Welcome to Birdspix.com!

Welcome to the ongoing quest to photograph 700 or more ABA countable North American bird species. Of the 738 total species of birds possible to see in North America currently published to this site, the number of ABA “countable” species presently stands at:

                                                              706

NEWS & RECENT OUTINGS

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Florida Warbler Migration

April 30: My old reliable Canon 7D camera died at the end of our Colorado trip, but when I sent it in to the Canon repair facility in Newport News, VA for a repair estimate, theyWorm-eating Warbler wanted over $900 which it turns out is more than the cost of a brand new 7D. The 7D has had a major price drop because of the release of the new 7D Mark II which isBlack-throated Blue Warbler - female faster, has more pixels, and a host of new features, so the old camera is now officially junk and, as of yesterday, I have a new Mark II ordered as always from good old reliable B&H in NYC. The timing is fortuitous as migration is presently in full swing here in south Florida, with warblers galore.

Blackpoll WarblerMy new favorite spot for migrants is Lantana Nature Preserve in Lantana, the very same spot where the La Sagra’s Flycatcher was a few weeks ago. A few days agoOvenbird there were multiple Worm-eating Warblers there, and today in one hour I counted 53 Ovenbirds and over 40 Blackpolls among ten warbler species, and I’m sure I missed at least half the Ovenbirds – they were just everywhere. My favorite today was a Cape May Warblerbeautiful crisp male Cape May Warbler which perched cooperatively on a low branch in perfect light.


Florida Warbler Migration

April 30: My old reliable Canon 7D camera died at the end of our Colorado trip, but when I sent it in to the Canon repair facility in Newport News, VA for a repair estimate, theyWorm-eating Warbler wanted over $900 which it turns out is more than the cost of a brand new 7D. The 7D has had a major price drop because of the release of the new 7D Mark II which isBlack-throated Blue Warbler - female faster, has more pixels, and a host of new features, so the old camera is now officially junk and, as of yesterday, I have a new Mark II ordered as always from good old reliable B&H in NYC. The timing is fortuitous as migration is presently in full swing here in south Florida, with warblers galore.

Blackpoll WarblerMy new favorite spot for migrants is Lantana Nature Preserve in Lantana, the very same spot where the La Sagra’s Flycatcher was a few weeks ago. A few days agoOvenbird there were multiple Worm-eating Warblers there, and today in one hour I counted 53 Ovenbirds and over 40 Blackpolls among ten warbler species, and I’m sure I missed at least half the Ovenbirds – they were just everywhere. My favorite today was a Cape May Warblerbeautiful crisp male Cape May Warbler which perched cooperatively on a low branch in perfect light.

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Chasing the Colorado Chickens

On April 7 I flew to Denver to meet up with the Sunrise Birding group led by Connecticut’s Gina Nichol, England’s Steve Bird, and Arizona’s Wezil Walraven for a ten-day circuit of Colorado focused primarily, though not entirely, on searching for game bird species. I hoped to add up to five new species to the birdspix.com list. The ambitious itinerary led us to all four quadrants of the state and covered a total of 2243 miles. A total of 140 species were logged (135 seen and 5 heard only), certainly not all of which are recounted here. All the group’s many target species were logged with the sole exception of Pinyon Jay.

Garden of the GodsFrom Denver airport on the way southeast to overnight in Pueblo, we visited scenic Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, where on the cliffs glowing red in the evening sunlight we scoped a Prairie Falcon high up on the rock wall and watched numerous White-throated Swifts darting erratically over the promontories.

Chihuahuan RavenApril 8 – day two: Morning featured, among other species in the Pueblo environs, a scattered covey of Scaled Quail between the road and a residential neighborhood, and a stop at Holbrook Reservoir found numerous ducks and grebes including a Clark’s Grebe, Snowy Plovers, Long-billed Curlews, American Avocets, Marbled Godwits, and even a small flock of Franklin’s Gulls. Outside of nearby La Junta we had a Chihuahuan Raven perched on a pole withMountain Plover the stiff wind nicely fluffing up its signature white neck feathers which are not usually easily seen. Finally, along the road not far from Adobe Creek Reservoir, the first of my five sought-after species, a pair of delicately-colored Mountain Plover (1) on the sparsely covered open ground – a particularly gratifying find since this uncommon bird was the one species I had managed to miss at Pawnee National Grasslands on a previous visit to Colorado in 2010.

