About Me

Me in London

Me in London

Originally from Croydon, England (home of Kate Moss, The Damned and very little else), I spent many years in the murder capitals of London before I transplanted myself to Wilton Connecticut in 2003.

I have always had a passing interest in nature, although my last time back in the UK my dad did remind me that most birding trips as a child ended with me begging him to go home again after just a short time. I must say that I didn’t really carry my interest into my formative years where music, art and other things seemed to be more important in life, although I do remember being the only one amongst my friends that would be at least able to recognize some birds as we spent lazy days at the Glastonbury Festival or other trips getting back to nature.

After moving to the states I found my interest in birds reignited whilst whiling away the days awaiting my work permit. Being suddenly surrounded by wildlife again in Wilton Connecticut I decided to rig up a few feeders in the yard and was rapidly impressed by the numbers and diversity of birds attracted. The real defining moment for my burgeoning interest though was when a group of Cedar Waxwings descended upon the garden that first March in Connecticut – what beautiful birds – I was well and truly sold.

Since then my interest has developed rapidly. I was lucky enough to be employed for Connecticut Audubon in their travel department and continue to work in natural history travel with Sunrise Birding. In 2008 I was honored to be invited to join the Connecticut Ornithological Association Board and in 2009 I became the official hawkwatcher for Quaker Ridge in Greenwich.

My passion for birding is really all about getting out there, discovering birds and sharing them with other people. So my job as tour leader is perfect in that allows me to combine my love of birding with meeting up with interesting people and sharing some great moments outdoors sharing our passion for our feathered friends.

28 responses

15 11 2008
Pat Bailey

You have a beautiful blog site! Thanks for the info. Hope to join you on a walk soon, like tomorrow, Sunday, Nov 16. I’ll sign up on Sunrise now. Need to know where you are meeting at 8 am.

15 11 2008
carolyn cimino

so glad you are doing this!

Love the Fairfield Co. birding sites map. It will be very useful for me, coming from the other end of the state.

Carolyn

15 11 2008
tina green

Excellent! Ditto on the Fairfield Co.birding map.It should be very helpful to those not living in the area.I’ll give BBC6 a try.WFUV is one of my favorite stations to listen to also.

Great job,Luke!

15 11 2008
Sara Z.

Luke,

I’m very happy that you are doing this, I enjoyed reading your birding news emails when you were working at Conn. Audubon. The links you published are quite useful and I look forward to your adding more sites. You’re a great trip leader and a great birder and I’m sure this will prove to be a valuable blog to the birding community.

Thanks very much for doing this,

Sara

17 11 2008
Olaf Soltau

Great blog–congratulations! I’m glad you’re doing this–allows me to keep track of what’s going on down there along the shore from my perch here in the Litchfield Hills. Thanks for all your great contributions to the CT birding community, and thanks to your parents for insisting you start this site,

Olaf

18 11 2008
Tabbie

Birds! I’m a fan already!

19 11 2008
Joe Bear

Oy me ole china,

Nice work- I now have a 1-stop shopping blog site to tell me about all the good birds around that I can’t get out and see so easily these days! Seriously though, you’ve made great strides as a birder and leader of the last few years, and as a good friend I think it’s great to see you sharing this even more with everyone.

Cheers mate.

Joe

23 11 2008
Chris Lovell

Outstanding site Luke!! I love the maps and birding sites. I look forward to new postings!

1 03 2009
Heather Campbell

Hi Luke; I found this thru your link in Facebook (lovely little owl!) and so happy to be reading about birding. Still recuperating from another hip revision in January so I can’t get out there yet but reading this is almost as much fun! Keep up the good work.

2 03 2009
underclearskies

Hi Heather,

Sorry to hear that you are somewhat out of action. Hope everything is going well and maybe see you sometime in the not too distant future.

Luke

20 11 2009
joe zeranski

Nice!
But your s/w FF county seems largely to be Norwalk to Wilton – or am I thinking of your guide to the area. I would love you to expand your coverage to Stamford and Greenwich [including, of course, New Canaan and Darien]. This whole area could stand better coverage and it really has quite a few good birders. You could include more details on s/w FF County birds than is normally found in CtBirds.
Talk soon,
Joe

21 11 2009
underclearskies

Hey Joe,

I am writing about what I know (Wilton, Weston, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Easton etc and assume other people know some of the other spots better than I – maybe I can expand on this anyway (want to suggest some sites in Greenwich?). Something to work on.

Luke

22 03 2010
Greg

Hi,
I just stumbled upon your site and thought I would announce that I have spotted a Mississippi Kite at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport.
It was very exciting, a beautiful bird.

22 03 2010
underclearskies

Hi Greg,

Glad you stumbled on the site. Some details on the sighting might be useful as they are something of a rarity in the state. Was this a recent sighting?

Luke

23 03 2010
Greg

Yes, Sunday around 6:00pm. I have seen (what I believe is) this same bird maybe 5 times over a year or more. I could never identify it; and I am certainly no expert but with what I have observed over this time, and the Petersen Hawk Guide, it’s the most reasonable conclusion that I know of.
The lack of barring and gull-likeness were really convincing to me. Habitat too.
It’s always see it in the area I call the Grove. (Rows of planted pines-I don’t know how familiar you are with the park- the area where the Saw Whet Owl stays). Near the south and east edge of it.
Hope thats helpful. Thanks for asking.

