I spent several hours at the Fort Fisher Spit this morning in the rain and then a couple at the North end of Wrightsville Beach in the afternoon. Both sessions were good.
A Pectoral in the rain warrants a close look. Harry Sell had a Sharp-tailed SP at this spot in the not so distant past. This bird just looked weird, but that might be just because it was soaked and don't be fooled by the size difference, it was further back than the plovers and slightly larger.
One of the reasons I don't fish anymore. This Caspian was sporting some fishing tackle jewelry around his neck. Hopefully not a death sentence.
It is an unusual event to find one American Golden Plover on the beach, but 7!!! I ended up calling Sam and bringing him down to look at them too. We looked through them pretty hard hoping to find one that might be a Pacific or European but none of them were standing out enough. One was obviously lighter colored than the rest and had more white under tail, but it was probably just natural variation within species.
The interesting one in center of frame.
Here you can see some white in the folded primary feathers.
And again some white but that might just be a lighting artifact.
All gray underwing means this is not a European Golden Plover.
All 7 in one shot which is not easy with a fixed 400mm lens.
Again some nice white in the underwing and on top but not enough to make really interesting.
Look at those long wings... A Pacific would have shorter primary projection.
Sorry folks for all the pics, but I am hoping an expert notices something I am not.
Then in the afternoon at the North end of Wrightsville Beach, a good 20 miles from the spit, the first interesting bird we run into is an American Golden Plover!! WTF.
10 or more Lesser Black-backed Gulls walk onto a bar......
I had to get going because I promised to drive my youngest to a pizza party and as I am running back into the parking lot at the north end, I notice a large group of swallows forming.
This Tree Swallow only had one wing and was flying in circles.
You are so gullible, his other wing is just hidden.
Another Tree - most of the swallows were Barn but I was focusing in on the square tailed birds hoping for a Cave or even a Cliff.
Cave Swallow!!! Light buffy throat. I have good recent experience picking these out as I was recently in the LRGV in Texas. Cliff Swallows have a darker throat with a more defined break between throat and belly.
The money shot - the tawny rump, forehead and throat all visible.
Then the cherry on top right before leaving, a flock of 10 American White Pelican wheeling above the marsh.
For those of you tracking, that is one New Hanover bird (pelican) and one year bird for NC (Cave). Unfortunately Sam got 3 today for NH so he is widening the gap and unless he drops dead tomorrow, he will retain the crown. I need to remember to get his head size for a proper crown. Next year Sam.... the crown is never safe in this game of thrones we play.