April 9 – day three:  After overnight in Lamar, we rose at 3:40 AM for the first of our planned early-morning lek-viewing outings – this one for the endangered Lesser Prairie Chicken (2), my own second sought-after species. These game birds were once numerousLesser Prairie Chicken across the plains, but were hunted nearly to extinction during westward expansion in the 1800’s and now can be viewed only by making prior arrangements at one of the few protected “leks” (the grounds where males perform their strange early-morning ritual mating displays trying to outdo one another in impressing an eligible female). Viewing all this entails a ritual of its own. The viewing is done entirely from a blind, inside which one must remain perfectly quiet. One has to be on site in the blind before the birds begin their dance (i.e while it is still pitch dark), and one is not permitted out of the blind (no bathroom break) until the birds are done (usually about an hour after sunrise).

This Lesser Prairie Chicken lek is on private land owned by Norma and Fred Dorenkamp of Holly, CO. Fred met up with our group in the dark at our prearranged location and transported us to the lek in his old yellow school bus which then doubled as our blind, out the open windows of which we would be able to view, scope, and photograph the birds – which as it turned out were actually not that close but some seventy-five yards away. It was very cold, but the early morning was clear, the sunrise lighting just fine, and life was all good. Fred and Norma then topped everything off with a hearty chuck wagon style breakfast for us in their memorabilia room which featured many antique wild west implements and some of Fred’s old rodeo equipment from his days as a bronc rider.

Porcupine 5830After packing up back at the hotel, the rest of this day consisted mainly of travel from Colorado’s southeast corner to Wray in the northeast corner. We stopped at Bonny Lake State Wildlife Area, but there’s no longer a lake there – just an old dam and a dry lake bed, but we did get an unusual close-up study of a pair of Porcupines there, one (whose wizened look reminded me of Yoda) nestled in a tree, and the other huddled partially concealed in a brushy tangle on the ground.

Grater Prairie ChickensApril 10 – day four: Again we were up in the dark to visit another lek – this one for Greater Prairie Chicken (3) – my third target species – on the private land of Bob Bledsoe, and again by prior arrangement. Bob has outdone himself providing an outstanding viewing opportunity for his visitors by permanently parking two vehicles (one of which is a showroom-new four-door pickup truck) on the lek itself such that the birds are able to be viewed very close-up on either side of the vehicles. The morning was freezing cold, necessitating long underwear, multiple clothing layers, hats, gloves, etc., and we first had to scrape the frost off the vehicles’ windows. The fact notwithstanding that one’s bladder always seems to call attention to itself most emphatically when there is no opportunity to go, boy was this ever the show! First of all the displaying chickens produce this other-worldly eerie musical wavering which is called “booming,” (video) but which actually sounds more like continuous blowing across the mouths of many distant soda bottles. Then the chickens were so close that a few times I had to zoom out on the camera lens just to get the whole bird into the frame, and a few times birds actually landed on the roof of the vehicles. We counted some thirty-one Greater Prairie Chickens here.

Chestnut-collared LongspurAfter packing up back at the hotel, and shedding a layer or two, next stop was the Pawnee National Grasslands area where we had Chestnut-collared Longspur just south of the Grasslands themselves along CR 105, andMcCown's Longspur McCown’s Longspur at precisely the same spot where I saw them in July, 2010 along the Grasslands’ main marked birding route. Then we drove southwest, skirting Denver and heading up into the Rockies with the night at Silverthorne at elevation 8,970 ft.

April 11 – day 5:  First stop this morning was a hillside residential neighborhood to stake out a feeder where all three species of Rosy-Finches were possible.  We spotted a sizable flock of Rosy-Finches almost right away, but the yard with the feeder was now festooned Rosy-Finch neighborhood 04with signs warning away any binoculars, telescopes, photography, or even so much as an approach.  Apparently the woman owner had had a run-in with another birding group earlier in the week which had now spoiled things for everyone else. We were careful to remain well away from that house, but with patience still managed to get good views of mostly Brown-capped and a few Gray-crowned Rosy-finches, and even one Black was briefly seen – a life bird for several in the group.  Gray Jay, Steller’s Jay, Mountain Chickadee, and Pygmy Nuthatch were around, and there was also a treetop view of a small group of Pine Grosbeaks.

