Birding Life List: 50-90

This is a subpage of: Birding Life List

Out of a possible 41 birds on this page, I’ve painted 8.

This page is set aside for birds that I first sighted from November 2014 to end of 2019; the next 5 years after my first year of birding. This was a relatively slow period of birding for me because I did not really travel (all of these were found in Massachusetts or Maine) and I typically birded alone. Due to my poor hearing, I’m handicapped when it comes to observing warblers, those magical tiny songbirds that are so hard to see. Still, this represents the period where I first began, slowly, to observe them.

61. Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler in a red pine at Broadmoore Audubon Sanctuary. May 21, 2023.

One of the first warblers I ever saw (along with the yellow-rumped), in April 2015. It was two years into birding before I ever saw any warblers and I kind of was beginning to think they were a myth!

66. Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron in a Dawn Redwood, Mt Auburn Cemetery. May 14, 2023.

First sighted along the Charles River in Watertown, MA. Pictured here in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge.

71. Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white warbler. May 5, 2024.

First sighted in Olmsted Park, Jamaica Plain, MA, in May 2015. This warbler is delightful because it’s such a high-contrast black and white, yet can still be difficult to see because it sticks close to shadowy tree trunks, creeping up and down them like a nuthatch.

72. Eastern Bluebird

Bluebird and sumac in winter, based on a photo by Gaétan Dionne. Arches. January 9, 2023.

Despite this being frequently listed as one of the most common backyard birds in Massachusetts, I don’t see it often as it’s pretty rare in the city. I now know that one can find them pretty regularly in the spring and summer at Moose Hill Wildlife Reservation in Sharon, among other suburban and rural spots.

I was given permission by the photographer to paint this reference photo after finding it in a Facebook group for Québecois birders.

73. Rose-breasted Grosbeak

This bird is always listed as a “common backyard bird” in MA but I find it fairly uncommon – at least in the city. I first saw it when visiting a friend in Western Mass, and indeed it just dropped into the backyard feeder! Eventually I also saw it closer to home, but only after lots of careful searching and learning its song.

76. Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle at Walden Pond. December 23, 2023.

Seeing a Bald Eagle is always magical. The first time I recorded an eagle sighting was in Deer Isle, Maine; it was soaring high above the hills where I was hiking. The memory pictured here is an eagle soaring low over Walden Pond, a sighting on December 21, 2023. Although the composition of the painting probably would have been better with the eagle higher against the sky, offering more value contrast, I painted it low because that is what the eagle was really doing: scanning the pond for fish to catch.

78. American Redstart

A quick darter in low shrubs, this one can be difficult to catch but if I’m quick with my binoculars, it’s a fairly reliable find during spring migration.

85. Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned kinglet. Reference photo from Columbia Daily Tribune. February 17, 2024.

In the Northeast where I live, this is one of the rare birds that is winter-only!