Sunday, November 26, 2017

Giving Thanks (19-26Nov2017)

What is better than Thanksgiving Dinner cooked at home with all family present?  Thanksgiving Dinner cooked at home with all family present and a couple lifers... I went back to my roots for Thanksgiving and stayed with my parents in Long Island, NY.

On Sunday I had a day to bird so my father and I went to Heckscher State Park to take a walk and of course I had scoped out some Hudsonian Godwits ahead of time.

Hudsonian Godwit - it did not take long to find it.  I was looking forward to crushing it but as I was parking the car after taking these shots a Peregrine swooped in and took a Black-bellied Plover and in the process scared the godwit off.

The party pooper.

Look closely to see the poor plover.

The Horned Larks here walked right up to my vehicle while I snapped photos.

Downy WP

American Wigeons at Setauket Mill Pond


Some of the family on one of our walks.

Brant at West Meadow

Plenty of Long-tailed Ducks at West Meadow

These clowns showed up and scared all the ducks away.  Apparently people eat Long-tailed Ducks or just shoot them for fun, I am not sure which.

On my last day in NY, my little brother and I went to West Hampton where I used to be a lifeguard.  We fished but didn't catch anything.  I was surprised to have a Snowy Owl fly right over my head while I was reeling in my line and was not able to get my camera on it.  However, I watched it fly down the beach and finally land on a house.

Can you see it on the chimney of the distant house?  We walked all the way down and was lucky that the bird stayed put.

As I was taking pics some typical Long Island idiots pulled up in a SUV and started hooting and making all kinds of noise....

The owl does not like guidos...

We found him on another house and watched him for a while as the sun set (at 4:30pm!!!).

Back in Wilmington on Saturday,

This rail looked good for a Virginia Rail to me but now I am wondering with that whitish throat is it just a squat looking Clapper.

Sunday Morning I made the drive to Jordan Lake to look for the Little Gull.

First thing in the morning thousands of gulls were taking off after their evening roost.  I thought to myself "how in the world will I find a Little Gull in this mix".  Luckily these were mostly Ring-billed and they left to presumably head over to the dump.

I finally picked up the Little Gull but I forgot to dial back my ISO settings after the early morning light and most of my pics did not come out.  Here are a few salvageable ones.

Top view shows a all white bird with stubby rounded wings.

Bottom view and you can see the diagnostic dark underwings.

I will have to improve on these pics but a lifer none the less...

Great times.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Edward Scissortail (16-18Nov2017)

Well folks, we have all kinds of good birds to chase in NC but I have just been so busy and not motivated enough to go.  I know I will end the year with less species than last year so it's hard to get me going at this point.  That being said, when someone calls me with something good nearby you can bet I will be there.

Birds in NC right now:
1. Rough-legged Hawk up on the TN/VA/NC border.
2. Short-eared Owls - I have one for the year already but these are special because they have been seen in daylight up in the same spot as the Rough-legged and also on Hooper Lane.
3. King Eider - this female being seen at Bonner Bridge would be a state bird for me...
4. Long-billed Curlews - multiple sightings in Carteret County.
5. Red-necked Grebes
6. Black-legged Kittiwake up on Lake Hickory - would be a state bird.
7. Bell's Vireo at Warren Wilson.

I hope some of these stick around into the new year because you know I will start the whole thing all over again.  Throw in a Broad-billed Hummingbird and it would be a great start.

Somehow I didn't have Field Sparrow for New Hanover this year yet so I snapped this one at Fort Fisher a couple days ago.

The Common Goldeneye is back at the Fort Fisher Aquarium pond.

I keep checking the godwits at Federal Rocks hoping for a late Hudsonian but so far no luck.  Can you believe it would be a lifer for me?  Probably would be my nemesis bird at this point.

This Laughing Gull had a neat line on his head.

Red-throated Loon

Black Skimmers at North End

I was battling with the legion of leaf blowers at Airlie Gardens this morning when Sam C called and informed me that Mark J had a Scissortail Flycatcher at Fort Fisher.  I had very little time because my oldest boy had a soccer game but luckily the bird was obliging...

Scissortail Flycatcher

I would have liked to stay and crush him in flight but soccer dads are always on the move.

This Orange-crowned Warbler landed in the same tree as the Scissortail.

I am now sitting at the airport waiting to fly to NY with my youngest son for a week of Thanksgiving with my parents on Long Island.  Melissa and Luke have two more games in the tournament and then will join us tomorrow.  I plan on getting some goodies up in New York.  Maybe a Northern Shrike!  A long overdue lifer.

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Local Stuff (03-12Nov2017)

Just some random pics from the past week or so.  Here are a bunch from Wrightsville Beach.

Common Terns still around.  This one almost looked like an Arctic, but it wasn't.

Forster's Tern


Black Skimmers

I counted over 100 Great Egrets, this was just one shot straight ahead, but to the left and right they were all over.  I should have taken a panoramic with my phone.

Common Tern

They were flagging in eBird.

Great Black-backed Gull

Black-bellied Plover

Piping Plover


Last Saturday I went to Shackleford Banks hoping for Long-billed Curlew or a rare godwit, and all I had to show for it....

Clapper Rail - sometimes I wonder why I drive all over looking for birds when I know very well that I can dip hard and many times I do.

Northern Pintails at Ashley School ponds - I loved the fall colors in this one.  A keeper.

Field Sparrow from Prairie Ridge Ecostation - my son had a soccer tourney in Cary and we stopped here for an hour.  I had a Lincoln's Sparrow too but photos were no good.

Vesper Sparrow courtesy of Sam C who called and let me know where it was.

So all that and the only year tic was a Vesper for New Hanover....