John at Loveland Pass 25From here it was over to Loveland Pass at an elevation of nearly 12,000 feet to look for White-tailed Ptarmigan, difficult to spot because of its perfect white winter camouflage against the snow. It took a while, with panning through all the scopes, before one was finally spotted, two White-tailed Ptarmiganhundred yards away – nothing more than  a small roundish white shape with a dark eye and short dark bill. It was interesting seeing the species in its white basic plumage, but unfortunately a far cry from the close-up views I had lucked upon of the species in its speckled alternate summer plumage at Medicine Bow Curve in Rocky Mountain NP in July, 2010.

Lewis's WoodpeckerFinally, heading on westward toward Gunnison, we made a stop in a neighborhood in Buena Vista for two Lewis’s Woodpeckers, resplendent as usual in their unique dark green and bright pink plumage.

April 12 – day 6: With Gunnison as a two-night base, several venues today produced at least five American Dippers in the rushing water at Almont, more Brown-capped Rosy-Finches and some Cassin’s Finches in Crested Butte, and at the Gunnison National Forest Townsend’s Solitaire and a surprise pair of American Three-toed American Three-toed WoodpeckerWoodpeckers. Above the Blue Mesa Dam there were unusual eye-level views of White-throated Swifts, and an exquisite sky-blue Mountain Bluebird posed cooperatively on a chain link fence. That evening we had what I considered the trip’s best dinner at Garlic Mike’s in Gunnison. The shrimp scampi was memorable and it had some special ingredient that gave it a spicy kick, but although I made it a point to ask Mike wouldn’t divulge the secret…

April 12 – day 7: Another 3:30 AM alarm clock for a predawn lek vigil, this time for one of North America’s rarest and most protected birds – the Gunnison Sage-Grouse (4), a life bird for everyone on the trip except our leader Wezil. The Waunita lek some 19 miles east of Gunnison isGunnison Sage-Grouse currently the only remaining sanctioned venue for seeing this species, and even this may be discontinued in 2016. Viewing here is from a stationary bus-like blind, and an official observer is present to make certain nothing whatsoever is done to disturb the displaying birds, including leaving the blind, until they are all done – never mind that they are now close to half a mile away on a ridge, having moved further away this season from where they were being seen in prior years. At this distance all viewing was by spotting scope only, but we were able to count twenty-five birds, and it was even possible to digiscope a few pictures – good enough for definitive ID with the unmistakable pony-tail-like filoplume clearly on display. Prisoners in the blind, fortunately no one’s bladder exploded, but there were some pretty desperate faces indeed. Oh, and the temperature this morning was 25 degrees.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison NPAfter a replenishing hot breakfast it was on to nearby Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the place for Dusky Grouse – we saw three altogether. No lek behaviorDusky Grouse with this species; they are relatively tame, loll in and around the campsites, and do not seem at all fazed by the presence of humans. Next, off to overnight in Grand Junction.

April 14 – day 8: More inspiring scenery at magnificent Colorado National Monument, with lots more White-throated Swifts as well as Rock Wren, Juniper Titmouse, and various Chukarothers. Outside of Grand Junction along Coal Creek Canyon Road near Mesa we had our only chance to look for what I hoped would be the fifth new species for me – Chukar (5). This distinctive gray game bird with its black and white face and flanks and red bill favors steep rocky hillsides, and that is exactly where we spotted one – but it dropped down out of sight behind a boulder within seconds after the vans stopped, and had I not luckily fired off a hurried couple of poor shots of this distant bird through the closed van window I would have come away with no record at all. We searched for a little while for another, but besides a momentary sighting by Steve no more Chukars were to be seen by the group here or anywhere else. From here, on to Craig for the night and yet another pre-dawn lek in the morning.

