Sunday, December 10, 2017

Purple Sandpiper (Calidris maritima) - 13Nov2015

This piper is fairly easy to find in NC if you are willing to climb some jetties.  Or you can time it just right at Wrightsville Beach when the tide is low and see good numbers climbing on a break wall just next to shore.  This one was photographed at a very high tide at the Federal Rocks in Fort Fisher.

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) - 14Oct2017

The bad boys are easy to find out west, but in NC they are a special treat.  Luckily we usually get them at Fort Fisher every fall which is where I crushed this one.

Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) - 07Nov2015

Aptly named, the Great Cormorant is bigger and better than the Double-crested Cormorant which is the standard Cormorant in NC.  The Great Cormorants tend to hang out on channel markers and jetties which makes finding them easy.  The head is blockier and the throat immediately behind the bill is lighter in color than it's cousin's.

This one was perched just next to the north jetty at Wrightsville Beach, NC.  Unfortunately this sign has come down in a storm so now I have to get my Great Cormorants elsewhere.

Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) - 04Jan2016 and 06Nov2015

The bane of all smaller birds in NC, the Cooper's Hawk is a bird killing machine.  That being said, I can't but help to like them.  The red eyes help to give them a demonic look.  This one was near Fort Fisher.

The rounded off tail helps to differentiate it from the similar but smaller Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Here is another one drying off after a rain.

Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major) - 29Oct2015

The ever present Boat-tailed Grackle is easy to take for granted, but when they perch next to your head and let loose with their amazing call/song, you quickly remember that they are an important part of the Southeastern coast lands.

"Hey buddy! Don't you take ME for granted!"

Both these photos taken somewhere in Wilmington.

Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) - 15Oct2015

One of the handful of sparrow species that come in waves when winter comes back to town in NC.  This one was photographed somewhere in Holly Shelter Gamelands, NC.

And this one I think from North River Farms where there are thousands.  You need to be careful not to throw any rocks because you are liable to hit a Swamp Sparrow by accident.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Swainson's Thrush (Catharus ustulatus) - 11Oct2015

Per Cornell: "More likely to be heard than seen, Swainson’s Thrushes enliven summer mornings and evenings with their upward-spiraling, flutelike songs. During fall and spring migration, their soft, bell-like overhead “peeps” may be mistaken for the calls of frogs. These largely arboreal foragers pluck berries, glean bugs from leaves, or perch on branches and stumps. They also bound across the forest floor to catch insect prey. They breed in the north and the mountainous West, but they become very widespread during migration."

This photo was taken in Brian P's yard near Falls Lake, NC.