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:

                                                              723

NEWS & RECENT OUTINGS

Upcoming trips

Hawaii???

A newly discovered “tri-hybrid” wood-warbler!

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 hybridizationBiology 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.


A newly discovered “tri-hybrid” wood-warbler!

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 hybridizationBiology 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.

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Idaho’s Cassia Crossbill

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 Cassia CrossbillSouthern 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.

ChukarsLater 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.

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Little Egret – first Connecticut state record

Little EgretAugust 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.

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2018 AOS Supplement

June 30: Each summer the American Ornithological Society (AOS) issues a new list of various name changes, taxonomic changes, and species splits, and this year is no different. A number of changes affect North American species and are as follows:   read more »

Shawangunk Grasslands

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…

BobolinkThe 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.

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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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22 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. 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

  6. 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)

  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,

    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.

  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.

    Pat

  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. Melinda says:

    Hi John,

    I just stumbled onto your website and its wonderful! Beautiful photos- and I especially like the “Test yourself” page. Great idea!

    I’m teaching a couple classes to non-profit organizations: introduction to local birds. I’m wondering i can get your permission to use photos in a class presentation? I’ll be sure to recommend your educational website to the students!

    Thanks!
    Mel

  16. 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!

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