Sunday, July 29, 2018

A Curlew to Remember (14-28Jul2018)

Ever have a curlew play with your emotions?  I have.

First a recap of a Limpkin adventure with no actual proof.  Also, have you ever noticed that Siri constantly wants to change the word Limpkin to Simpkin?  I didn't even know it was a word.  The Urban Dictionary says it is "A white man that confuses himself as a black man".

a couple weekends ago I got the kayak up on the truck and headed to the Black River to try and find a Limpkin seen near the Three Sisters near Atkinson, NC.  What a beautiful place.

It is thought that some of these Bald Cypresses could be over 2000 years old.  Not a typo!

About a mile or two upriver I found a cypress stump with a bunch of discarded fresh water clam shells.

I didn't think there was any other critter than could have produced this mound of shells and figured I was hot on the Limpkin's trail.  Someone has since pointed out to me that a Muskrat also eats clams.  However, I don't think a Muskrat would have hauled them onto this stump.

After taking this photo I rounded a curve in the river and flushed the Limpkin!  Of course my camera was in my dry bag and I had no chance to get a picture.  I kept paddling around hoping to locate it but struck out after about 3 more hours of looking.  I plan to go back.  Based on the clam shell mounds littering this place, I suspect this bird is sticking around.

Sparkling Jewelwing - there were quite a few of these on the river and it took me forever to identify it because my go to site for identification is Jeff's Nature Pages and I thought he had pictures of all the NC Odes, but this one is missing.  Maybe I need to take him out on this river.

Then last week I went to the outer banks to chase the Curlew Sandpiper found by Audrey W at Pea Island.  I spent most of one day there and only came away with a couple decent pics of common birds.  What a fruitless chase...


Pectoral Sandpiper

Nice comparison of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.

Back home I made it out on the spit a couple times.  Thousands of shorebirds are coming through now but nothing rare.

A Semipalmated Sandpiper in a sea of Western SPs.

Whimbrels and Godwits and others..

Thousands of Semipalmated Plovers are coming through.

A Western already in winter plumage or a semi with a long bill?

A more typical Western SP.

Take note of the dowitcher on the right.  Look at the V that forms by the supercilia (eye brows).  Note how the supercilia pinch together.  Now keep that in your mind's eye.  This is a Short-billed.

WTF!!!  Sam and I had this strange looking juvenile Royal Tern at the spit.  Even young birds don't have such small bills.

A more typical Royal Tern.

A call from Sam mid week had me driving to ILM airport for Upland SPs.


As the clouds shifted and light changed, the birds would take on a buffy color and I tricked myself to thinking Buff-breasted SP.  However, I think all the ones I found were Uplands.

Five of them!

Then finally I left work around 2pm on Friday to chase the Curlew SP again. This time about an hour's drive away I got a call that the Curlew had moved to Bodie Island!!  Serendipitous!  This was a much better place to find and photograph this European traveler.  I drove about 90 mph the rest of the way and got there just as the light was perfect about 7pm.

Curlew SP on the left.  The birds were constantly flushing due to all the traffic but they kept coming back.

Curlew SP hanging with Stilt SPs, Pectorals and some peeps.

Stilt SP

On Sunday, I made it on a pelagic but the waves were gnarly and half way out the inlet we had to turn around and they cancelled due to rough seas.  Bummer.

At Pea Island I took this photo of two flying herons/egrets and now that I study it, I think they are Reddish Egrets!

Common Wood-nymph.  A new Butterfly for my life list!

Common Wood-nymph

Stilt SP

Long-billed Dowitcher with Short-billed.

Look at that V formed by the supercilia!  No flaring in the bottom.  A real nice specimen of Long-billed.

Tail pattern with wider dark lines than light ones.

The Curlew SP was still at Bodie!

After a little nap he flew off never to be seen again!

And now it is my turn to fly.  I am going to Maine for 10 days to visit my brother and stay on a private island!  Looking forward to it.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Pale-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis) - 27Nov2016

This is a really stunning woodpecker, if you don't believe me see below.  Photographed at Sarapiqui.

Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) - 27Nov2016 and 22Oct2017

Perhaps one of the most seen birds in Costa Rica as you drive around the countryside.  Just check the telephone wires.  This is another bird I have seen in the ABA region.  The first photograph is from Sarapiqui Costa Rica, and the next is from the LRGV in Texas.

In Texas the Couch's is also very similar but the bill is longer on the Tropical and this one called to seal the ID.

Yellow-throated Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus) - 27Nov2016

Also sometimes called the Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, this is one of the two regularly seen toucans in Costa Rica.  I saw this one at Sarapiqui.

Bare-throated Tiger-heron (Tigrisoma Mexicanum) - 27Nov2016

I still can't get over the detail on the feathers of this bird.  Unfortunately I have bad luck finding the other species of tiger-heron.  Photographed at Sarapiqui.

Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata) - 27Nov2016 and 23Oct2017

Here is a species I first saw at Sarapiqui in Costa Rica and then managed to find in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas for an ABA tick.  The first four pictures are from Costa Rica.  The last is from Texas at the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands.

At the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands in TX.