Welcome to what began in 2005 as a quest to photograph 700 or more ABA countable North American bird species. This site now features 796 species seen the the ABA (American Birding Association) Area. The number of ABA “countable” species presently stands at:
No trips currently planned
Eastern Meadowlark species split
November 17, 2021: Today featured a 75 minute drive to the Galilee Bird Sanctuary adjacent to the Block Island ferry terminal at Point Judith, Rhode Island to search for the rare Sharp-tailed Sandpiper discovered there on 11/14. This was bit of an adventure. There are no trails or boardwalks here. The sanctuary consists entirely of saltmarsh traversed by numerous rivulets and channels, some several feet wide with a current and mud that can be two feet deep or more in places. High waterproof boots or waders are a must.
It took some time just to figure out where to park and where best to enter the marshland. Just as I was parking across Sand Hill Cove Road in the extensive (and empty) lot adjacent to the Roger Wheeler State Beach, a car pulled up next to mine. The man who got out had binoculars and a camera and turned out to be Russ Smiley who recognized me from a fall search for a migratory Connecticut Warbler years ago in Manchester, CT. Such is the birding hobby!
The two of us thus set out together to look for a way into the marsh when from across the street a nice woman named Mel waved us over from a home bordering it and kindly offered us access through her yard. Now all we had to do was figure out how to traverse some 300 yards of watery marsh and muck to reach the area where the sandpiper had been reported. Some of the channels could be forded only by balancing our way across makeshift bridges comprised of just a few dead branches.
Searching for this particular bird was literally like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. During the course of two hours a spread-out group of six, including us, had formed when finally one of the others pointed at some furtive movement in the marsh grass near his particular spot. Everyone converged and, lo and behold, there at last was the barely visible sandpiper. It remained off and on in partial view skulking in the grass until finally it emerged to briefly wade in one of the channels, providing our group of six with an unobstructed view for two gratifying minutes before flying off to drop down again into the marsh grass some twenty yards away leaving six happy faces and a case of patience having been justly rewarded.
July 28 – August 4, 2021: For many years I wondered where one could possibly go to try to find a Black Swift, an elusive species that is hardly ever seen because it nests inaccessibly at high elevations near waterfalls and spends its days entirely on the wing. My Florida friend Carl Edwards alerted me that indeed there is a nesting site that actually is accessible, namely Box Canyon Falls in the mountain town of Ouray, Colorado, so I became determined to make a pilgrimage to Ouray. COVID made such a trip impossible in 2020, but Nancy and I finally made it there last week as part of a week-long Denver-Denver driving itinerary that took us to Great Sand Dunes NP, Durango and a day trip on the Durango-Silverton narrow gauge railway, Ouray, and finally beautiful Aspen.
After traversing the infamous “Million Dollar Highway,” a stretch of US 550 with a not undaunting section literally carved out of a cliff, we arrived safely in Ouray at 1:30 PM on July 31 and went immediately to Box Canyon Falls which is a left turn just as one enters the south end of town. Late July is a good time to visit because it is nesting season and there will be a good chance of seeing at least a nest or two with an adult swift incubating an egg. We did find two such occupied nests but the canyon walls are steep and the nesting sites in the crevices are in deep shade necessitating a high ISO camera setting (6400) in order to get satisfactory photos. We were lucky that we hadn’t wasted any time getting to the Falls, because the rain started forty-five minutes later just as we were leaving and there would have been no viewing opportunity later in the day.read more »
November 2, 2020: First U.S. life bird since this past February in Hawaii, a Common Cuckoo is currently being seen in Johnston, Rhode Island, just a little over an hour’s drive from new home base in Niantic, CT. The bird was in plain view for the entire 45 minutes I spent there along with a host of other observers.read more »
The following is a list of all new (or updated*) pages from the Hawaii trip of February 23 – March 4, 2020:
African Silverbill, Akiapolaau, Apapane, Chestnut Munia, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Common Waxbill, Erckel’s Francolin, Eurasian Skylark, Gray Francolin, Great Frigatebird, Hawaii Akepa, Hawaii Amikihi, Hawaii Creeper, Hawaii Elepaio, Hawaiian Coot, Hawaiian Duck, Hawaiian Hawk, I’iwi, Indian Peafowl, Japanese Bush-Warbler, Java Sparrow, Kauai Elepaio, Laysan Albatross,* Oahu Elepaio, Pacific Golden-Plover*, Red Junglefowl, Red-footed Booby*, Red-crested Cardinal*, Red-masked Parakeet*, Palila, Red-tailed Tropicbird, Red-vented Bulbul, Saffron Finch, Wandering Tattler*, Warbling White-eye, White Tern, White-rumped Shama, White-tailed Tropicbird, Yellow-billed Cardinal, Yellow-fronted Canary, Zebra Dove.
I addition, we had a number of Hawaiian subspecies, including Black-crowned Night-Heron, Black-necked Stilt, Common Gallinule, and Short-eared Owl.
New species briefly seen but not photographable included Kalij Pheasant and one female Red Avadavat.read more »
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 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 »