Monday, June 25, 2007

The List

So here it is. My life list of birds spotted.

First, the rules:

I am only counting birds I have seen as an adult. As a child, I'm sure I made-up some birds out of boredom or even convinced myself that I saw something I didn't.

When possible, I will list the date and location of first sighting and subsequent sightings for more rare species.

I will endevour to provide a link to a nice photograph of the bird, please let me know of dead links.

Unconfirmed sightings will be noted.

Without further ado:

Baltimore Oriole

5/8/07 Common sighting in CT, although not often a backyard bird. They arrived in early May this year. (that is when I saw my first anyway) Male is very striking. Song sounds like a person whistling in the trees.

Bank Swallow

6/15/07 Quinnipiac River, North Haven, CT. Seen roosting in sand piles at Tilcon depot. Observed for several minutes at close range.

Barn Swallow

4/30/07 Hamden, CT. Lake Whitney. First sighting of the season, they were hunting over the water at the bridge where they nest. Fun birds to watch as always and a common swallow. Look where insects are, and where there are man-made or natural rocks for them to nest in.

Belted Kingfisher

Summer, 2005. New Haven, CT. Observed hunting for several minutes.

Black and White Warbler

5/4/07 New Haven, CT. East Rock. Observed along river among several other migrating warblers.

Black-Crowned Night-Heron

5/28/07 New Haven, CT. East Rock, Mill River. Observed fishing for several minutes. Perched on a log. Very prominent display.

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

5/8/07 Burlington, VT. Watched a mated pair build a nest out of spider webs for several minutes. My only successful spot on this trip!

Blue-Winged Warbler

6/20/07 Brooksvale Park, Hamden, CT. Unconfirmed. Observed very briefly, other birders identified this warbler before we reached the field. Probable ID from song. could have been Hybrid version.

Brown Thrasher

6/18/07 Hammonasset State Park, CT. Watched this guy close up hopping along the road without a care in the world.

Carolina Wren

4/23/07 New Haven, CT Song and visual, watched for several minutes, bathing and singing. Brave bird.

Cedar Waxwing

6/10/07 New Haven, CT. Eli Whitney waterfall. Flock of these very social birds eating berries in the parking lot. Have observed for several days now.

Chipping Sparrow

6/23/07 Brooksvale Park, Hamden, CT. 2 birds, singing pearched high in a tree as well as scratching on the ground. Smaller than I originally thought.

Common Yellowthroat

5/16/07. New Haven, CT East Rock. Finally saw this pretty common bird! 6/25/07 Lake Wintergreen, Hamden, CT. Spotted the female and discovered that it was the "mystery" warbler I found dead outside my old job 3 years ago.

Eastern Bluebird

6/20/07 Brooksvale Park, Hamden, CT. One of the birds missing from my life list for a long time. Observed several families near their nest boxes in the back of Brooksvale. Male is very striking. Female. Immature.

Eastern Phoebe

9/7/07 Mill River, Waterfall, Hamden, CT. Observed for 15 minutes at close range. Did not get to hear him sing. Not uncommon flycatcher.

Eastern Towhee

Summer, 2005. Hamden, CT Lake Wintergreen. My only sighting of this bird, although heard many times. Really a stunning bird. Observed up close for a good twenty minutes.

Eastern Wood-Pewee

6/14/07 New Haven, Eli Whitney. Listened to song for 15 minutes, very brief spot.

Glossy Ibis

6/18/07 Hammonasset State Park, CT. Watched several of them in the saltmarsh. Very striking birds.

Gray Catbird

One of the more fun spring and summer common birds, the Catbird literally sounds like a cat, possibly one in slight pain. It eats in underbrush and tends to be pretty brave.

Great Crested Flycatcher

6/18/07 Hammonasset State Park, CT. Very brief look and heard song. Poor lightning as well.

Great Egret

5/26/07 New Haven, CT. East Rock Park. Perched high in a pine tree overlooking the lake.

Hooded Merganser

Winter, 2007 Hamden, CT. Spotted on Lake Whitney several times. Solitary male.

House Finch

Common sighting. Backyard bird feeder. Easily confused with the slightly more rare Purple Finch. The female House Finch looks like a house sparrow and is hard to spot.

Indigo Bunting

6/23/07 Brooksvale Park, Hamden, CT. After a second vist, we confirmed this bird. Our first site was too far away and the breast appeared gray. Observed on a high perch for 20 minutes. Final ID by song.


6/15/07 Quinnipiac River, North Haven, CT. Pair of nesting birds. Observed the famous "broken wing" display when we got to close to the nest.

Little Blue Heron

6/18/07 Hammonasset State Park, CT. Watched on two occassions at close range.

