Sunday, October 25, 2015

Frankling in Ocean Isle (25Oct2015)

Ever been Frankling before?  Apparently the plan all along was to look for Franklin's Gulls when Sam C asked if I wanted to go down to Ocean Isle and Sunset Beach, NC.  So when he found one in his scope sitting across the Shalotte Inlet and let me take a look, it took a while for me to register what I was looking at.  After he asked me if one of the gulls looked different, I noticed the slightly smaller gull with neat partial hood and nice white eye arcs.  It was a Franklin's Gull! Franklin's are primarily a gull of the midwest

Dawn the Rosy Fingered.

Spoiler Alert! All the photos suck due to distance and early morning light.

This photo shows the smaller Franklin's on the left compared to Laughing Gull on the right.  Even the legs are shorter.  The partial hood was sharply delineated on the nape as opposed to the gradual hood that some of the immature Laughing Gulls were sporting.

This digiscoped image you can see the Franklin's behind the Black Skimmer.

The bill was daintier than the Laughing Gull bill and the forehead more sloped.  The prominent white eye arcs showed much nicer in the scope.  I think this was an adult bird.

A bit later I found what I thought was a first year Franklin's.

Possible Franklin's being chased by a Herring Gull.

Nice pronounced eye arcs, tail band does not extend to side of tail, white underwing with dark tips more confined than on the Laughing Gulls.

Then we re-found the adult and I tried using my camera on the tripod but these heavily cropped pics were not much better than my iPhone digiscoped pics.

Franklin's behind the Laughing and in amongst the Black Skimmers.

We made a valiant effort to look for Reddish Egrets but we did not want to anger the bird gods so we pretended to be happy with one new bird.

This Cuckoo was obviously a hybrid.  The top half of his bill was black and bottom half yellow.  Just kidding, its a Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

Seaside Sparrows are a slovenly species.

Common Yellowthroats are not slovenly.

Marsh Wren

Not a bad day!  Maybe next week I will try Shackleford Banks for Reddish Egret.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

ARGGHHHHHH!!!! (18-22Oct2015)

I have been struggling today with a faulty SD card that has lost all my photos from the past week including amazing photos of a male Wilson's Warbler and a nice Sedge Wren among others.  I tried downloading several recovery programs and none of them were pulling up the files from the past week, they were all files I had deleted from months ago.  Finally I found one program that worked like a charm!  The only problem is they don't tell you that after you preview and see your files are in fact obtainable, you have to pay 100 bucks to actually get access to them.  Was I about to pay that for a Wilson's and a Sedge?  Hell no..  I already had them burned in my brain and so I took the cheap way out.  I took iPhone photos of the image previews in the recovery program.  Totally crappy images as you can imagine, but good enough to add the birds to my list.

The Sedge Wren was from yesterday at Ft. Fisher.  I had excellent photos that if cropped and edited a bit would have been the best pics I have of that species.  Oh well, I have to settle for this "preview" thumbnail from the software.

Zooming in on the Mac screen just pixelated the images really badly.

In the past several days I have had 2 Wilson's Warblers in two different counties.  The following male Wilson's is from Carteret County at Fort Macon.  The light reflected off his cap and made it look like he was covered in oil.  I assure you I have not resorted to painting my Yellow Warblers to look like a Wilson's.  Chandra's pics on Carolinabirds looks similar.  In fact it is the same bird photographed several days apart.  Maybe it is still there.

I also had a beautiful female or immature male Wilson's the other day at Fort Fisher.  Maybe Wilson's Warblers like to hang out at Forts.

From now on I will try to download my images daily to avert SD card malfunctions.

My Dad's blog has an interesting post on the evolution of hummingbirds.  Apparently their closest living relative is the Cuckoo!

Check it out here:

I reformatted the SD Card and it appears to be working but I am a little weary.  Maybe I should just buy a new one.  Anyone ever have this issue?


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sparrows and other birds (13-16Oct2015)

Work has kept me tied down but Wilmington has been good in the mornings anyhow.

Bald Eagles are migrating and showing up in places not usually seen.  This is the old bunker at Ft. Fisher.

Peregrines are having a banner year and terrorizing all the shorebirds.

Classic Lesser Black-backed Gull with some Herring Gulls.

The bird on the left was interesting.  It looked way smaller than the immature Black-backed on the right, and the bill was so pale and eye so dark.

The red and black on bill was interesting but various stages of Great Black-backed have black or red on bill so why not both when in intermediate plumage.

All alone with nothing to compare size, it looks like a Great Black-backed.  Pale pink legs, fairly clean white head and very dark back.

I was looking for a "string of pearls" but this was clearly not a Slaty Back.

So it's a Great Black-backed in some intermediate plumage was the consensus.

Red-headed WP

I thought Bay-breasted Warbler when I saw this, but if you look closely, it has yellow feet.

Blackpoll it is.

Drab first year Baltimore Oriole.

Painted Bunting - shouldn't you be gone?

I think you know what this is.

Cape May Warbler

A not-so Bald Eagle

I have been diligently checking the athletic fields at the Air Force base because of the flooded fields, but still nothing really good.

Wilson's Snipe in back.

Masters of disguise.

Using a leaf to hide behind but I was onto him.

Black-throated Blue Warbler female

This brain bird had me for a bit, but I think it was an immature or female Blue Grosbeak.

Swamp Sparrows are back.

This accipiter tricked me with it's pointy wings.  I initially thought Merlin but when I lightened the photo I saw it was a Cooper's/Sharpie.

I am going with Sharpie.

Red-eyed Vireo

Severely cropped Red Knot # LY9.  I will have to see where he has been. If you have never submitted tagged birds, try it.  They will tell you were the bird was banded and where it has been seen before.

You may ask how someone in Wilmington does not yet have Saltmarsh and Nelson's Sparrows for the year?  Well I don't know.  I just have not tried for them until now.  They are back from up north and in strong numbers.

I believe this one is a Nelson's but I could be wrong.

My favorite field mark is the difference in coloring between the bird's malar (mustache) and breast.  If they are pretty similar it is probably a Nelson's.  However, darkness of striping is also good.  This bird seems to have a grayer striping.

Yellow Rail!! Just kidding I think it's a Nelson's with no tail.  Molting or maybe just had an accident. Look at how bright the breast is.

Same bird.

Saltmarsh Sparrow - Malar much more colorful than breast and stripes are more crisp than the blurry streaks of Nelson's.

Until next time my salty friends.

There is a hummingbird in the neighborhood that could be a possible immature Black-chinned Hummingbird.

First a Ruby-throated to show you the differences.  Main difference is the wing tips versus the tail length. On a RT Hummer the tail is longer. Also note the solid green crown.

Possible Black-chinned - the wing tips about the same length, and the crown with quite a bit of gray tones.

Wing tips kind of blunt looking.

However, I am not liking the bill length so unless some expert calls this bird a Black-chinned, it's staying off my list.

I sat outside my house to try some of my birds.

I have 4-5 birds but I don't think any of them are anything but a Ruby-throat.

Tomorrow I am going to a vagrant magnet for one more shot at a big migration event.  Wish me luck.