Sunday, July 8, 2018

Topical Depression (01-08Jul2018)

Are there any topics for you that cause immediate and profound depression?  For me, it is when people talk about birding trips they went on that I was not able to attend.  For example several weeks ago many folks saw a Tahiti Petrel on a Patteson Pelagic which is a first for NC.  It killed me a little that I was not on the boat.  However, you will never see ultra rarities if you don't go, so I booked myself a spot on this July 4th weekend.

First some local birds from earlier in the week.

Painted Bunting at the Basin Trail in Fort Fish.

Yet another NC Roseate Spoonbill at the Basin Trail.  They are everywhere this year.

Friday night I stayed at the Buxton campground and tented it.  I was worried because a tropical depression had formed several hundred miles off the Carolina coast and pelagics get canceled when the weather does not cooperate.  However, I was pleased when Brian made the call to go anyway.

We spotted three Manx right after leaving the inlet but the photos are not worth it.

Black-capped Petrel - The light was really poor and challenging most of the trip and it rained about 70% of the time but we still had a blast.

Audubon's Shearwater with a cruise ship in the background.

Another Audubon's SW - mainly to give you an idea of the ocean condition.  Note the dark under tail.

Leach's Storm-petrels were plentiful.

Audubon's SW - note the longer tail.

Scopoli's subspecies of Cory's SW.  The white encroaches almost to the wing tips.

Great Shearwater

Fantastic Shearwater.

Leach's SP

At this point my camera started to malfunction.  The constant rain was probably causing the problem.  The display was flickering and when I attempted to take a photo, 3 out of 4 times I would get an error message.  Of course that is when a Fea's Petrel flew right up the side of the boat.  I got the most amazing naked eye view of this exceptional bird but my camera repeatedly failed.  Luckily it flew by a couple of times albeit further away and I was able to get my camera to cooperate.  I missed the crushing that most on the boat got but I did come away with some passable shots.

Fea's Petrel - dark underwings and white body.

Once the sun came out and the rain stopped, my camera started working again.


Great SW and Cory's

A great trip!  I hope to get one more pelagic before the end of the year.  I have missed all the Tropicbirds, Long-tailed Jaeger, Sooty Tern and Bridled Tern for the expected summer birds.

I was exhausted and started falling asleep at the wheel on the way home so I booked a hotel half way home at Williamston, NC.  Since I missed a photo of the Henslow's Sparrow I heard earlier in the year, I decided to pay another visit to the VOA site at Bear Grass Sunday morning.  It took a while but eventually I succeeded.

Field Sparrows were trying to throw me off.

Pitcher Plants were trying to distract me.

Immature Field Sparrows did their best to trick me too.

However, once I heard the telltale call, it was easy to find the Henslow's.

Henslow's Sparrow

Ammodramus Sparrows have the biggest heads in proportion to their bodies.

Its getting harder and harder to get new birds for the year...


  1. Dude Great pulls with the Pelagic, like a Patterson brochure!
    And a lil’ Henslow’s for dessert.

    Putting in the time certainly pays. While I am embarrassed by my own lack of cool finds to report, that sort of stuff is almost always porportional to time in the field (mine being severely lacking).

  2. Your excused with the little one. Once she is my kids ages it becomes easier to get away.

  3. Maybe we should all go to Tahiti!