Louisiana or Northern Waterthrush

5/4/07 New Haven, CT. East Rock. Hard to classify as there is a Northern "whitish" variety. Interesting spot. Observed for several minutes rooting around in standing water.

Northern Flicker

6/14/07 New Haven, Eli Whitney. Common bird but it has eluded me for some time. Finally had a good spot.

Northern Harrier

5/7/07 Northern VT, I89. Flew accross highway directly over my car. Noticed prominent under-wing markings.

Orchard Oriole

5/27/07 New Haven, CT. East Shore Park. Unconfirmed, initially assumed this was a Baltimore but it was very dark. Could not get a look at tale to confirm.


Common fish-eating bird of prey. A very distinctive bird. Can find them nesting in preprepared boxes all around CT marshlands.

Palm Warbler

5/2/07 Hamden, CT. Johnson's Pond Observed feeding. Oberved for several minutes in the brush

Prairie Warbler

5/4/07. New Haven, CT. East Rock. Observed among several other migrating warblers on the river.

Red Phalarope

Summer, 2006 Hamden, CT. This rare bird spent a few days lost on Lake Whitney. Confirmed sighting, several witnesses. What a find! This is an accidental sighting.

Red-Tailed Hawk

Common Sighting. Look for this bird along CT highways perched on lightposts or swooping over open fields. Our most common raptor.

Red-Winged Blackbird

Common Sighting. One of my personal favorite common birds. This is a beautiful bird with a beautiful song. The female is often mistaken for something more interesting. On 4/30/07 I saw a male variation that was mostly black but looked mottled, it is a first-year male.

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

Summer, 2005. A somewhat common visitor to backyard feeders. Striking bird. The female is nondescript but will often visit as well.

Ring-Necked Duck

April, 2007. Branford, CT. Pair of males spotted on Branford Supply Pond.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

6/25/07. Lake Wintergreen, Hamden, CT. First recent sighting, observed on a high perch in early morning several times. Each perch was in a dead tree very high up.

Scarlet Tanager

Summer, 2006. Hamden, CT. Solitary Male, Lake Wintergreen Park. This is the one I always wanted to see as a child. It came out that day just for me and perched for 10 minutes.

Snow Bunting

Winter, 2006. Burlington, VT. Large Flock. A more rare sight in CT, these artic birds spend winter down in the states. They are very distinctive in flight due to the white patch on wings. Quite a sight to see in a flock.

Snowy Egret

6/18/07 Hammonasset State Park, CT. Note the strange feet. Much smaller than the Great Egret.

Song Sparrow

4/30/07. Hamden, CT. Lake Whitney. This is a bird more often heard than seen. I watched one singing on a wire over the lake. Song here.

"Traill's Flycatcher" (Alder or Willow)

6/18/07 Hammonasset State Park, CT. Observed and heard this flycatcher at two different locations. Exact ID impossible so I am using the old name of Traill's-which was used when it was believed these were one species-to denote that I cannot be sure which this was.

Tree Swallow

6/23/07 Brooksvale Park, Hamden, CT. A common summer swallow. Male is brilliant, female could be confused with other birds.

Turkey Vulture

Common sighting. When you see this bird above you, you probably think it is a hawk. If you can't really make out the head, it is the common Turkey Vulture. An important part of our ecosystem!


5/29/07 New Haven, CT. East Rock. Spotted right out in the open on the path. Not an uncommon thrush, but often hard to spot in the undergrowth.

Warbling Vireo

5/4/07 Unconfirmed. New Haven, CT. East Rock. I have never seen a bird like this before. There is a listing for a drab adult, and the photo does what I saw justice but I would not give this a positive ID without consulting with a birder. Watched him for 10 minutes at close range.

Wood Thrush

5/03/07 Johnson's Pond. Not uncommon but hard to spot in the brush. He was in front of me for 15 minutes before I spotted him.

White-Crowned Sparrow

April, 2007. Glastonbury, CT. Common ground sparrow, last sighted while tutoring a student. Seen doing his "little-chicken" dance under a bird feeder.

White-Throated Sparrow

4/23/04 New Haven, CT. Eli Whitney. White Striped Adult in the brush. Let us get very close.


6/18/07 Hammonasset State Park, CT. Observed several pairs in the saltmarsh. Wing design unmistakeable.


Winter, 2006. Hamden, CT. Solitary Male spotted on Lake Whitney

Yellow Rumped Warbler

5/4/07 New Haven, CT. East Rock. Observed feeding over river with other migrating warblers. Also observed an odd 1st winter plumage on one specimen. Mistaken for seperate species.

Yellow Warbler

Very common this year, heard regularly in any non-suburban area. Song here Yellow Warbler, Female