Sharp-tailed GrouseApril 15 – day 9:  This early morning we used our own vans as the blinds, and with a light dusting of snow on the ground, found some twenty Sharp-tailed Grouse on their lek with most of the birds surprisingly just behind a wire fence directly by the side of the busy highway with huge trucks barreling by at 50 mph. With acres and acres of empty grassy field behind them, who could explain why the birds chose the very spot closest to the busy traffic, yet there they were. The Sharp-tailed Grouse is aptly named, with its triangularly pointed white tail.

California GullNext up to Walden, crossing the continental divide at Rabbit Ears Pass, and a late afternoon at Walden Reservoir with lots of waterfowl and a particularly garrulous (and hungry) group of handsome adult California Gulls who enjoyed our offering of some handouts of rolls left over from breakfast.

Greater Sage-GrouseApril 16 – day 10: Last day, last lek, this time Greater Sage-Grouse. Another early morning, though not as freezing cold. Again we were on-site before sunrise and as the first light broke we could easily make out many grouse on the lek quite close to the vans, but all of a sudden a very bright light suddenly flashed on, flushing all the birds which flew off into the deep grass some sixty yards away on the opposite side of the road where they were now not only far away, but also directly in the bad light of the sun. What on earth had happened? A groupGreater Sage-Grouse lek of British birders in another van behind us had managed to accidentally turn on their bright halogen headlights and couldn’t figure out how to turn them off. We were all dumbfounded, disappointed, frustrated, and yes a bit angry, but there was nothing to do but patiently wait, and…by and by, lo and behold, the birds began to work their way back, closer and closer to the road, and finally crossing back over to where they had started – back in perfect light. So it all turned out well in the end, and we had a splendid view of Greater Sage Grouse lek behavior. (video) However we were still temporarily accosted by a zealous state wildlife official who had witnessed the entire fiasco and was taking pictures of all the vans, not realizing that the British group was a separate group and not part of ours.  It all finally got sorted out, but the undeserved knee-jerk “guilty until proven innocent” treatment was no doubt a bit disconcerting to our leaders to say the very least.

White-out 31The remainder of the day consisted of a high-elevation drive eastward through State Forest State Park, over Cameron Pass, and finally down to lower elevation and ultimately back to Denver. We were lucky. The weather had been perfect every day until we now experienced treacherous, near white-out driving conditions in the high mountains, and Cameron Pass itself was to receive twenty inches of snow in the ensuing 24 hours. Had we been a day later we could have been stranded in Walden, unable to get back to Denver, and likely would all have missed our flights home.

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Purple Swamphens at Green Cay

Purple SwamphenMarch 20:  Purple Swamphens have become permanent residents at Green Cay Wetlands in Boynton Beach. Look for a pair of them half-way across the north end of the wetlands on the north side of the boardwalk.

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La Sagra’s Flycatcher redux

La Sagra's FlycatcherMarch 14:  La Sagra’s Flycatcher is primarily a Caribbean species, but each year one or two are seen in South Florida and this year is no exception. Currently there is one at Lantana Nature Preserve, a small nature trail adjacent to the inland waterway on East Ocean Blvd. in Lantana, less than fifteen minutes from where we are renting this winter in Boynton Beach. A few minutes’ patience will be rewarded with the bird flying into its favorite gumbo limbo tree along the main trail just across the small bridge by the butterfly garden. Not a bad way to mark my 70th birthday…

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Four for four in Texas

February 2-6:  During three prior trips to the Texas lower Rio Grande Valley, one species that managed to elude me all three times despite hours of searching, is the Aplomado Falcon. Accordingly I resolved to one day make another trip to the valley, but at such time that the prospect of an especially tempting rarity or two would make the trip extra worthwhile. So when a Gray-crowned Yellowthroat showed up at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco on January Estero Llano Grande SP24, to complement the first-time-in-the US Striped Sparrow that was being seen in Williamson County since January 11, it was finally time to head back to Texas. To add to the allure, these three species could bring the ABA photographed species total for birdspix.com up to 700, not even including the planned stop at Aransas Bay for Whooping Cranes.

