Sunday, March 29, 2020

Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) - 31May2019 & 16Apr2018

Some folks in NC get plenty of these finches especially further inland.  I have not had good luck with them at my house so I don't bother with the black thistle that they like.  Here is one from a trip to Michigan in May 2018.

Here is one from the NC botanical garden in Chapel Hill.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

COVID-19 Sucks (15-22Mar2020)

Although I could definitely say a few things about COVID, what we need right now is to forget about it a bit.  So here are some bird pics from the past couple weeks that have nothing to do with COVID whatsoever which is refreshing.

Horned Grebes will be gone soon. This one was hanging out at the south end of WB.

Northern Flicker at Airlie

Wood Ducks are not nearly as common as they have been in years past. These were at Land Fall.

Winter Wren at Land Fall

Cedar Waxwing at Greenfield Lake

Hermit Thrush at GFL

Double-crested Cormorant

Laughing Gulls are looking snappy and laughing all the way down the beach lately (taken a week ago at north end before the shut down).

I have been scrutinizing gulls for rarities.  Ring-billed Gulls can hide Mew Gulls and ...

Herring Gulls can look like California Gulls... but I didn't find any really good candidates.

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Laughing Gulls are starting to court each other...

I was wondering what was going on here...

WTF?  I know gulls would regurgitate for young but will a male regurgitate for a female?  


American Oystercatcher

An early Orchard Oriole at Wade Park

At the area behind the Athletic Fields at Fort Fisher, I heard crows going nuts and bet that they had an owl.  I won the bet...

Great Horned Owl

Little Blue Heron - a week ago before you know what started getting real, I went to Harker's Island to  jump on the ferry and spend a day at Shackleford Banks. Unfortunately, despite checking the previous evening and being assured that the ferry would run, they canceled due to winds.  I was in a really bad mood as a 2.5 hour drive one way only to find out they were not running was super annoying. So I birded a while in Carteret County.

Eastern Meadowlark

American Avocet back in Wilmington on the Fort Fisher rocks.

Caspian Tern and a bunch of other Royals and Forster's.

Red-throated Loon

Yesterday was a beautiful day so I stayed home and worked in the yard.  However, the temperature dropped today and spring migrants were calling their siren song so I went up to northern New Hanover where you can still get some peace and quiet.

Sam C had an Ovenbird the day before per the eBird reports at the old bridge near the New Hanover/Pender county line so I went and found it singing away it's Teacher song.

Yellow-throated Warbler - I found a nice flock at Riverside Park.

White-breasted Nuthatches are hard to find in New Hanover but this spot holds several.

Northern Parulas are back!

Ok back to reality, we are in a self imposed semi-lock down here in NC due to COVID and I am trying my best to keep away from other people.  I am not religious but I guess you could say I am praying or at least hoping the death tolls don't spiral as high as some estimates are putting them at.  My wife has Lupus, I have scars in my lungs from an old bout of Pulmonary Emboli and my parents are getting into their early golden years so the risks are nothing to scoff at.  Stay safe out there and when this is over, hugs all around.  

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Cinnamon Teal (Spatula cyanoptera) - 31Mar2018 & 19Jan2019

This stunning duck still needs to be properly crushed, but I have seen quite a few in my travels and even one in NC.

This first one is from Colorado on a ranch east of Colorado Springs.

And this is the one I had in NC at Alligator River NWR.

Canada Jay (Perisoreus canadaensis) - 30Mar2018

What is not to love about this denizen of the boreal forests?  Photographed in Mueller SP west of Colorado Springs, CO.

Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli) - 30Mar2018

Here is an interesting tidbit from the Cornell website:

"The evergreen forests of the Western mountains periodically suffer massive outbreaks of tree-killing insects such as bark beetles and needle miners. When this happens, it’s all-you-can-eat for Mountain Chickadees. During a lodgepole needle miner outbreak in Arizona, one chickadee was found with 275 of the tiny caterpillars in its stomach at one time."

Here is one photographed in the mountains west of Colorado Springs in Mueller State Park.

Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) - 24Dec2018 & 26Nov2018

Here is a species that until somewhat recently was only seen in the western states by yours truly.  However, in 2018 at the end of my big year, a very good birder was paying attention while walking his dog and spotted a Golden-crowned hanging out with a bunch of White-throated behind a gas station in the middle of nowhere.

This first photo is from California on the Channel Islands.

And here is the one from NC...

Yellow-billed Loon (Gavia adamsii) - 28Mar2018

Kind of nice to have such a rare and snazzy loon named after you?  This species shows up in the lower 48 every couple of years and just happened to be hanging out in a reservoir in Pueblo Colorado while I was staying at my sister in-law's house in Colorado Springs.