Welcome to Birdspix.com!

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:



Upcoming trips

No trips currently planned


Eastern Meadowlark species split

Chihuahuan Meadowlark8/10/22:  This month we add a new “armchair species” to the list.  As of July, 2022 Eastern Meadowlark has finally undergone a long-anticipated species split. The southwestern “Lilian’s” subspecies is now its own species, Chihuahuan Meadowlark.

Eastern Meadowlark species split

Chihuahuan Meadowlark8/10/22:  This month we add a new “armchair species” to the list.  As of July, 2022 Eastern Meadowlark has finally undergone a long-anticipated species split. The southwestern “Lilian’s” subspecies is now its own species, Chihuahuan Meadowlark.

read more »

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper in Rhode Island

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.

Galilee Bird Sanctuary marshSearching 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.
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

read more »

Black Swift in Ouray, Colorado

Black SwiftJuly 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.

Durango-Silverton narrow guage RRAfter 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 »

Common Cuckoo in Rhode Island

Common CuckooNovember 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 »

Updates from Hawaii

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 »

Photographing Hawaii

I'iwiFebruary 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 »

26 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.


  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!!!

  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.

  5. Gina Nichol says:

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

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

    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,


    • 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.


  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!


  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!

  17. R. E. Clements says:

    I would like to share a photo with you that I took near my home last week. It is a nearly white Red Shoulder Hawk…. I live in Florida and am familiar with the paler “Florida race” red shoulder hawk but the bird I captured has no coloring other the white-cream-yellow coloring . No grey, “red” or even brown. Just shades of white to yellow. Are you interested?

  18. Jordan Hogan says:

    I’m probably way out of line here but I really like your site and I wonder if you’d ever consider selling it?

    I work for Flippa.com and I’m almost certain our buyers would be interested in this, you’d likely do quite well.

    Please feel free to let me know if you’d like to discuss and I’ll send you through some info. If not, no problem and all the best.


    • john says:

      You are not out of line, but the site is my hobby, not a business, and while I am still alive I have no interest in divesting myself of it, but while it’s primary purpose has never been making money I am curious in how you would seek to monetize it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.