Sunday, September 30, 2018

Chasing Rarities All Over NC (17-29Sep2018)

After Florence in Durham, this giant wasp is the best thing I could find.  I am not exaggerating when I say it was as large as a hummingbird.  

I chased a Sabine's Gull at Falls Lake but this Sanderling was the best thing I could find there.

Overall, the storm was disappointing from the bird standpoint. When I finally made it back home there were a ton of spots underwater, but so far I have not turned up anything unusual.  The beaches have been littered with dead shearwaters which is unusual, but they don't do me much good dead.

Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs at Fort Fisher

Blue-winged Teal at the flooded athletic fields, and they are still there as I write this 2 weeks later.

White-rumped Sandpiper

Pectoral SP

Sandpipers in flight - Least SPs and WRSP on the right.

Common Yellowthroat at Fort Fisher

Yellow Warbler

The north end of Wrightsville Beach is surprisingly looking ok after the storm - Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Lots of Caspian Terns

This Black-bellied Plover was masquerading as an American Golden Plover.

Over 3000 moth species in NC, I am not even going to try to ID this on my own.

And this one was super cool looking.

When a Kirtland's Warbler was found at Ridge Junction, it was too good to pass up and I had to go.  A 6 hour drive after working hours and a 3 hour sleep in my truck later and I was up at Ridge Junction.

Kirtland's Warbler - a damn good bird in NC.  I see them quite regularly in the Bahamas, but it was nice to get one in my home state.

It was super foggy up there.  These pics would have been crippling if the fog cleared.

The fog did clear a bit by the end of my stay.

On Saturday I left home at 2am and made the pilgrimage to Duck, NC to get me some migration.  My target was a Philadelphia Vireo.  Jim and Al joined me and we did run into 10 species of warbler but nothing new for my year list.

Cape May Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler eating a Daddy Long-legs

But the real target was a Hudsonian Godwit seen at Pea Island for the past week.  The plan was to get the godwit chop chop and head to Cedar Island via ferry to pick up another year bird in an American Golden Plover.  Of course plans rarely go according to ..... plans.  I was searching all over North Pond and met a nice couple Ron and Marie also looking for the bird.  We split up and a couple hours later when I walked back to my truck a note was under the windshield wiper with directions to the Hudsonian they had relocated!  THANK YOU RON and MARIE!

A beauty which could have been nicer if not backlit but I will take it!  A NC lifer.

Is it me or does a Hudsonian look like a Marbled and a Clapper Rail had a drunken night in the reeds.

This beauty was showing me all the field marks.  Dark underwings, white rump and blotchy red on the belly.

I am up to 332 for my year effort with just a few missing pictures..

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Evacuation Birds (12-17Sep2018)

I was secretly hoping for a hurricane to bring some birds but I was not expecting a storm like Florence...  When we saw the size of the storm, we decided to get out of town.  And where better to spend some time away from the coast than the mountains of NC!  We managed to secure a cabin near Roscoe, NC which was close enough that I was able to finally pay a couple visits to the legendary Heffner Gap on the parkway.

The first morning was unfortunately raining and I only had a few birds.

Tennessee Warblers were plentiful and some of them were doing vireo impressions.

Tons of unidentified empid flycatchers..

A fiery Skipper?

The Moses Cone Manor

This wacky Great Blue Heron at Bass Lake was doing funky things with his tongue.

On the second morning I hit the jackpot at Heffner Gap.  There were so many warblers, I ended up not taking too many photos because I was constantly looking at new birds every 5 or so seconds.

Bay-Breasted Warbler - I only had one of these so I had to take some pictures of this species.

Black-throated Greens were very plentiful.

The legendary Bill H of Heffner Gap was there sharing in the bounty and told me this Hooded was likely a resident bird.  He was still singing like crazy.

This looked almost like a Wood Pewee but I am not sure.

I initially thought this was a Least Flycatcher but now I am second guessing.

Black-throated Blue female.


Broad-winged Hawk

I managed to get away one of the days to chase some Buff-breasted Sandpipers at Hooper Lane.  It took a while but I finally found one.

Another year bird in the bag!

Now the storm was threatening us in the mountains and we wanted to get closer to home so we could finally assess the damage.  Not knowing what is happening to your house during a hurricane is almost as bad as being in one, but not quite.  We have been through hurricanes before and it is not fun having no power in hot weather for days on end.  In Raleigh at a hotel we started learning of the crazy flooding and decided to wait it out until we could confirm the flood waters had receded and power was back up.

I managed to bird a couple times in the triangle area but it was not what I was hoping for.

Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs making odd couples.

Red-necked Phalaropes were a nice find at Lake Crabtree.

This bike trail was a little wet.

A Sabine's Gull was found at Falls Lake but I was not checking my emails enough and I missed my opportunity. It was gone the next morning.  That was an especially big miss.

Tomorrow we finally drive home to assess the damage.  Our neighbors just confirmed we have power after over a week since we evacuated.