I arrived in Harlingen at 10:30 AM on February 2 and headed straight from the airport to Estero Llano Grande in Weslaco, but the Yellowthroat, which had been seen two or three times earlier in the morning, was not to be spotted again that day, so I planned to return early the following morning, hopeful despite the weather report for temperatures in the 40’s with a strong likelihood of rain.

Accordingly, I was at the appropriate spot on the Spoonbill Trail by 7:45 AM, only to be told by the one other observer there that I had just missed the bird by five minutes. By and by a small group gathered, and the Yellowthroat actually was briefly seen twice, but both times off the trail at a spot where I somehow managed not to be, and by noon I had to leave in order to allow adequate afternoon time for the elusive Aplomado Falcon.

Aplomado FalconThe falcon search began along route 100 which runs east-west past the northern end of the Old Port Isabel Road north of Brownsville, since Old Port Isabel Road itself, also a place where Aplomado Falcons are known, is too muddy to traverse at this time of year. With no luck there, it was on to Lake Buena Vista Boulevard, which runs past the Cameron County Airport and becomes the access road to Laguna Atascosa NWR. With a bit ofAplomado Falcon patience, this general area, with the fence posts on either side of the road, starting just north of the airport, is arguably the best place in Texas to find Aplomados. The falcons hunt the fields here and repeatedly return to the roadside fence posts to eat their catch, usually a small bird. I spotted a juvenile Aplomado on a fence post almost right away, but I had seen it too late and the car spooked the bird, which flew off to perch on a low tree branch some hundred yards away. I continued on about a mile and made a u-turn, hoping the falcon might return to its roadside fence post, but it remained on its same distant perch.Aplomado Falcons Then, just a hundred yards up on the opposite side of the road, a pair of adult Aplomados flew in, one with a fresh kill. As I inched the car forward with the window rolled down, the birds paid me no mind at all, and I was able to spend an uninterrupted half hour observing them. The bird with the kill (which looked to be a swallow) proceeded to devour its meal while refusing to share even a morsel of it with its mate. They were still there when the forecasted rain finally began in earnest and I left, feeling elated, just before the heavens opened up.

Gray-crowned YellowthroatThe third day (second morning) the rain had moved out, and I had the entire day, if necessary, back at Estero Llano Grande since there was now no need to return to falcon country. This time the Gray-crowned Yellowthroat called cooperatively and popped up out of the deep grass at 8:45 AM and remained more or less in view continuously for someGreen Kingfisher twenty-five minutes allowing for excellent viewing and photography. Ample free time then remained to find a few other local specialties here including a beautiful male Green Kingfisher at Alligator Pond.

Next was an afternoon drive up US route 77 and then through Corpus Christi to Rockport on Aransas Bay, the winter home of nearly all of the world’s limited population of Whooping Cranes. It was Whooping Crane family in Aransas Bayfoggy in the morning and the 7:30 AM three-hour Whooping Crane outing on Captain Tommy Moore’s “Skimmer” had to be canceled, but we went out at 1 PM instead. The fog had lifted and it was unseasonably cold, Tommy Moore and John on Skimmer but boating conditions on Aransas Bay were otherwise fine. Captain Tommy, a knowledgeable birder in his own right, has a jovial upbeat manner, and takes special pride in endeavoring to provide as good views as possible of Whooping Cranes for his visitors, many of whom have traveled to Rockport especially for that purpose. Tommy also suggested an afterWhooping Crane - pair at Big Tree-boating stop at the nearby Big Tree area outside Goose Island SP where one can usually find additional Whooping Cranes in the cow fields there, and indeed such turned out to be the case. If you visit Rockport, be sure to try Charlotte Plummer’s Seafare Restaurant and order the house specialty baked fish – one of the most delicious meals I’ve had in many years of birding travels.

