Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rounding Out

Finalizing my Ecuador birds I managed to add: fawn-breasted tanager 302 Fawn-breasted Tanager streaked woodcreeper 303, Streaked Woodcreaper black and yellow fruiteater 304, Fruit-eater potoo with baby 305! Potoo with Baby! black and chestnut eagle 306, pallative dove 307, white tipped dove 308, croaking dove 309, plumbeous pigeon 310, swainson's thrush 311, blackpoll warbler 312, glossy black thrush 313 and the great rufous crowned tody flycatcher 314. Rufous Crowned Tody Flycatcher

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Toucans, Woodpeckers and Flycatchers

Choco Toucan 276, Pale-mandibled Aracari 277, Crimson-rumped Toucanet 278, Emerald Toucanet 279, Crimson-mantled woodpecker 280, Scarlet-backed woodpecker 281, Golden-Olive Woodpecker 282, black-cheeked woodpecker 283, Powerful Woodpecker 284, Pearl tree-runner 285, Plain brown woodcreeper 286, Rufous Mot-mot 287, streaked-tufted cheek 288, Cinnamon flycatcher 289, smoke colored peewee 290, elenia 291, beardless tyrannulet 292, tody flycatcher 293, dusky capped flycatcher 294, yellow-bellied siskin 295. I'd also like to add a few more hummingbirds such as speckled hummingbird 296, and buff-throated saltator 297. Rounding it all out are red-headed barbet 298, masked trogon 299, sickle-winged guan 300, and warbling antbird 301.

Monday, September 08, 2014


As you all know this is my favorite subject. Being so rich in birdlife, the raptor department is no exception. This go around I had quite a few new lifers, starting with the pearlescent kite, #266. Followed by the white-tailed kite, #267. I already counted the hook-billed kite, but this pix deserves inclusion. Another notable was the snail kite, #268. On the hawk side I had the ever present road-side hawk #269, the savannah hawk #270 and the short-tailed hawk #271. Owl wise the only one I can count is the black and white hawk #272. Also had the quite common laughing falcon #273 the collared forest falcon #274, and the bat falcon #275.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Even more than hummingbirds, tanagers have come to define the beauty of Ecuador. Luckily this time around I was able to see quite a few of these beauties whether at feeders or out in the wild. Starting with #240 the Blue-necked tanager. Followed by this lifer the dusky faced tanager #241. Guira tanager #242. Rufous collared tanager #243. black-chinned tanager #244. bay-headed tanager #245. The ubiquitious lemon rumped tanager #246. and the equally as common palm tanager #247. blue-winged mountain tanager #248. blue-grey tanager #249. #250 while not a tanager, I find them with them often, rufous collared sparrow. silver-throated tanager #251. dusky bush tanager #252. beryl spangled tanager #253. golden tanager #254. golden-naped tanager #255. flame-faced tanager #256. swallow tanager #257. white lined tanager #258. Also had flame rumped tanager #259, black winged saltator #258, masked flower piercer #259, slate-throated whitestart, #260 and ecuadorian thrush at #261. Finally I got some really beautiful birds but the pix werent great. Those were #262 yellow-tufted dacnis, #263 green honey creeper and #264 yellow breasted elenia. Finally had the one-colored becard #265.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Isla de la Plata

Im not even going to try to put into words how awesome this place was. My pix here will only approximate the stark yet rich beauty. The one small disappointment is that we couldnt see the waved albatross because they were nesting. We did have a few thousand blue-footed boobies #230 though. There were also thousands of frigate birds #231. My favorite was the nasca booby #232, although the tropicbird #233 is truly one of the most beautiful birds in flight. We also had red-footed booby #234, which eats predominately squid. On the trails by the station we had the little woodstar #235 and the endemic warbling finch #236. On the boat ride over we had inca tern #237, Peruvian Pelican #238 and Parkinson's shearwater. #239. Also had a close encounter with 2 humpbacks!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Birding La Segua on the way to Isla de la Plata

