Sunday, June 11, 2017

Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis) - 26May2017

The Shiny Cowbird is a South American nest parasite like it's North American Brown-headed Cowbird counterpart.  However, somewhat recently it has expanded it's range into the Caribbean and some have made it into the States.  I have seen them in Puerto Rico and Cuba.  Actually in Cuba it was the first bird I saw and was inside the airport terminal.  This below bird was found by Marty W at Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach, NC.  I drove up early the next day and was the only other one to see it as it apparently left right after I did.  Purely a coincidence as it was still around when I left.  Interestingly enough, a Shiny Cowbird showed up in Sneads Ferry a week later.  Probably the same one?

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) - 24Oct2016 and 01Jun2017

The Painted Bunting is probably the most sought after bird in my neck of the woods after Swallow-tailed Kite.  They are bright and colorful and best of all they hang out in low scrub near the coast which makes them easy to see.  The song is beautiful and loud and a semi deaf guy like me can appreciate that.  The French name of the Painted Bunting is nonpareil which means "without equal".

This particular male was seen at Fort Fisher on the Basin Trail.

 Here is a female or immature male from the Fort Fisher Ferry Terminal.

Mottled Painted Goatsucker (01-09Jun2017)

Work has been crazy lately but I did luck out with some very cooperative birds one morning at Fort Fisher.

Mottled Duck - buffy head with black gape and buffy chevrons on body.

American Black Duck is ruled out by lack of streaking on head and specifically the throat area.  Clean bill rules out Mallard female.

Underwings very white like an American Black Duck which helps to run out Mallard.

No white linings around the blue on hind wings also helps rule out Mallard.

Clapper Rail

Painted Bunting

Seaside Dragonlet?

Painted Bunting - this guy was right at the end of the Basin Trail and was not shy.  Seeing that there is only small shrubs out there, the photo opportunities were good.

Little Blue Dragonlet?  Now that I look at Jeff P's webpage, it looks like all the Dragons I was taking pictures were all Seaside Dragonlets and Little Blue Dragonlets.  I thought I had more species...  Dragonflies are tough.

Seaside Dragonlet

I had 32 Red Knots this particular morning on the spit.  Not bad...

3 Nighthawks were flopping around in the dunes so I went back to take a peak, being carful not to piss them off too much as they probably had nest sites.

They were flying around and dive bombing each other (not me). I wonder if they were having a squabble, as three seams to be a crowd.

After a while they plopped down in a clearing so I inched forward being careful not to step on any eggs in case they were in a nest site.

They allowed me to approach fairly close if I inched forward bit by bit.

The crazy thing is this was only about 20 yards from a heavily trafficked beach area and I can foresee disaster with people's dogs running around.  If they just flew down half a mile they would have been totally protected on the Bald Head Preserve.  Too bad they don't read signs.

I don't think I will get another opportunity like that for a while.

Least Tern chick on the North end of Wrightsville Beach.  They seem to have a very successful colony this year.

Common Tern

Lesser Black-backed Gull? bill almost all black.

Wilson's Plover chick - I really hope no one lets their dogs off leash. There are tons of chicks all over the beach.