Welcome to what began in 2005 as a quest to photograph 700 or more ABA countable North American bird species. Of the 772 species of birds possible to see in North America (now including Hawaii) currently published to this site, the number of ABA “countable” species presently stands at:
No trips currently planned
February 23 – March 4, 2020: Completed a long-planned trip to Hawaii with Wings, where our group, including my good buddy Bob Mustell from the “show me” state, spent three nights in Oahu, four on Kauai, and four on the Big Island. I managed to photograph 36 new species for this web site. Special thanks to guide Lance Tanino for his very kind assistance on several challenging trails and getting me my best views of an I’iwi, one of my most sought-after target species for the trip. Luckily we were all able to return home without difficulty prior to the spread of the coronavirus.
February 23 – March 4, 2020: Completed a long-planned trip to Hawaii with Wings, where our group, including my good buddy Bob Mustell from the “show me” state, spent three nights in Oahu, four on Kauai, and four on the Big Island. I managed to photograph 36 new species for this web site. Special thanks to guide Lance Tanino for his very kind assistance on several challenging trails and getting me my best views of an I’iwi, one of my most sought-after target species for the trip. Luckily we were all able to return home without difficulty prior to the spread of the coronavirus.read more »
The source for the following is:
David P. L. Toews, Henry M. Streby, Lowell Burket, Scott A. Taylor (2018). A wood-warbler produced through both interspecific and intergeneric hybridization, Biology Letters, published online on 7 November 2018 before print | doi:10.1098/rsbl.2018.0557
Recently an exceedingly astute Pennsylvania birder came upon a bird that appeared so unusual to his keen eye that he brought it to the prompt attention of the Cornell Department of Ornithology. This led to the temporary capture of the bird in a mist net and subsequent DNA testing that revealed an astonishing result. This bird was in fact the offspring of a Chestnut-sided Warbler and a Brewster’s Warbler – which is itself a hybrid between a Golden-winged Warbler and a Blue-winged Warbler. This “tri-hybrid” is a first. It has never been documented before. The amazing new hybrid has been dubbed “Burket’s” Warbler after the deserving gentleman who discovered it. The thumbnail is from the cited article; it is not my own and I take no credit for it.read more »
September 27: When the American Ornithological Union carved out a new species from the ten subgroups of Red Crossbill, it gave birders a new quest. The Cassia Crossbill, numbering only about 6,000 individuals, is found only in the upper elevations of the Southern Hills and the Albion Mountains of southern Idaho, a destination one might never otherwise visit. So when Nancy and I planned our recent visit to Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone NP, and the Tetons, we added an overnight stay in Twin Falls, ID to allow some time to look for the new Crossbill. A total of five hours of searching all the campgrounds at the crest of the G3 road (which heads due south into the hills and the crossbill area some 26 miles south of Hanson) was finally successful in the Porcupine Spring Campground, but I was able to find only the single individual that happened to fly into the top of the very lodgepole pine under which I happened to be standing at that particular moment. Just plain lucky.
Later that afternoon, before flying home from Salt Lake City the next morning, we stopped at Antelope Island State Park where Dickson Smith, whom I had aided in finding some sought-after species in Florida in March of 2014, was kind enough to meet us near his own home turf to look for Chukars. After a very scenic drive around the island in his 4×4, and some nice views of the nearly empty section of the Great Salt Lake, we located a cooperative group of Chukars among the rocks just behind the visitors center building.read more »
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 »