Took a trip to the coast to a place known as "the poor man's Galapagos." Isla de la Plata is about 25km off the coast of Manta and hosts many of the same birds as the Galapagos but is far easier and cheaper to reach. Birding along the way as well as the La Segua Wetlands, it was a truly beautiful experience despite the spartan conditions. There are many wading and waterbirds along the many farms you can pull off onto for viewings. We were able to see a great variety this way including: Black-necked Stilt #197, Ringed-kingfisher #198, and the elusive sun bittern #199. Also seen were many white-edged orioles #200, Wattled Jacana #201, Wilson's plover #202, White-faced pintail #203, tri-color heron #204, neotropical cormorant #205, vermillion flycatcher #206, peruvian meadowlark #207, tropical mockingbirds #208, boat-tailed grackle #209, least grebe #210, southern yellow grossbeak #211, paraque #212 and saffron finches #213. La Segua was teeming with birds despite being very hot. Many lifers here for me including: #214 Cocoi Heron, Purple Gallinule #215, Supercilliated Wren #216, Silver-throated kingbird #217 striated heron #218 Many smooth billed #219 and groove-billed anis #220, Also had the green kingfisher #221, The american pygmy kingfisher #222, grey-breasted martin #223, brown-chested martin #224, Many doves were in attendance. White-tipped dove #225, peruvian dove #226 and these beautiful croaking ground doves #227, Along the entire coast, there are large flocks of cute Pacific Parrolets #228 Last but not least were two kraiks...both completely new to me. The white-throated kraik #229 and this grey-breasted krail #230!

Friday, August 01, 2014

Urban Jungle Premiere Sunday Night

Although the hawk section got pared down considerably, it was still cool working on this project. Cant wait to see the finished product!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

More Hummers

Because it was Spring, there were many nesting hummingbirds this time around such as: Andean Emerald 183, Purple-throated Woodstar 184, Green violet-ear 185, Green-thorntail 186, and amazilas 187. Also seen: fawn-breasted brilliant 187, white-whiskered hermit 188, empress brilliant 189, rufous tailed hummingbird 190, booted rackettail 191, tiny woodstar 192, brown inca 193, collared inca 194, brown violet-ear 195, and the incredible white-necked jacobin 196.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mindo Endemics

Green crowned brilliant 175, Violet-tailed Sylph 176, Purple-crowned Fairy 177, Sparkling violet-ear 178, green violet-ear 179, Hook-billed Kite 180, Plate-billed Mountain Toucan 181 and Crested Quetzal 182.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Friday, June 06, 2014

Late Spring 2014

I've been crazy busy with other projects but here are the last of the spring migrants. Before I add the last of the spring birds, there is a correction to my list. Palm Warbler was counted twice, so the count is at 159. Adding to that are the magnolia warbler at 160 and the male american redstart 161. At 162 there is the common yellow throated warbler, and the yellow throated warbler at 163, as well the overbird at 164. There were a bunch of vireos around including philadelphia 165, warbling 166 and red-eyed 167. Moving onto the other flycatchers was this peewee at 168. And speaking of catching, this male belted kingfisher 169 caught a fish just after this pic. I also caught this juvenile male orchard oriole going vertical at 170. Closing it out with red-headed woodpecker at 171.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

comme d' habitude

Warbler migration birding by ear has produced great birds. Starting with 154 Northern Parula and a rare treat, Cerulean Warbler 155. I also had a few blue headed vireo 156 mixed in the bunch. The tropical wave also brought a few flycatchers in such as kingbird 157 and great crested flycatcher 158. Also the summer tanager 159, and scarlet tanager 160.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Spring Additions

Now that Spring migration is in full swing I'd like to add some color to the list. So far my favorite is Prairie Warbler at 127. There is also yellow warbler at 128 and goldfinch at 129 almost full breeding plumage. The palm warber at 130 is another yellow bird, or a yellow-y sort of brown as is the veery 131 and ovenbird 132. This bay-breasted warbler 134 was gorgeous in the sun. As was this black throated green 135 and a few common yellow throats 136, one of which flew into a window. Also had a male and female black and white warbler 136. Adding to the list are yellow shafted flicker 137, American Crow 138, Black-capped Chickadee 139, Common Snipe 149, Ruby-crowned kinglet 150, Golden Crowned Kinglet 151, purple martin 152, and barn swallow 153.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Crossing Over

Still plugging away on the Big Year list and with that I have some reflections now that Im 1/4 of the way through the year. My goal when beginning this project was not to see as many birds as I could, but rather to deepen my experience of birding. There are many vagrants popping up all over New Jersey now but I dont think burning a tank of gas chasing each of them is really what I want this experience to be about. That being said, here are a few more additions as we head into Spring 2014. Starting off with the remaining cold waterbirds such as the Red-necked Grebe #116 and Common Mergansers #117. Many nesting shorebirds are starting to return such as this American Oystercatcher #118. I've also had a Pine Warbler #119, Palm Warbler #120, American Woodcock #121, Eurasian Tree Sparrow #122, Virgina Rail #123, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher #124 and Chipping Sparrow #125. And last but never least, the powerful Osprey #126!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

