Thursday, January 24, 2019

Patch Adams (06-19Jan2019)

I never saw the movie, but the name sticks in my brain for some reason.  I have been faithful to the patch most of this month but the draw of a new state bird weakened my resolve and I ended up cheating on my dear 5MR Patch.  Another thing I have weakened on is quality of pics.  The beginning of the month was chock full of sunny days and obliging birds.  The middle part not so much so I have had to compromise and allow some not so great photos or I will never make progress towards my photographic patch list.  Here are some patch birds before I get into my state bird chase.

Horned Grebe on the 6th of Jan at the south end of Wrightsville which will be my go to beach spot now.

Surf Scoter on the same day.

On the 8th of Jan, I checked a retention pond on the way to dropping Luke off at school and ran into some good birds for the patch.  Unfortunately the light was crap, but I couldn't resist as it's not every day you can get 3 species of heron/egret in one frame.

Little Blue, Snowy and Great Egret.

Redhead and Hooded Mergs in the same pond.

Same combo as above but with a young white Little Blue Heron.

Swamp Sparrow from Wade Park on Jan 9.

Temperatures dropped the next morning and my neighbor one neighborhood away called me and told me birds were feeding like crazy at his feeders so I had to go and do some geri-birding while I took a conference call.  It didn't take long before my target showed up.

Western Tanager

Baltimore Oriole

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Success with the tanager got my juices flowing so I thought why not take a trip to Airlie and try my luck.

Eastern Bluebird

Yellow-crowned Night-heron - this youngun has been hanging out with 40 or so Black-crowned NHs for a couple weeks at least. Look at those long legs!

Tiny spots on coverts...

Blue Jay

Belted Kingfisher

On Saturday I went back to my go-to circuit from the South end of Wrightsville to Airlie Gardens.

Ring-billed Gull.  One of these days I will find a Mew Gull, then who will be laughing...?

Common Loon - one of the few birds with common in the name that are actually common.

Ruddy Turnstone firmly in the patch.

Bonaparte's Gull

The Piping Plovers are back to their wheel rut on the south end.  This one was color banded.


Barred Owl not cooperating and looking at some Blue Jays.

Gadwall showing his true colors.

Yellow-throated Warbler with a spider treat.


Orange-crowned Warbler

Blue-headed Vireo

Dinosaur glare.


Sunday I performed the same ritual....

Bony on the south side.

Double-crested Cormorant on left and Great Cormorant on right.

Common Loon

And back at Airlie.... I am really flogging this patch for all it's worth.

Black-crowned Night-heron

Youngun - note the bigger spots compared to the YC Night-heron from above.


Hermit Thrush

Tricolored Heron

And finally the cherry on top, this last Saturday, I chased the continuing Cinnamon Teal at Alligator NWR and it was easily found when I pulled up.  It helped that about 15 cars full of Carolina Bird Club enthusiasts were already gawking at it.

State bird 398 for me... and a nice drake at that!  Not that I have anything against the ladies.  It was super far but this in flight photo was not half bad.

At the time I didn't note any Blue-winged Teal, but now that I look at my pics a female in flight was picked out. See right sided bird in flight.

Not every day in NC can you get an Eurasian Green-winged Teal (soon to be a new species) and a Cinnamon Teal in the same pic.  The most left hand bird with a horizontal strip is the Eurasian and the far most bird is the Cinnamon.

Northern Shoveler at ANWR.

Northern Pintail

Since I was already out of patch, I hit up some other spots including Jeanette's Pier which didn't produce any decent photos and finally ended the day at the continuing Golden-crowned Sparrow stakeout in Harbinger, NC.

GC Sparrow

DICK - one of the best 4 letter band codes for birds (Dickcissel).

I love birds.... without birds and family I would be a lost soul.

Can't wait to get out again.. as I write this it is pouring outside.  However, I am slated for a pelagic for Saturday!!!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Work Week? We don't need no stinkin Work Week! (02-06Jan2019)

Although it's been crazy at work the first couple weeks of the year, I have been keeping my four new year's pledges so far.  It helps that I work from home.  It's only a matter of time before I crack on one of these resolutions and I am pretty sure which one is going down first.

  1. Only eating pork (bacon, pork, ham etc) and beef (yes burgers too) once a month each.  I am attempting to reduce my meat consumption but only a fool would go cold turkey on poultry.  I have had my one pork product this past Sunday brunch at Savorez (Pork belly and Trout Taco).
  2. Birding at least once a day and logging it in eBird even if just a tally of my feeder birds out my office window.
  3. My only year listing this year will be my 5 Mile Radius birds.  Sure I will chase any new NC birds or lifers and probably go on some pelagics, but this will be the first year in 4 years that I will not be doing a "NC big year".  You know you are addicted to listing when you make a resolution to stop doing big years.
  4. Running at least 5 days a week. I have done at least 3 miles a day for five days in the first week and I am on track for another 5 day week this week. I am getting old and I hurt all over.
I bet the pork and beef one falls first as I love bacon and my favorite dish in Wilmington is the Pork Belly Bahn Mini sandwich at Yosake.  I don't think I have ever turned down a gourmet burger when offered one either. I also have some client dinners coming up soon for work, and it's hard to turn away a free filet mignon. 

Back to birds...  In the first week I spent a bunch of mornings at neighbor's houses looking for Western Tanagers.  I know of at least 2 houses maybe three in Wilmington that are hosting Western Tanagers.  That being said I dipped every time the first week.  But the consolations were pretty good...

A brighter yellow Orange-crowned then the previously posted one.

Eastern Bluebird

American Goldfinch

Tufted Titmouse

Carolina Chickadee

Cape May Warbler

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Brown-headed Nuthatch

Downy Woodpecker

Red-winged Blackbird

Lots of good bokeh on this day.

Hmm, is it really winter?

A quick trip to Airlie Gardens one day yielded some new 5MR birds.

Northern Cardinal

Ruby-crowned Kinglet


White-throated Sparrow

Carolina Wren

My first thought on this was a Mottled Duck!  Are you kidding? I missed Mottled on my big year last year...  and this one was 50 yards from my house..... Further inspection revealed this was the love child of a Mottled and a Mallard.  The chest had too much rufous coloring and the throat was not totally free of streaks.  The tail had a little hint of lighter colored feathers.

White under wing was nice....

But way too thick of a white border in the speculum...  By the way, does anyone else think it's weird that speculum can be the feathers on a duck or the "medical tool used for inspecting body orifices"?

After checking this hybrid monster's speculum thoroughly with my speculum, I slowly walked home and lucked into a nice flock a stone's throw from my back yard in the land that is being cleared for a new house.

Dark-eyed Junco is actually a pretty decent bird here.

Brown Creepers are not easy to find in New Hanover county either.

Blue-headed Vireo

Black-and-white Warbler!

What a week to start the year and all within 5 miles of Casa Adams.  Half of this was achieved without any driving.

Happy New Year!