23 03 2010
underclearskies

Hi Greg,

The odds would weigh heavily against it being a Mississippi Kite in winter. I have seen 3 Mississippi Kites in CT one that was hanging round the Fairfield County area in May/June ’06 as I recall and 2 in migration at the hawkwatch here in Greenwich. The birds are very rare breeders in New England: 1 pair in CT a couple on New Hampshire are the only ones I am certain of. An overwintering bird would be highly unlikely as they are long distance migrants to South America in winter and feed mainly on large insects that they catch on the wing (not easy to come upon in CT in March). Although not completely impossible I would say chances of it being a Kite are extremely unlikely. Perhaps you could try photograph the bird or provide me with a description that might help work out what it is or confirm your suspicions.

All the best,

Luke

23 03 2010
Greg

Hmm, interesting. I will investigate further. I don’t have a camera and for a description, I would say it looks like a Miss. Kite!
I know what you mean about the large insects, but didn’t mean to imply that I saw it throughout the winter. (I am trying to remember last time I saw it previous to Sunday, and I can’t say with certainty.)
Well I will certainly be going back there! Thanks for your input.

23 03 2010
underclearskies

Hi Greg,

Well I passed on the information to a few locals to keep their eyes out for anything interesting looking. Do let me know if you see the bird again.

Luke

23 03 2010
Greg

Great! Thanks

27 02 2011
Don Cowley

Hi Luke. I just read on Genesseebirds that you will be the oficial Hawkwatch counter this spring! I welcome you to western new york and look forward to seeing you at the Braddock’s Bay Hawkwatch soon!

2 03 2011
underclearskies

Thanks Don,

Looking forward to meeting the local birding/hawkwatching fraternity. I imagine I might have to wait for it to warm up a little first 😉

13 09 2011
Steve Mayo

Luke,

I’ve been enjoying this site for a couple years now. Keep up the great work!

Regards,

Steve

13 09 2011
underclearskies

Thanks for the kind words Steve. Much appreciated. Good to know that someone else finds my ramblings at least somewhat entertaining.

Luke

13 10 2011
Barry Freed

Luke:

I have just finished reading your article on the record broad-winged hawk flight day at Braddock Bay (in the latest issue of HMANA’s “Hawk Migration Studies”.) An impressive piece of writing! I have a suggestion for a project to which you might profitably devote your literary abilities: a compendium of anecdotes (amusing and otherwise) connected with your role as official counter at (at least two) hawk watch sites. I think such a book could well be a smasher!

Regards,
Barry Freed
Bronx, NY

19 10 2011
underclearskies

Hi Barry,

Thanks for your very kind note about the article and your suggestions about the book. I am trying to do a little more professional writing so we’ll see where that leads. Hope we might see you again before the end of the season – there must be a Golden Eagle or Red-shouldered flight still out there somewhere!

All the best,
Luke

11 06 2012
Lance Benner

Hi Luke,
When I heard the two spotted owls along the Mt. Wilson Road on the night of June 7 (one night before you heard a pair), I was about 1. 7 miles up the road from Red Box Gap. Did you also hear them from the vicinity of mile 1.7?

Also, I’m very interested in your report of a northern pygmy owl at Chilao Campground. Would you be willing to provide the details regarding your location within the campground when you heard it?

Finally, a number of us tried but failed to hear the Mexican whip-poor-will on the night of June 10th. Someone was there listening continuously from 20:00-22:15 PDT.

On the off chance you’re still here on June 30, please feel free to join the Pasadena Audubon hike from Dawson Saddle to Throop Peak. We should sweep up most of the high-altitude specialties that many visiting birders seek.

Regards,

Lance Benner
Altadena, CA

11 06 2012
underclearskies

Hi Lance,

Yes thank you so so much for your details on the Spotted Owls – a lifer for me. The Spotted’s were exactly where you had advertised. We listened on the way up to try for Pygmy and WS Owl at the observatory and heard exactly nothing but got lucky with them singing spontaneously on the way down.

The Pygmy Owl was down slope at the far edge of the first loop at Chilao – I hope this link works: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=215389109322740608925.0004c23c1b43766cf8870&msa=0&ll=34.322067,-118.016381&spn=0.005485,0.009613 Thanks for the Mexican Whip report as well. Catherine and I are hoping to head out that way and try for Flammulated at some point anyway so may give it a shot at least. I would have loved to have done your owl trip and the Throop one if I had been in L.A, unfortunately I am heading back east. I do think Catherine was looking at the Throop trip though as she’s a PAS member.

Thanks again – all the best, Luke

22 03 2014
Jon Ruddy

Hi Luke – first time visitor to your blog. Great articles. I recently noticed some abieticola RTHA records popping up on eBird – observer: Luke Tiller – very cool – fascinating birds, aren’t they? Have a great hawkwatch season.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: