Monday, December 18, 2023

2023 Favorite Bird Sightings - Part 1

I've had a great birding year, logging 243 species observed, with a couple of weeks left in the year to raise that total. My tally for last year was 198 species, so visiting a couple of different regions this last year helped add several more species to my life list.

Below are a few favorites seen in 2023. I have so many favorites, so this post will be Part 1.

Red-Shouldered Hawk in a strange pose squished under a branch:

Red-shouldered hawk.

Another Red-Shouldered Hawk soaring:

Red-shouldered hawk.

Ospreys always make my top favorite lists as they can be so engaging, making eye contact as they pass overhead.




Snowy Egret hot-stepping in shallow water:

Snowy Egret.

This Anhinga caught a fish and gulped it down in three swift moves:

Anhinga eats a fish.

In the photo above, you can see the tip of the Anhinga's lower bill poking through the fish. The bird then adroitly moves the fish into position so it can be swallowed.

Anhinga eats a fish.

Down the hatch!

Anhinga eats a fish.

I can't resist taking photos of Brown Pelicans - they make it so easy by flying low and slow.

Brown Pelican.

I think I've seen more Little Blue Herons this last year than ever before. This is a good thing.

Little Blue Heron.

Little Blue Heron.

Conversely, I didn't see as many Green Herons this year, so each observation is special.

Green Heron.

I sought out and found Pileated Woodpeckers, but they weren't that easy to photograph. The ones I encountered stayed hidden in the trees, or out of the sun. This one cooperated for a split second to show its face as it bored into the trunk of a tree.

Pileated Woodpecker.

I had many encounters with Tricolored Herons, mostly in Florida.

Tricolored Heron.

I saw my first Magnificent Frigatebird in Florida in 2019, and managed to get a single photo. A few weeks ago, I returned and saw many, many more, which was very exciting. A few even came close enough to get better photos. My next goal is to see them engaging in their notorious bullying behavior. The ones shown here were all calm and peaceful at the time.


Male Magnificent Frigatebird.

Immature male:

Immature male Magnificent Frigatebird.


Juvenile Magnificent Frigatebird.

Besides watching the Tompkins Square hawks, I saw many other Red-Tailed Hawks, but never got around to posting any photos. This one is one of a resident pair I observed in Connecticut and it's being mobbed by a pesky Blue Jay.

Red-tailed hawk and Blue jay.

Red-tailed hawk and Blue jay.

Cooper's Hawk perched along Jamaica Avenue in Brooklyn:

Cooper's Hawk.

This one might be the same hawk, seen in the same area but on a different day:

Cooper's Hawk.

More faves to come...

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