Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Counting Birds (19-24Apr2018)

If you haven't noticed, I am a bit obsessed with counting birds.  So when someone asks me to participate a bird count, I can't resist.  So this past week I participated in the Brunswick County spring count.  But first some local stuff.

Black Rat Snakes?  Rogersville Rd access to the Cross City Trail.

Red-shouldered Hawk - I saw a Broad-winged Hawk do a quick fly by but I did not get a picture so it was not counted.

Eastern Kingbird

Brown-headed Nuthatches need to drink too.

It has taken me four months to get Red-headed WP this year.  Weird.  Usually I get an overwintering bird.

Eastern Kingbird

Count Day in Brunswick County started at the main entrance for the Green Swamp Preserve.

Hooded Warbler was one of only a few cooperative birds for pictures.  We heard a plethora of Bachman's Sparrows and Swainson's Warblers but most of them remained hidden.

Great Crested Flycatchers are back.

Next stop for the count was a spot I have heard of but never was successful finding until now when I was equipped with directions from Dave W.

The Wayne's race of Black-throated Green Warblers is pretty rare.  Green Swamp is a good place and also the Croatan is even better. They only inhabit a small strip of cypress swamps near the coast.

I hope I never take Prothonotary Warblers for granted.

This Black-and-white Warbler was quite gregarious.

Next stop was a stretch of hardwood forest near an old airstrip on Federal Rd.

White-eyed Vireo

Worm-eating Warblers are always a good find.

Carolina Saddlebags

It was a good count, but I had soccer games and had to stop before noon.

Here are some more local New Hanover birds.

Pine Warbler at CB State Park


Ever see a Gray Squirrel with a cinnamon tail?  There is one hanging around in CB State Park.

Great Crested with some nice Bokeh!

Common Tern hanging out with a Sandwich at the north end of Wrightsville Beach.

There were quite a few Common Terns hanging with the Forster's.

Royal Terns doing their courtship rituals.

And the transfer is complete, just hope she is not a gold digger.

This shows a nice comparison of a Common Tern on the left with darker primaries and darker red legs, the Forster's in the middle with light primaries and lighter red/orange legs and the weird Common Tern in juvenile plumage to the right.  Weird...

Common Tern on right showing the darker gray belly nicely and the black wedge in the primaries.

And last evening at the Fort Fisher Spit....

Semi-palmated Sandpipers are back.

Nice tapered bill with thick base.

Nice comparison of Semi on left and Western on right.

Western SP

A Red Phalarope on the beach was a great find! To bad I already had one for the year, but a nice New Hanover tick.

Last night I went to CB State Park for owls and goatsuckers, but I did not have anyone with me, and let me tell you holding a flash light while trying to shoot with manual focus is tough.  Auto focus does not work well in no light situations.

Good thing this Eastern Screech Owl was super cooperative.

Unfortunately the Chucks were not as cooperative and I could not get a decent pic. Will have to go back with an assistant.

Frogs making love sweet love in the parking lot at night...

Off I go to the mountains this weekend.  I can't wait for warblers to be dripping from the trees.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Colorado Day 2 (26Mar2018)

Day 2 of my Colorado adventure started well positioned in Craig, CO.  I had obtained coordinates from an unnamed source for a good Greater Sage Grouse lek and somehow convinced my family to wake at 5am to go witness this amazing display.  We arrived well before light and while my family watched a movie in the car, I walked around listening for signs of grouse.  It was very cold but after a short walk I started hearing them.  The bubbling display calls are remarkable and instantly transported me to a world unknown to me.

Two males face off while the covey of females watch or feign disinterest.

The filling of the airsacs and strange dance had me staring more than the females.

I was able to get my family out and we all watched the scene in awe.

Ummmmm...... That's some serious chicken breast.

I should have taken more scenery shots too. A beautiful place.

Plenty of game backed up the signs we saw entering Craig as the sportsman's heaven.

But as usual I was more interested in the birds.  Horned Lark.

Sandhill Crane

Sage Thrasher


Our next destination was the Black Canyon of the Gunnison which is Colorado's version of the Grand Canyon.  Of course on the way I had to hit the brakes a few times.

Common Mergansers

Mountain Bluebirds abounded.

Townsend's Solitaire in the Black Canyon.

Cassin's Finch!!!

Cassin's Finch female.

Spotted Towhee

Woodhouse's Scrub Jay

This river at the bottom of the canyon undoubtedly had some American Dippers but the trails to the bottom were still closed for the winter due to icy conditions.

Common Raven


Not sure about the species of Prairie Dog.

Mountain Bluebird

I heartily recommend the Black Canyon.  I plan on going back.

More Colorado fun in another post.  I'm hungry and need to raid the fridge.