Sunday, March 19, 2023

Pender and Cumberland (13-19Mar2023)

March is always a little slow birding wise.  Most migrant breeders are not back yet with a few exceptions. I also have been participating in family stuff, so I didn't travel far afield this week.  I am sitting at the airport now on my way to London for work, so hopefully I can get out and post some European birds soon.

First some local birds...

Someone had posted some adorable Great Horned Owlet pics on Facebook and listed Trinity Landing which is a new community about 1-2 miles from my house.  So naturally I was intrigued and one day after work I went to check it out.  The community has a sign in front that says no trespassing but I thought it would be ok to drive in and just stay in my truck.  I drove all the way to the back of the community and quickly saw a nest up high over the boardwalk that leads into the marsh.  I didn't even have to get out of my truck!

 Great Horned Owl and chick.

Saturday after dropping my son off at his regatta at Wrightsville Beach, I drove up to Pender County and took a long walk in the Abbey Nature Preserve.  It was raining or misting pretty much the whole time so the bird opportunities were minimal.

A rather wet Blue Jay.

The trails wind through hard woods and a pond habitat with some small creeks.  I keep hoping a Louisiana  Waterthrush would come here during migration but so far no luck.

Pender County is actually pretty huge at 869 square miles which puts it at the 5th largest county in NC.  It's growing rapidly because of its proximity to my home county of New Hanover.  The population was recorded at about 60k people at the last census.

It includes the whole of Holly Shelter Gamelands which is where I usually get my warbler fix for some of the breeders in the area which pretty much shun almost all of New Hanover.  Birds like the Swainson's Warbler, Hooded Warbler and Worm-eating Warbler.  It's too early for them though.  Soon....

Later in the afternoon I went surfing which was fun and then went to pick up my son.  They were still racing so I watched them for the last couple races.  

There he is with his sailing partner giving me the peace symbol like a true player.

Sunday was the second day of racing for the regatta and his team (Junior Varsity) took first place!  

Common Loon - At the beach on Sunday I had some more common birds.


I headed to the Battleship to get my Northern Rough-winged Swallow which always shows up this time of year.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow 

The Rusty Blackbird flock is still hanging out but they will be moving north soon.

Finally I ended my weekend with a short trip to Lake Waccamaw in Columbus County. 

Columbus County is also huge at 937 square miles which brings it to the 3rd position on largest counties in NC.  However, despite the anger area it has less people than Pender county with around 50k people.  Lake Waccamaw State Park is one of my favorite state parks in NC and sits on one of the largest of the Bay Lakes which I wrote about on earlier posts.

The boardwalk down to the lake which always has some nice flocks of birds.

The pier is nice and long and gives you a great view over the huge lake.

A Yellow-throated Warbler was actively hunting for food in the crannies on the boardwalk but was silent and probably not on territory.

I had 10 or so Blue-gray Gnatties so they are coming in hot and heavy now.

Check this park out if you haven't yet! 

I probably will visit both of these close counties again soon, so will keep this short and sweet.

34 down, 66 to go!

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