Thursday, June 30, 2016

Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) - 11Jun2016 and 23Jun2016

The Monk Parakeet is one of those birds that has been in NC for a while but has not yet reached the stable breeding population required to make it "listable".  However, it has reached that designation in Florida and I was recently there so I made a little effort to add them to my list.  This first set of pictures is from Northwest, NC where a pair of Monks has built a small town of stick nests up and down a couple streets.  The residents of Northwest love their 2 Monks and caused an uproar when the local power company threatened to take down the nests. The sad think is they have not been able to fledge any chicks, probably because of all the Starlings stealing the homes and ejecting the eggs.  I hope this pair is able to raise a brood at some point.  I also hope that they are recognized in NC soon so I can add them to that list.

These next two photos are from Markham Park west of Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) - 17Jun2016

The Anhinga, also known as Snake-Bird or Water-Turkey is pretty common in Southeastern North Carolina.  It's novelty has somewhat worn off since I have moved here 10 plus year ago.  However, I do remember being in awe when I first saw this bird swimming with only it's snake-like head sticking out of the water.  There is plenty of these in Wilmington, but the best place to see them up close is Twin Lakes in Sunset Beach where I saw this one.  The breeding plumaged males can be quite colorful so I will have to get some better pics in the future.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani) - 27Dec2015 and 23Jun2016 and 30Dec2016

The Smooth-billed Ani is a prehistoric looking bird that can help illustrate the link between dinosaurs or at least reptiles and birds.  The feathers even look like scales.  This first set of photos is from my trip to Cuba in 2016.

This next set is from Eleuthera in the Bahamas where they are quite common.  If you are not careful the call can be mistaken for the creaking of trees in the wind.  These two photos were taken in December 2015.

The next couple photos are from Loxahatchee NWR just West of Delray.  The photos are not the greatest but they satisfy entry on my ABA region listing.  These were taken during a work trip to South Florida in June 2016.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata) - 24Jun2016

While on the subject on established exotics or in this case established domestics, I might as well post this ugly duckling and add it to my list.  In Texas Muscovy Ducks are considered "wild" and usually are all black which some white restricted in the wings.  In Florida the Muscovy Ducks are domestic birds that have gone feral and established.  They can have a much more varied patterning in Florida and just look domestic.  They hang out on suburban lawns and parks and do not have much fear of humans. I do hope to eventually get the "wild" birds in TX but the ABA allows the ones in Florida to be counted so count it I will.  These were found in Miami Springs, FL.

This is brutal and barbaric.  She was practically being drowned.

A little post-coitus posturing.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Spot-breasted Oriole (Icterus pectoralis) - 24Jun2016

Spot-breasted Oriole is a species introduced to South Florida from Mexico and has been breeding long enough that it has reached ABA countable status.  I had never really tried for them before but I was expecting it to be easy based on the pretty high number of reports.  So when I did finally get a chance this week during a work trip I was a little miffed when I failed to see them at 2 different spots where they are reported.  On my way to the airport for my flight back home, I noticed I had about 45 minutes to kill so I went to the Miami Springs neighborhood just North of the airport and got lucky.  If you go looking for these, I suggest looking in the trees next to the canals that run through this neighborhood.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway) - 19-20Jun2016

When a bird of this caliber shows up as a vagrant in your home state, you just have to chase it.  I believe this was the first photo documented Caracara in NC and it was hanging out at Buxton Lighthouse slowly picking away at a possum carcass and getting mobbed by a local contingent of Grackles. In the ABA area this bird is only regularly found in very southern AZ, TX and Florida.  I have seen a ton of them in Costa Rica.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Black-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus erythropthalmus) - 15May2016 and 05Jun2016

The Black-billed Cuckoo is one of those hard to find species in NC.  In 2014 I did find one in the Croatan but I dipped many times in 2015.  In 2016 I have already seen three but all three were happy accidents.

This first set of two pictures is from a pair of birds seen at Lake Landing in Hyde County while searching for the MEGA of Little Egret. Kind of a big deal because there are not many breeding BB Cuckoos in Eastern North Carolina.

This next set of photos was from a bird seen after a rain shower at Meat Camp ESA near Boone.  He had been feasting on his staple diet of caterpillers and his throat was a gooey mess.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis) - 21May2016

One thing the East Coast has over the West Coast is Wood Warblers.  We have more of them and arguably better looking ones.  Sure the Red-faced Warbler or Painted Warbler are a couple exceptions, but for the most part we have the mostly sought after warblers in North America.  If I move to the West Coast at some point, I will still need to come back and get my Wood Warbler fix.  The Canada Warbler is one of those sought after birds.  The combination of the eye ring, yellow and black/gray color scheme and beautiful necklace really can't be improved upon.  This bird was captured up at Craggy Gardens in the dwarf Beech forest which by itself is a stunning reason to take the trip up there.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens) - 11May2016

The Acadian Flycatcher is one of those tricky "Empi" flycatchers that are difficult to ID based on looks alone.  However, when you see a nesting empi in the right habitat and its calling then it's a no brainer.  In fact out of the 4 regular empis we have in NC (Least, Alder, Willow and Acadian), the Acadian is the only one of the 4 that nests in Wilmington.  This one was captured on Lee Buck Rd in Brunswick County and was trying to distract me from the female and the nearby nest.