Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Pacific and Iceland (02-09Feb2020)

One of the many things I love about birding is that chasing or finding rare strays brings me to other destinations without having to actually travel much.

Let's start off with some common birds I haven't photographed yet this year that I still have not managed a decent photo of and arguably still haven't.

Young Red-shouldered Hawk at ILM airport

Adult RS Hawk

Brown-headed Cowbirds at Summer's Rest Trail

Greater Yellowlegs waiting out the high tide at Summer's Rest.

Boat-tailed Grackle Hydra

Pacific Loons are definitely more common than you would think but finding them is tricky.  All the Pacific Loons I have found were found at dawn before the loon flocks move off-shore.

I actually found this one on the 5th of Feb but was not sure until a couple days later when I checked my pics.  There is a clear chinstrap and the bill is smaller and head profile nice and smooth versus the cro-magnon look of a Common Loon.

One of these days a Pacific Loon will be crushed in good light by yours truly but until then all my pics of this species will be Sasquatch quality.

At Airlie Gardens the Double-crested Cormorants peacefully co-exist with the Anhingas.  I wonder why it is usually the young 1st year cormorants that hang out in fresh water where the adults are usually on the ocean.

Ospreys hang out year round at Airlie.

I have been spending a good amount of free time hanging out at the end of Johhnie Mercer's Pier because I haven't been able to fulfill my pelagic birding fix.

Royal Tern

Razorbills have been flying by in good numbers but usually far out.

WTF!  A Scaup leading a large flock of Black Scoters...  Who would have thought Scaup were leaders and Scoters followers..

Royal Tern in gloomy weather.

During the work week a nice lady posted an Iceland Gull sighting at Fort Fisher so I jetted down while on a work TC. One of the few benefits of my work is I can do it from anywhere provided there is no screen sharing going on.

Iceland Gull

This weekend was beautiful but chilly.  I focused on cleaning up a couple pictures of common birds for my year effort.

House Sparrow

Mourning Dove

Common Grackle at Greenfield Lake

Northern Cardinal at Wrightsville Beach - starting to look snappy for breeding season.

I hiked out to the north end trying to ignore all the beach replenishment noise.

Least Sandpiper

American Oystercatcher

Pelicans and gulls.

Adult Black-headed Gull - I am willing to bet this is the same bird that has been wintering in this spot for the past 3-4 years.

Black Skimmers are starting to appear in greater numbers.

Common Loon


Long-tailed Duck

Brown Thrasher at Greenfield Lake

American Goldfinch

Is it me or is this winter flying by?  Spring is just around the corner and with this mild winter it feels like we never really had one. Redbuds and azaleas are already blooming and overlapping with the winter camellias. 

Great times.  Next weekend is finally my pelagic fix.. 

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