Sunday, July 30, 2017

Double Trouble (29Jul2017)

Hello my faithful readers, fear not as I am back from EU and after a rough catch up week at work I am ready to chase birds in NC.  In fact that is just what I did yesterday.

However, first let me offer you a teaser for posts to come from Europe.


Great Crested Grebe might just be one of my new favorite birds.  This one was seen just outside Oslo.

Back home I was surprised to see this guy fly over my house.  I am going to have to start a yard list.


Mississippi Kite

Saturday morning I was enticed by reports of Roseate Spoonbill and Reddish Egret over by Sunset Beach, NC.  Actually I ended up having a bit of insomnia so I left my house at around 5am and got to Sunset Beach before first light.


This immature Laughing Gull was so dark I was thrown off and thought I had something interesting so I snapped some photos.  I like what I came up with. Looks like some evil giant Storm Petrel coming to steal the souls of innocent gulls.  What you don't see here is that there was thousands of gulls and terns all around this.  I have never seen so many.  I need to get up early more often.


It didn't take long to locate this immature Reddish Egret.



He was still there dancing around when I left.


Short-billed Dowitcher doing some early morning stretching.


Transitional Ring-billed Gulls can throw you off.  The legs are bluish green which is a field mark for young California Gulls, but lack of red orbital ring and no red on bill eliminated that.

Next up was a shot in the dark. Someone I don't recognize posted an address on eBird of a Spoonbill sighting.  Usually one-off sightings like that don't mean anything but this person commented "been here for 3 days" so that intrigued me.  Right when I pulled up to the causeway, someone was already on the bird and I didn't even have to search.


Its not often in North Carolina when you have a Wood Stork and a Roseate Spoonbill in one picture frame.


This Muscovy Duck almost looked like one of the Florida countable birds. However close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.


It is the year of the Mississippi Kite.  There were a couple kiting in the same area as the Spoonbill.







Ok, time to curate some of these Iceland and Norway pics...

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Black is Beautiful (01-09Jul2017)

I probably have used that title before but it is true and not cliche when referring to Black Terns.

First a couple random pics from earlier in the week.


Brazilian Skipper?  Closest one I could find in online guides.



Least Tern - south end of Wrightsville, I think some of them are producing 2nd broods.


Black Skimmer

Now for the end of Wrightsville from today....


Black Tern












Least Tern


It's not very often you get breeding plumaged Black Terns, hence all the pictures.


Ok folks, I am off to Iceland and Norway later this week after a quick business trip to Philly.  Hopefully you all can make it about 2 weeks without another post....

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Prothonotary Warbler (Prothonotaria citrea) - 24Apr2016

Not much to say here as they speak for themselves...... Common in NC and I am thankful for it.

First couple pictures from Daws Rd in Wilmington and the last from Poplar Grove in Pender County, NC.




Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus critinus) - 13May2017

The sounds of a Great Crested Flycatcher is my favorite reminder that spring has sprung in North Carolina.  Here is one gathering nesting material for a cosy nest site in the gnarl of an old tree.  I wonder if they will have trouble in the first big rain.






Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Dickcissel (Spiza americana) - 16May2017

According to this range map we should not have breeding Dickcissels in North Carolina.  However if anyone has been to North River Farms in the Spring and Summer, they will hear tons of little farts which is really the call of the Dickcissel.  The Dickcissel below was photographed in Northwest, NC and was certainly on breeding territory.

Dickcissel Range Map




Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) - 17May2017 and 01Apr2017

Here is one from the Battleship in Wilmington, NC in April, 2017.



Northern Rough-winged Swallows are fairly common in NC but melanistic (dark) ones are not and melanistic swallows making a home in a Chevy pickup tailpipe are even harder to come by.  However, that is what I found at Carolina Beach State Park in May 2017.  The female watched from the boat trailer as the melanistic male made many trips with nesting material into the tailpipe.  I didn't stick around to see what happened when the boater came back after a day on the water and fired up his engine.









Female.... watching her mate live out Darwinian selection.