Monday, September 3, 2018

Dream Crushing Dry Spell (12Aug2018 - 02Sep2018)

This past month has been failure after failure.  Once again I have come close to a NC big year record setting pace only to fizzle at the summer's end.  There is always next year!  It is not for lack of trying although admittedly my work and family commitments do prevent me from trying very hard.  Some examples of failed excursions this past month include another paddle up the Black River to try and photograph the Limpkin, two failed pelagics on the outer banks which included one canceled half way out the inlet and the other canceled before it even could leave the inlet, a long canoe trip with George in the Charlotte area for Wilson's Phalarope and countless other little excursions.   The pelagic misses were especially hard for me since the trips that did go out without me netted over 10 species I don't have this year.  Not to mention I was stuck watching a particularly disappointing soccer tournament in 90 degree heat with no shade.

I posted this moth on iNaturalist, still waiting for ID confirmation. Did you know there are over 2000 moth species in NC!!!

Numerous trips on the Fort Fisher spit have been nice but none yielding anything out of the ordinary.

Marbled Godwits are always nice to look at.

Black Terns are regular this time of year.

Common Terns and Forster's are coming through in large numbers.

 This Marbled was super pale.

Red Knots

The sod farms in Cleveland County usually disappoint me.  This time there was a huge flock of Pectoral SPs but not much else, so I guess I have not changed my mind about this spot yet but we don't have may accessible sod farms in this area.

Halloween Pennant seen at Lake Landing on my way back from a canceled pelagic.

Common Snapping Turtle

Black Tern at Lake Landing

Red Knot at Fort Fisher


This Labor Day weekend I had a couple days free from soccer so I jammed up to the mountains.  It took forever to get to my first destination on Friday after work.  I got to the top of Clingman's Dome at midnight!  I was tired enough that crashing in my truck was not so bad.  Plus it was cold outside so I snuggled with some blankets and was fine.

This was the view from my truck in the morning.

It is quite rare to get a day like this in the smokies.  Usually this spot is socked in.

Black-throated Greens and Blues were everywhere.

After about 2 hours of hiking I finally found this group of Black-capped Chickadees right near the parking lot.  A birder from DC joined me and we thoroughly checked all the field marks.  Of course it helped that the group was still singing the two-part songs!  Audio recording can be found here:

The very white edging in the tertials and the very white auriculars without gray near the nape sealed the ID.  in general they are a bit larger and more colorful than our Carolina Chickas.

An odd looking Tennessee Warbler.

A Traill's flycatcher.  Probably Alder... the primary projection was relatively long.

Red Admiral

I checked Hooper Lane in Mills River but there was no water and consequently no birds.  That night I spent some time hiking the Commissary Trail at Mitchell and then headed to Curtis Creek Rd to sleep in my truck again. This time it was super uncomfortable as thunderstorms were moving through and it was hot.  I had to keep the windows closed because of bugs and rain and so it was humid and stale in the cab and I slept poorly.  Next time I am pitching my tent even if it is raining.

Bright and early the fog was pea soup at Ridge Junction but heading up Mitchell it clear up nicely and I hiked the Commissary Trail again.  One of my favorite walks in all of NC!  Gorgeous.

A more typical Tennessee

Female BT Blue


Male BT Blue

Cape May - the warblers were pouring around me but it was difficult to ID most of them as they were very active.  Hundreds were not even landing.



Heading home with only 2 year birds was a bit demoralizing but it was a beautiful trip and I should be content with that.

If my pelagic gets canceled next weekend I am going postal.

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