Sunday, August 12, 2018

Ruddy Ground-Dove (Columbina talpacoti) - 27Nov2016

Here is one I should be able to get in the ABA region, but here is a world tick from La Selva in Costa Rica.

Boat-billed Flycatcher (Megarynchus pitangua) - 27Nov2016

What a schnoz on this flycatcher!  Photographed at La Selva in Costa Rica.

Olive-backed Quail-dove (Leptotrygon veraguensis) - 27Nov2016

Here is an awful picture of a bird that is difficult to catch in good light so I am settling.  This Olive-backed Quail-dove was photographed at La Selva in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica.

Rufous Motmot (Baryphthengus martii) - 27Nov2016

This Rufous Motmot was photographed at La Selva.  Here is a description from one of the Cornell websites.

"The Rufous Motmot is is the second largest and arguably the most spectacular of the motmots, even though it lacks the bright, iridescent patches of turquoise blue on its head that are characteristic of many other motmot species. The large size, overall rich coloration and contrast between rufous head and underparts and intensely green-blue green back, wings and tail contribute to the striking appearance of this species. It is nearly identical in overall coloration and pattern to the smaller Broad-billed Motmot (Electron platyryhnchum), with which it shares a similar range extending from Honduras south to Peru and Bolivia and east to northwestern Brazil. The Rufous Motmot prefers humid lowland and hill forest where it consumes a large variety of food items ranging from various fruits to invertebrates and even small vertebrates, sometimes in the company of army ants."

Northern Barred-Woodcreeper (Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae) - 27Nov2016

Taking photos in the jungle is tough!  95% of my understory pics stink.  Here is one of the few woodcreeper shots that I managed to salvage from La Selva Biological Station.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Maine Squeeze (19Jul - 10Aug2018)

This past week was amazing but not really for birds.  My family got a really nice invite to a private island off the coast of Maine so we had to take advantage.  I have pics and videos I might share later but most of the time was spent playing ping pong, fishing and cliff jumping into the refreshing Maine water.

First up a couple of photos from an ill fated trip to Sutton Lake back here in Wilmington to look for a Yellow-headed Blackbird Sam C heard in a flock of cowbirds.  I found the cowbirds but could not pick out the YHBB.

Most of the cowbirds were young males molting into their adult plumage.

The island we stayed on in Maine is Cushing's Island.  A small island that can be walked around in an hour or two criss crossed with trails and countless swimming holes.  Beautiful!  Melissa took all the scenery pics and I managed a few pics of the wildlife.  I only birded a couple times as this was truly a family vacation and I already have all the birds that were hanging around the island.

Cabbage White butterfly.

Common Yellowthroat

Snowberry Clearwing - one of the hummingbird moths we get on the east coast.  Readily distinguishable by the black stripe through the eye.

Black Guillemot - wow! these birds are really sharp in breeding plumage.  I found a nice flock of them fishing on the east end of Cushing's.

Out of focus but interesting as it seemed they were mostly catching Sculpin.  They kept flying right towards me where I was scaling some rocks and stupid me I was not understanding why.  Turns out they had chicks in the cliff faces and were trying to get me to leave or distract me.

The light was not great but otherwise it was a truly amazing opportunity to study these cool birds and I stayed with them for a while.  They soon grew accustomed and flew back and forth feeding the chicks unseen in the crevices.  Before long I realized the tide was closing it and I had to retrace my steps wading waist deep.  Later I would come back to this spot to do some cliff jumping at about 40 feet off the cliffs.

Pileated WPs.

American Goldfinch

Common Tern

Yellow Warbler

A strange molting Red-eyed Vireo? Or juvie...

For the last two days of vacation we went to New Hampshire to hike and cool off in the White Mountains.  I had 5 target species to find (Spruce Grouse, Boreal Chickadee, White-winged Crossbill, Black-backed Woodpecker and Bicknell's Thrush) and unfortunately I dipped on all but one (Boreal Chicka).  We were a little too late in the season and birds were quiet.  Also, the couple of spots you can get to high elevation with a ton of hiking were only open past 9am which did not help.  Mount Washington we got to late on the first afternoon and the top was socked in.  We stopped at a couple turn outs on the way up and there was some bird activity but we were definitely late for Bicknell's.  The Park Ranger said he never saw them in August despite some reports on eBird.

The next day we headed to Cannon Mountain but the first chair lift only ran at 9am and it had already been light for 4 plus hours.  Birds were not really active.

Cannon Mountain.

Luke doing an Irish jig.

Hmm, not even sure.  I thought maybe Blackpoll but can't be sure.

Of course the only Chickadee I could find was the Black-capped Chicka.