Striped SparrowThe last morning of the trip, following an overnight in Rockdale in Williamson County, began at sunrise along the San Gabriel River at a junction of two country roads where a lone Striped Sparrow, a first ever US sighting, was being reported keeping company with a mixed flock of other sparrows. The flock turned out to include Harris’s, Lincoln’s, Savannah, Song, White-crowned, White-Harris's Sparrowthroated, and Swamp, as well as numerous Northern Cardinals, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Dark-eyed Juncos, but to my utter amazement the very first bird I spotted on arrival to the site at 7:30 AM was the Striped Sparrow itself, perched all alone conspicuously in a small tree along the roadside fence. It stayed in view for just a few minutes before it disappeared and, while I remained for another three hours hoping for a closer view, I never saw it again.

This Texas trip turned out to be the culmination of a ten year quest to photograph 700 ABA species in North America. Aplomado Falcon (recently made “countable”) was no. 698, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat 699, and Whooping Crane no. 700. Striped Sparrow becomes no. 701.

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Ivory Gull in Illinois

January 11, 2015:  In January, 2009, shortly after our annual “snowbird” migration from Connecticut back to Florida, an Ivory Gull showed up in Plymouth, Massachusetts. I was still fairly new to birding then and didn’t fully realize what a rarity the Ivory Gull was, or I might have at least considered a flight up and back to New England to see it, but it wasn’t until a few more years had passed that I resolved to do everything within reason to try to see an Ivory Gull if and when such an opportunity ever presented itself again.

On January 2, 2015 an adult Ivory Gull was first reported along the Mississippi River in Quincy, Illinois. By the sheerest coincidence the location happens to be less than an hour from the Missouri home of my good friend and birding colleague Bob Mustell, who viewed the bird on January 4 and encouraged me to come visit. Last minute airfares being as ridiculous as they are, I thought this would be out of the question until a web search turned up a late Thursday evening non-stop flight on Frontier Airlines from Fort Lauderdale to Saint Louis for an almost unbelievable $49, and so the game was afoot!

After my overnight stay near the airport, Bob picked me up promptly at 8 AM, and after a brief en route stop at his home, we arrived at Quinsippi Island in Quincy, Illinois just Ivory Gullbefore 11. The problem inherent with contemplating a long trip for just one lone bird is of course that the bird may simply have departed the night before, so this wasIvory Gull going to be a case of either joyful vindication or ignominious defeat, but on this very cold but perfect sunny day with a brilliant, cloudless azure sky, the bird gods smiled upon us. At the marina we found about ten parked cars and folksIvory Gull with cameras and telescopes – just the very sight we were hoping would greet us – and there was the unmistakable pure white gull perched conspicuously at the apex of the aluminum roof of one of the marina sheds. Except for a short time-out for lunch at the Burger King in nearby Quincy, we were able to spend some three-plus unhurried hours photographing the Ivory Gull and studying its habits.

Bald Eagle  We spent the rest of the afternoon at various spots along the Mississippi River admiring the views and watching the absolutely astounding numbers of Bald Eagles. Much of the river was frozen,Bald Eagle - second year but rushing water at the various locks and dams provided open holes for the eagles to easily find fish. I have never seen anywhere close to this many Bald Eagles in one place. We also noted several large flotillas of ducks, primarily Common Mergansers.

The following morning we looked for Eurasian Tree Sparrows in some wild brushy areas, but they tend to congregate mainly at residential feeders at this time of year, and we  found none in the wild areas. We did have some ten species, the most notable being a group of three Northern Bobwhite that scampered across a dirt road just in front of the car.

It helps to have luck on your side. We saw the Ivory Gull so easily on Friday, but, as I learned on social media only after returning home to Florida, all the people who went to see it on Saturday, many from who knows how far away, were in for a major disappointment. The gull was gone.

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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.

    Best,
    Barb

  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!!!
    warmly,
    Penny

  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.
    John

  5. Penny Spiwack says:

    Thanks for the on-going great education!

  6. Ms_Selena says:

    Oh my gosh! I love this website. This is so cool. I’m thrilled because I love birds, and this page/website is filled with so many birds that I have never seen before or heard about before. It’s going to be an amazing new experience for me.

  7. Gina Nichol says:

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

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

    Congratulations.
    Wonderful bird photos.
    Wonderful web site.

    With SLRs, both Thelma and I enjoy photography locally.

    Manny (also retired MD)

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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,

    Paige

    • 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.

  14. 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.

    Pat

  15. 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.

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