History Repeats Itself for the Last Time

This is the last nesting season before the Cathedral develops the St. Luke's doctor parking lot. Seeing how the birds reacted to the roof renovations in 2008, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the last year for hawks at the Cathedral. In preparation of that, I caught them copulating in a tree near the nest exactly one year from this scene. And the same scene from 2009 and again in 2007...talk about reliable. Exactly what it is that contributes to this pattern, I dont think I will ever know, but in honor of the essence we call Love, here are the St. John the Divine hawks in all their glory. Cathedral Female Sexual Healing Sexual Healing Cathedral Nest Good luck to all the 2014 nesters!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Florida Crazy, Part Deux

The Everglades along I78 were the best places to bird by far. Plenty of gators, fish, water and reeds makes great habitat for tons of waterbirds including #94, White-faced Ibis, white ibis #95, Pie-billed Grebe, Pied Billed Grebe #96, Roseate Spoonbill roseate spoonbill #97, White Pelican white pelican and #98, Brown Pelican. brown pelican Also seen were #99, Purple Gallinue Purple Gallinue #100, Wood Stork. woodstork #101, Great Egret great egret #102, Ahinga ahinga #103, Boat-tailed Grackle boat tailed grackle #104, Limpkin Limpkin #105, Cattle Egret Cattle Egret Also adding #105 Little Blue Heron, #106 Tricolored Heron, #107 Magnificent Frigate, #108 Painted Bunting, #109 Lesser Black-backed Gull, #110 Willet, #111 Sandwich Tern and #112 Royal Terns. royal tern sandwich tern Also got collared dove and common ground dove #113 and #114. Last but not least is Blue Winged Teal #115, seen at the southern most point of Key West. BlueWinged Teal

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Florida Crazy

Continuing on the Big Year theme, I start with a correction from the last post...consensus is that #86 is a juvenile RSH. Guess I'll have to wait till fall to add that one. But there have been quite a few editions to my list, some in Jersey and a large chunk after a quick trip to Florida. All in all I have to say that Florida is a bird paradise although it is down from its former status as harboring millions upon millions of birds. Still everywhere I went were awesome birds getting down despite all-encompassing way in which we have impacted their environment. Best sighting was a Burrowing Owl (#87) pair nesting at Vista View Park...such beautiful and fascinating birds. Burrowing Owl Most surprise sighting was a swallow-tailed kite (#88) hunting tree swallows (#89). swallow tailed kite tree swallows In numerous quantities were RSH and the tiny sub-species of falco sparverius (#90)! kestrel vs swallows Much to my surprise I also found quite a few barn owls (#91). barn owl Then are the transplants gone native, including the Blue-crowned Parrot (#92), blue-crowned parrot and the Muscovy Duck (#93). Muscovy duck

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Drips and Drabs

Im making daily progress but the cold is making birding tough! Even still, I was able to add this Common Murre #85, Broad-winged Hawk #86, and Canvasback #87. New birds are always great, but its nice to see a familiar friend.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Zero Dark Birdy

Getting birds here and there but no major coups. At Conowingo I got #81, Bald Eagle. and my first wild Bald Eagle Nest! Later in the week I got some more Jersey Birds, including this injured male Red-winged Black bird, #82. and this adult male redheaded duck, #83. The Vince Lombardi Rest Stop was a hotbed for birds, including these Fish Crows, #84. also had these Emperor Penguins, but believe me it hasnt been THAT cold! and finally another bird im not going to count, a Golden Eagle!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Superb Owls

