – the largest number by far of each of these two species I have ever seen in one place, literally too many to accurately count.

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21 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.

  15. Melissa Hafting says:

    It was nice to meet you at the Slate-throated Redstart last week. Was cool getting the bird to pose for us so nicely. Your photos are beautiful. Good luck in your quest of photographing 700 ABA birds I am sure you will get there if not already!

Please comment, we'd love to hear from you!