Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Reconciliation (28Apr2015)

Sorry folks but this post is not to add any nice pictures or go over any adventures, it is simply to point out that I went through my prior posts and compared to my list in the margin of this web page and found some gaps.

Clapper Rail - somehow I never added this to the list.  I have taken several pictures of clappers on different occasions.  See post from 16Apr2015 for some of the better photos.

Carolina Wren - same story, I have multiple pictures and somehow left off the list.  See post from 20Apr2015 for a decent photo of a Carolina Wren.

Brown-headed Cowbird - not sure how I missed this one.  See post dated 25Apr2015 among others for a picture of this species.

I went through and compared my year list in eBird versus my photographed birds and found 24 species that I have seen or heard but have not yet photographed:
1. Eurasian Wigeon - distant views at Alligator NWR.
2. American Wigeon - I think I wanted to add this when I get Eurasian for comparison.
3. Green Heron - weird, I have seen a ton.  I can get this tomorrow if I wanted.
4. Black-crowned Night-heron - same, tons at Airlie.
5. King Rail - Seen at heard at Bodie Island.  I will go to Knott's Island for this species.
6. Lesser Yellowlegs - seen many but was wanting a nice photo next to Greater.
7. Purple Sandpiper - WTF! I should have taken a picture of one earlier, now will have to wait.
8. American Woodcock - I tried hard for this after the last ice storm, no luck. 
9. Eastern Screech Owl - many heard, just a matter of time for seen/photographed.
10. Northern Saw-whet Owl - I will go back to Devil's Courthouse again this Spring.
11. Hairy WP - seen some, but need a decent photo.
12. Merlin - will get this on spit at some point.
13. Peregrine - hoping to go back to Cape Lookout again this fall but probably will get somewhere before that.
14. Eastern Wood-pewee - already seen a few, need a decent picture that is not totally backlit.
15. Blue-headed Vireo - no problem.
16. Red-eyed Vireo - ditto.
17. Brown Creeper - will see one or two at some point.
18. Sedge Wren - Knott's Island were they breed.
19. Wood Thrush - Howell Woods or Governor's.
20. American Pipit - can't believe I don't have this one.
21. Louisiana Waterthrush - this weekend.
22. Black-throated Green - this weekend.
23. Seaside Sparrow - I have none of the marsh sparrows, so weird.  I will get these no problem at end of year.
24. Red-winged BB - some birds just don't beg to be photographed.  I will get a breeding one doing his posturing soon.

I am going to try and close the gap on these then continue on with new birds.


Sunday's Best was not very good and Monday was even worse (26-27Apr2015)

I am getting to the point in the year where adding species is getting tough and will require trips out of my county.

Sunday I did not have the luxury of going somewhere afar because my kids were running a 5K early which by the way my oldest got 2nd place for 14 and under and he is only 9!  The only kid that beat him was 12.

If you click on this link check out photo #14 or 19 of my son crossing with a UNCW college kid in a diaper.  This is the local paper.

Luke's time was 21 minutes and change.  Thats essentially a flat 7 minute mile for a 9 year old!

Back to the birds. Or mammals? And reptiles?

Sunday after the race I went to Poplar Grove Plantation.

This big old sow was nursing 15 piglets when I rolled up, and the piglets were huge!! Poor old sow.

One of the piglets, probably 30 pounds.

Purple Martin - I will get better pictures later of this species, but I do like to identify birds from silhouette sometimes.  There were probably close to a hundred various swallows flying the fields at the East side of the preserve.  Mostly Martins, Barn Swallows and Northern Rough-wing.

This guy had requisitioned a Bluebird nest box and was trying to sell me car insurance.

Can you see anything strange about this gorgeous live oak?

A Canada Goose nesting in the tree????  Nothing will ever make sense again.

I am having a really hard time getting a decent pic of a Red-shouldered Hawk this year.  Usually they are very photogenic.  So this photo will have to do for now.  I will post a better one later.

In the Spring even the Yellow-rumps are pretty.

My first American Restart of the year!

Monday evening I took a drive out on the spit to get away from work for a bit.

I checked all 100 or so Black-bellied Plover for a possible American Golden.  No such luck.

I did not mess with the color on these Dowitchers!  What amazing colors.  I did not bother trying to look for a Long-billed and despite the admonishments of some unnamed people I would wager they were all Short-billed.  Of course I obeyed the bird police and put in Dowitcher sp. in eBird.