Im going for the Seattle Seahawks because they have a red-tailed hawk as their mascot and sometimes fly him at home games. Technically I would have thought an osprey was closer to their logo and the fact that they hunt at you know, sea but Ive never seen a tame osprey. So they went with redtailed hawk, so in honor of all the hawks, I went to check out some crazy raptor action in NY and the Meadowlands. Kicking it off in Central Park was this off-season Baltimore Oriole, #75. Followed by a winter safety, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, #76. I made a Hail Mary for the LEO just before half-time, but was over ruled by the referee. Heading out to Jersey, there were two peregrines (41) and two adult bald eagles at the rest stop along I95. The peregrines were flanking the road and the eagles were in a tall tree out in the wetlands. Im guessing these are the same birds that nest along route 46. They seemed to be at a detente, sort of letting each other know that the other was nesting nearby. Regardless, it was quite the half-time show. However, I didnt start the second half so great. The windy, poor conditions are not easy to navigate and WAZE seemed to think my car could float. Anyway, after some careful play-calling I was within field-goal range. To my amazement there were 2 Northern Harriers (74) and two Short-eared Owls #77, scrumming it up along the ridge! Short-ears are also a lifer for me. I watched their graceful routes as they moved from various perches. It was clear they had two different offensive styles. The harriers layup and then go in feet first. The SEO's like to wind around and then go into the endzone head-first! They are very beautiful in flight but the frigid temps made long looks impossible. Heading out, I checked the bleachers and found this guy lurking in the lower decks. Not my best Cooper's pic, but its a full adult with red eye so Im counting him as #78. Sadly I didnt get any love on the rough-legged hawks, but after following an agitated red-tailed hawk in a nearby field and I found this beauty high atop the stadium lights! My first Snowy of 2014 and #79. As an extra point Im counting black-capped chickadee at #80 cuz I already have carolina chickadee from Cape May. All the birds were great sports and the best thing about it...no commercials!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Brown Birds

Made it out to Forsythe NWR for some decent car birding in the brutal cold. Got some great looks at a wide variety of birds on the trails but most of the bays and ponds were frozen over. I was able to pick up some nice sparrows and ground birds for my Big Year List. #69, Fox Sparrow #70 Hermit Thrush #71, Brown Thrasher #72, Savannah Sparrow #73, Eastern Meadowlark #74, Hen Harrier Also got a great look at this cinnamon-colored juvy peregrine (#41).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Below Zero

The cold is keeping many of the birds quiet as the bays and lakes freeze. Still I was able to add a bunch more birds to my list. #64 Buffleheads #65 Wood Ducks #66 Common Goldeneye #67 Bluebird #68 Field Sparrow Also saw a snow bird but Im not going to count it.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Steady Hustle

Sometimes the birds come to you and sometimes you gotta go to the birds. I made it out to Cape May this weekend for some hard to find birds and although it was fairly slow I added a number of great additions. #61 Cedar Waxwings Waterbirds were scarce b/c the water just unfroze but there were plenty of Swans, including these Mute, #13 and this beautiful Tundra Swan #62 and a lifer! I also added quite a few passarines but will wait till I get some better shots to post them. Finally while I didnt get an owl, I did get 9 Merlin #63, hunting along the road along Sunset Drive! Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, with your little baby Jesus hands, please send me some birdys! Amen.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Quick Correction and New Additions

I made a numbering error in the last post and should be at 56. Number 57 was a Glaucous Gull at Island Beach SP along with number 58, White-winged Surf Scoter. Also present were some Greater Scaup, #59. and #60 Snow Buntings. Ill be out foxing around this weekend for some more!

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Beautiful Barnegat

Looking to fill out my waterbird list I took a day trip to Barnegat Lighthouse on a brisk but clear day. A few hardcore birders were out there and we were all treated to great and prolonged looks at all the action as rafts of ducks hunted along the jetty on the outgoing tide. 31) Harlequin Duck 32) Red-breasted Merganser 33) Common Loon 34) Long-tailed Duck 35) Red-throated Loon 36) Northern Gannet 37,38,39) Surf, Black Scoter and Common Eider 40) Northern Pintail 41) Peregrine Falcon Also seen: 42) Dark Eyed Junco 43) White-throated Sparrow 44)Ruddy Turnstone 45) Purple Sandpiper 46) Dunlin 47) Semi-palmated Sandpiper 48) Herring Gull 49) Snow Goose 50) Atlantic Brandt 51) Double Crested Cormorant 52) European Starling 52) House finch 53) HOSP 54) Grackle 55) Rusty Blackbird

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2014: Big Year

Thanks for all your support in 2013--hopefully 2014 will be something special! 1) Red-shouldered hawk 2) American Wigeon 3) Northern Mockingbird 4) American Robin 5) Turkey Vulture 6) Red-tailed Hawk 7) Black Vulture 8) Chickadee 9) Titmouse 10)Downy Woodpecker 11)Redbellied Woodpecker 12)Yellow rumped Warbler 13)Song Sparrow 14)Tree Swallow 15)Mute Swan 16)Mallard 17)Black Duck 18)Gadwall 19)Lesser Scaup 20)Hooded Merganser 21)American Coot 22)Great Blue Heron 23)Ring Billed Gull 24)Black backed Gull 25)Common Tern 26)Canada Goose 27)Cardinal 28)Carolina Wren 29)House Wren 30)Green winged Teal