Saturday, September 30, 2017

Philly Comes to NC (28-30Sep2017)

Northwest winds are what birders in Wilmington and SE NC dream about during fall migration.  The birds migrating through the piedmont get pushed towards the coast.  We have had some NW winds for a couple days and then it switched to more NE but the birds that were pushed here are still lingering.

Cape May record shot for New Hanover County at CB State Park.

Magnolia at CB State Park.

Record shot of my New Hanover County Chestnut-sided Warbler.

New Hanover Scarlet Tanager - watch out Sam C!!

Hello Warbler

Friday I took the day off and headed to Carteret County with Dave W.   Our first target was Black Rail at Cedar Island marshes.  We might have heard one but it was just a hint of a call and we could not be sure.  However, Virginia Rails were obliging.

Our next target was the Bar-tailed Godwit at Shackleford Banks.  I was not prepared for what ensued.  I had my camera stowed as there was some salt spray on the ferry ride over to Shack.  The ferry pulled right up to a bank with a ton of godwits so people on the boat could look at the ponies and Dave and I quickly found the Bar-tailed Godwit.  As I struggled to get my camera out the flock spooked and all the birds flew up into several groups.  I peppered the flock with my camera hoping to find the Bar-tailed in the mix later.

I have looked at all my pics and I have found Marbled Godwits, White-rumped Sandpipers, Willets, Black-bellied Plovers, SB Dowitchers but no Bar-tailed.  The flocks had split into several groups and I must have shot the wrong one.  Dangit, I guess I will have to go back.

The cause of the ruckus, a Peregrine Falcon in the upper left of this frame.

How many species can you count?


Reddish Egret

This is probably the most reliable spot in NC for Reddish Egret.  Two in one frame!

Little Blue Heron

At about noon, we took the transfer boat over to Cape Lookout.

Dave and I watched this Cicada-killer Wasp kill this Cicada and drag it into her burrow.  She will lay eggs on the corpse and then cover the burrow.  The larvae hatch and then dine on the Cicada.  Creepy.

We walked around for about an hour with little activity so we slowly headed back to the boat.  Luckily on the way we ran into a nice flock of vireos and warblers.

Philadelphia Vireo!  Believe it or not there were two of these rarities in the same flock.  The other one was actually much brighter yellow but I failed to get a picture.

Cape May Warbler

Summer Tanager

Last order of business was to visit the resident Ruff at Clyde's Corner.

Too easy!

Saturday morning I met Sam for some local birding for a couple hours.  Sam remarked that he would like a Philly Vireo too, so POOF, one appeared at the Fort Fisher Aquarium.  Three Phillies in two days? Wow.

Philly fanny.

He/she did not stick around long enough for a proper crushing.

Have I mentioned I love bird migration? Praying for more NW winds....

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Little Sumpin (24-27Sep2017)

Here is a quick post to add some year birds, albeit not well photographed ones.  I couldn't help capture some other critters too.

Pink-spotted Hawkmoth on my back porch.

Southern Pearly Eye

I managed to get a little birding in right before my boy's soccer match last weekend in Jacksonville.

This Swainson's Thrush was my reward.

Bald Eagle fly by at Airlie Gardens

Yet another empid at Burnt Mill Creek

Common Yellowthroat

Eastern Wood Pewee

Nashville Warbler!  Shame he was not more cooperative.

Hope this west wind brings some migration fallout.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Cape May Warbler (Setophaga tigrina) - 07Oct2018

Cape Mays are a dime a dozen in the fall in NC but the fall version of the bird does not do it justice.  Here is one from Florida in the Spring.

Here is one from the fall in NC that did retain some of the colors.

Gray-headed Swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus) - 20Apr2016

Per Wiki:
Grey-headed swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus) is a species of swamphen occurring from the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent to southern China and northern Thailand. It used to be considered a subspecies of the purple swamphen, but was elevated to full species status in 2015; today the purple swamphen is considered a superspecies and each of its six races are designated full species.
The male has an elaborate courtship display, holding water weeds in his bill and bowing to the female with loud chuckles.
The grey-headed swamphen was introduced to North America in the late 1990s due to avicultural escapes in the Pembroke Pines, Florida area. State wildlife biologists attempted to eradicate the birds, but they have multiplied and can now be found in many areas of southern Florida. Ornithological authorities consider it likely that the swamphen will become an established part of Florida's avifauna. It was added to the American Birding Association checklist in February 2013

This one was photographed at the Dolphin Mall in Miami.

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) - 18Apr2016

Here is another easy one to get in the yard.  Common Grackles are named aptly as they are in fact common.  This one was enjoying the bugs that seem to proliferate on my front lawn.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) - 28Apr2016

An Orchard Oriole has beautiful rich song that greets Spring every year in my neck of the woods.  This one was photographed in Holly Shelter Gamelands.

Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum) - 24Apr2016

I love a Worm-eating Warbler.  I used to be able to find them reliably at Lee Buck Rd in Brunswick County but the paper barons have been cutting down all the habitat over the past couple years.  I believe this one was one of the last I found there.