On the way to our hotel in the late afternoon I was so upset that I dipped on all my targets that I convinced my family to do a longer hike up the Cap's Ridge Trail to Mount Jefferson.  There were quite a few recent reports for that trail which has the highest accessible public trail head in the whites.    Mount Washington is higher but is private and not cheap.

It was good that I had them with me because half way up the mountain they heard some chickadees making a racket.

Boreal Chickadees!  They never came out into the open so I had to settle for some horrible looks and pics taken with manual focus through some heavy foliage.

It was a fantastic trip even if not for birds.  I hope next time I can time my trip better for chasing some lifers.

Horace's Duskywing - I think that is what it is anyway.  Taken back home in my front yard.  The similar Juvenal's Duskywing has some more prominent spots on the hind wings.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

A Curlew to Remember (14-28Jul2018)

Ever have a curlew play with your emotions?  I have.

First a recap of a Limpkin adventure with no actual proof.  Also, have you ever noticed that Siri constantly wants to change the word Limpkin to Simpkin?  I didn't even know it was a word.  The Urban Dictionary says it is "A white man that confuses himself as a black man".

a couple weekends ago I got the kayak up on the truck and headed to the Black River to try and find a Limpkin seen near the Three Sisters near Atkinson, NC.  What a beautiful place.

It is thought that some of these Bald Cypresses could be over 2000 years old.  Not a typo!

About a mile or two upriver I found a cypress stump with a bunch of discarded fresh water clam shells.

I didn't think there was any other critter than could have produced this mound of shells and figured I was hot on the Limpkin's trail.  Someone has since pointed out to me that a Muskrat also eats clams.  However, I don't think a Muskrat would have hauled them onto this stump.

After taking this photo I rounded a curve in the river and flushed the Limpkin!  Of course my camera was in my dry bag and I had no chance to get a picture.  I kept paddling around hoping to locate it but struck out after about 3 more hours of looking.  I plan to go back.  Based on the clam shell mounds littering this place, I suspect this bird is sticking around.

Sparkling Jewelwing - there were quite a few of these on the river and it took me forever to identify it because my go to site for identification is Jeff's Nature Pages and I thought he had pictures of all the NC Odes, but this one is missing.  Maybe I need to take him out on this river.

Then last week I went to the outer banks to chase the Curlew Sandpiper found by Audrey W at Pea Island.  I spent most of one day there and only came away with a couple decent pics of common birds.  What a fruitless chase...


Pectoral Sandpiper

Nice comparison of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.

Back home I made it out on the spit a couple times.  Thousands of shorebirds are coming through now but nothing rare.

A Semipalmated Sandpiper in a sea of Western SPs.

Whimbrels and Godwits and others..

Thousands of Semipalmated Plovers are coming through.

A Western already in winter plumage or a semi with a long bill?

A more typical Western SP.

Take note of the dowitcher on the right.  Look at the V that forms by the supercilia (eye brows).  Note how the supercilia pinch together.  Now keep that in your mind's eye.  This is a Short-billed.

WTF!!!  Sam and I had this strange looking juvenile Royal Tern at the spit.  Even young birds don't have such small bills.

A more typical Royal Tern.

A call from Sam mid week had me driving to ILM airport for Upland SPs.


As the clouds shifted and light changed, the birds would take on a buffy color and I tricked myself to thinking Buff-breasted SP.  However, I think all the ones I found were Uplands.

Five of them!

Then finally I left work around 2pm on Friday to chase the Curlew SP again. This time about an hour's drive away I got a call that the Curlew had moved to Bodie Island!!  Serendipitous!  This was a much better place to find and photograph this European traveler.  I drove about 90 mph the rest of the way and got there just as the light was perfect about 7pm.

Curlew SP on the left.  The birds were constantly flushing due to all the traffic but they kept coming back.

Curlew SP hanging with Stilt SPs, Pectorals and some peeps.

Stilt SP

On Sunday, I made it on a pelagic but the waves were gnarly and half way out the inlet we had to turn around and they cancelled due to rough seas.  Bummer.

At Pea Island I took this photo of two flying herons/egrets and now that I study it, I think they are Reddish Egrets!

Common Wood-nymph.  A new Butterfly for my life list!

Common Wood-nymph

Stilt SP

Long-billed Dowitcher with Short-billed.

Look at that V formed by the supercilia!  No flaring in the bottom.  A real nice specimen of Long-billed.

Tail pattern with wider dark lines than light ones.

The Curlew SP was still at Bodie!

After a little nap he flew off never to be seen again!

And now it is my turn to fly.  I am going to Maine for 10 days to visit my brother and stay on a private island!  Looking forward to it.