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:
Little Egret – first Connecticut state record
August 12: Finally, a new life species for Birdspix.com. For the past few days a Little Egret has been seen just offshore near where Rhode Island and Connecticut waters meet. It has been coming in with a flock of Snowy Egrets to roost for the night on the rocky breakwater just off Stonington, CT. The birds can be viewed only from a boat, and Captain Ian Devlin’s flat-bottom bass boat with its quiet electric trolling motor has been ideal for getting in close to the breakwater without disturbing the birds. Ian has been taking small groups of birders out each evening for good viewing, the flock appearing nightly quite reliably just around 7 PM.
August 12: Finally, a new life species for Birdspix.com. For the past few days a Little Egret has been seen just offshore near where Rhode Island and Connecticut waters meet. It has been coming in with a flock of Snowy Egrets to roost for the night on the rocky breakwater just off Stonington, CT. The birds can be viewed only from a boat, and Captain Ian Devlin’s flat-bottom bass boat with its quiet electric trolling motor has been ideal for getting in close to the breakwater without disturbing the birds. Ian has been taking small groups of birders out each evening for good viewing, the flock appearing nightly quite reliably just around 7 PM.read more »
June 20: Reports of a nesting pair of Henslow’s Sparrows prompted me to make the 2 1/2 hour drive across the Newburgh Bridge into Ulster County, NY to Shawangunk Grasslands, NWR. Entering the parking lot I spotted yellow tape and knew instantly that the trip had been for naught, because sure enough the very trail to the sparrow spot had been cordoned off. I did speak to one of the volunteers who told me they had had so many birders looking for the Henslow’s that they felt they had to do this for the welfare of the birds. The good intentions are understandable, but it seems ironic that folks who travel a long distance to see the only unusual species in the entire place are denied viewing the one thing that attracted them to this far out-of-the-way locale in the first place. Why not simply set up a viewing spot from a demarcated safe distance instead of placing the cordon all the way back at the trailhead? Schadenfreude. Ah, the do-gooders…
The grassland habitat of course is home for numerous other nice species such as Grasshopper Sparrows, Eastern Meadowlarks, and especially Bobolinks, one of which perched up close in some shrubbery immediately adjacent to the parking lot.read more »
May 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.read more »
May 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 virtually 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 counted 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 species 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 cooperative 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.read more »
May 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.read more »