Semi-palmated Sandpiper in center of frame - I think most of the peeps on the beach this particular day were Semi-palmated. I did see a few Least and maybe a couple Western but there were almost 100 Semi-Palmated if not more.  I put in less on eBird because I stopped counting after a while. Plenty of Dunlin and Semi-palmated Plover too.

Gull-billed Tern - my favorite of the "common" terns around here.

American Oystercatcher

I am drooling over the reports from the piedmont and mountains.  Provided I can wrap up a couple of deliverables (work and personal) by the end of this week, I am planning on going up to the mountains and camping/birding for a couple days.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Butterbutts and Green Swamp (24-25Apr2015)

Yesterday before work I went to Greenfield Lake looking for warblers.  It was really chilly but beautiful.  Try as I might, I only found Yellow-rumps.  There were some of the regulars around too.

Gray Catbird

American Bluebird

Saturday morning I headed out very early to meet up with Erla and some other birders from the triangle at Green Swamp in Brunswick county.

On the way there was some road kill with a nice group of Vultures.

Black Vulture

For those of you that have never been to Green Swamp, I think it is worth going even if not for the birds.  There is plant life there that I have not seen anywhere else.  Some of the areas look kind of surreal.  For example, there was one area today that was all Long Leaf Pines with nothing but ferns underneath.  So it looked as though the pines were floating in a sea of green.

However, the swamp is most famous for it's carnivorous plants.

Pitcher Plants were everywhere.  Bugs get caught in the funnel and are slowly eaten alive.

The flowers are like none I have seen elsewhere.

Is this a type of orchid?

I was quite impressed with several of the groups ear birding skills.  They pretty much called every bird we encountered before we saw them.

This Swanson's Warbler was singing loud and clear.

Worm-eating Warbler

This particular pitcher plant had just killed a small mammal and it's veins were coursing with the blood of it's prey..... maybe...

Starting at 10am we had a triple header for the boys soccer all the way through 4pm!!!  It was a long day.  In between one of the games Luke and I headed to Sutton Lake and found a couple birds.

Blue Grosbeak

Female Brown-headed Cowbird - despite the fact that it is a parasitic freeloader, I can still appreciate them.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Peri-work Birding Part II (23Apr2015)

Some more before and after work birding yesterday.  Before work was Airlie Gardens.  Such a beautiful place in the Spring.  They certainly spare no expense.

Unfortunately Airlie staff spent a good amount of time this year cutting down some of the old trees that had died.  Luckily they left this big one near the creek up.  A nesting pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers definitely appreciate it.

Kind of funny that they promote invasive species like the Mute Swan and do things to drive away the native species (driving around in loud ATVs all day, clearing thickets and cutting down dead trees used as nesting sites).  However they are still the most beautiful gardens around.

If you go early enough before they start driving those annoying ATVs, you will see tons of wildlife.  I rarely see such a large group of male Wood Ducks.  Maybe having a bachelor party.

What does the fox say?  "Stop driving your ATVs around my den."

These squirrels looked hung over.

Barred Owl

In the evening I went to try out a park that Sherry recommended - Smith's Creek Park.  A very nice park but again the biggest issue was ATVs.  The land adjacent to the park has some amazing successional habitat with a lot of Long Leaf Pine restoration going on.


First of the Season Blue Grosbeak.

The most confiding Great Crested Flycatcher ever.

Brown-headed Nuthatch

Great times.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Peri-work Birding (20-22Apr2015)

I have been trying to fit in work, birding and getting my garden in good shape not to mention giving my family some attention and it has been difficult.  Here are some photos from the past several days, mostly early in the morning or in the evening at fairly local spots.

Common Grackle at Greenfield Lake.

Great Crested Flycatcher - since then I have seen a bunch.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow - ever try and photograph a swallow on the fly?  Not easy.

Prothonotary Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler - love the colors here including the background.

Chimney Swift - A "cigar with wings".  I have never found a roost in Wilmington so this is as close I get to them.  I think Bruce has some in his chimney, so I may ask to come over at dusk and check it out.

I know it is hard to see what is going on here so let me explain.  There was two giant Snapping Turtles getting it on (I can only assume that is what they were doing) while an Alligator watched.  Very strange.  The snapping turtles were huge so I don't think the Alligator was looking at them as prey. Maybe he was just bored and watching other species procreate is like TV for reptiles?

Cedar Waxwings - hundreds of them.

Brown Thrasher

Yellow-rumped Warbler in breeding plumage. Lots of singing going on too.

Anyone good with Butterflies?

This Ovenbird was in the usual spot on Governor's Rd.

I really need to make a trip to the mountains to pick up some new species.