Beyond the Backyard

Updates to my Bird Life List

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Common Eider

I recently dusted off my bird life list, organizing it by species and counting only American Birding Association countable species.  Like most birders, I enjoy keeping track of the birds I’ve seen, but as a bird photographer, I only count the birds that I’ve photographed.  The ABA has documented 976 species in North America.  About 300 of those can be found in my home state of Florida.  I’ve photographed 223 species so far, which is a decent start.  The ABA only counts birds that are native to North American, so some of my birdie friends from the Lake Morton menagerie don’t count! As I went through my list, I realized that I had photographed several species that hadn’t made it to my blog or life list.  So today’s post will include several lifers… My first lifer of the day is a Monk Parakeet, photographed last spring at Brian Piccolo Park.  My neighbors may notice a striking resemblance to their pet bird Pickles!  The Monk Parakeet, also known as a Quaker Parakeet, is an introduced species in Florida.  There are plenty of them living in and around Brian Piccolo. While I was in Maine, I photographed several Black-Throated Green Warblers.  They […]

Beyond the Backyard

Atlantic Puffins on Machias Seal Island

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Atlantic Puffin Head Shot

During my recent trip to Maine I had the great privilege to visit a breeding colony of Atlantic Puffins on Machias Seal Island. Puffins are pelagic birds, meaning that they live their lives out on the open ocean. They only come to land to breed and raise their young. Can you image living your entire life at sea? They swim and fly all day, catch fish to eat, and sleep bobbing on the waves. Atlantic Puffins are commonly known as the “clowns of the sea”, due to their brightly colored bills in their breeding plumage. Atlantic Puffins are the only puffins that can be found in the Atlantic Ocean. (Their cousins the Tufted Puffin and the Horned Puffin live on the Pacific Ocean.) Atlantic Puffins are fairly common birds in the northern frigid oceans, but they are most commonly seen in places like Iceland and Scotland. In the United States, there are only a few islands where the birds come to breed. Machias Seal Island is one such place, and it is the only island (to my knowledge) that lets birders land on the island to observe the birds from blinds. For photographers and non-photographers alike, this was an incredible […]