Favorite Life Birds 2000-2009

by John Briggs on December 27, 2009

in Bird Photographs, Bird Photography Weekly, Blog

As we near the end of the first decade of the second millennium, bird bloggers are assembling lists of birds that were favorites over the last ten years. I thought I would join in on the fun and produce my own list. Each bird listed below is a life bird. Since I have many life birds in this period of time, I decided to pick my favorites to make the top ten list.

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager | Click thumbnail for larger view

Northern Hawk Owl

Northern Hawk Owl | Click thumbnail for larger view

Top 10 Life Birds 2000 – 2009

Western Reef Heron – Kittery, ME:During the summer of 2006, this bird made national news when it visited the offshore islands near Kittery, Maine. This bird normally occurs mainly on the coasts in tropical west Africa, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and east to India. It was the third reported sighting ever of this species in North America. I chased this bird on a day I was supposed to be at work. Great looks through a scope made it worthy of a sick day! 

 Barnacle Goose – Allegheny County, PA:The winter of 2001 started out very quiet in southwestern Pennsylvania. While visiting friends in Duquesne, PA during the month of January, I received word that a Barnacle Goose was seen with several Canada Geese just south of Pittsburgh. The first day we were there we missed the bird and decided to stay at a motel and try again first thing the next morning. The morning dawned with heavy snow. We slowly made our way to the area and found the goose. I took several photos with a point and shoot film camera at a time when bird photography was the furthest thing from my mind. 

Lazuli Bunting – Oakland Mills, Juniata County, PA: April 2004. Only the second reported sighting of this species in the state of Pennsylvania. I found out about this bird from several birding friends who called and said we had permission to view this bird which was visiting feeders on private property. 

Three-toed Woodpecker – Wilson’s Mills, ME: A pleasant surprise while birding during our spring vacation along a logging road in northern Maine. Spotted the same species the next day in northern New Hampshire. 

Rufous Hummingbird – Hopewell, Beaver County, PA:Reported at a home in south western Pennsylvania during the month of November 2005. Permission was granted for birders to view the bird that was visiting a hummingbird feeder. The bird was banded and confirmed to be an adult female Rufous Hummingbird. To this day, my second hummingbird species recorded.

Pink-footed Goose – Chambers Lake, Chester County, PA: January 2004. This bird was so far away that looking through a good scope was the only way to see this bird in any kind of detail. This rarity was with a group of approximately 100 Canada Geese which made viewing extremely difficult because of the Canada’s size.

Mississippi Kite – Newmarket, NH:A pair of Mississippi Kite were found nesting in Newmarket, New Hampshire during the summer of 2008. This past spring, during an outing with the Birders who Blog, Tweet and Chirp group, we found the nesting Kite’s and added this New England rarity to our life list.

 Northern Hawk Owl – Bristol, ME: (Photo above)This rare owl, from the boreal forests of Canada, brought visitors from all over the northeast to Bristol, Maine. There was plenty of time to see the owl as it stayed in the area for over a month. We had great looks at this rarity during the early part of February 2009.  As with most rare bird sightings, controversy followed. Several “photographers” baited the owl with live mice bought at a pet store. Those who know me can attest to how I feel about this method of photographing wild birds. Pure ignorance!

Summer Tanager – Bath, ME: (Photo above) One of two rarities for Maine that showed up in our yard in 2009. The first summer Summer Tanager stayed around our yard for five days, feeding on orange halves, grape jelly, and suet. I set up my blind and took photos and videos of this beautiful species.

Green-tailed Towhee – Bath, ME: The male bird rounded out 2009 as my 311th life bird. This bird has a range that encompasses Oregon south through the mountains to southern California and the Great Basin to southeastern New Mexico, and southern Arizona and central and southern Texas into Mexico. This bird has been seen in Maine only a handful of times, and I was extremely happy that it graced our yard.

 Many thanks to Pat at Bird Canada for the idea on this concept. Others who have done their decade lists are as follows:

Happy birding!



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