Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A couple more for March (28-29Mar2016)

Well apparently I had a couple more birds to add for March.  The weather has been so amazing I just had to get out before work on Monday-Tuesday.

Rusty Blackbirds still abound at the Battleship.  I was hoping for a better Sora picture but no luck there.

Northern Rough-winged Swallows were actively gathering bedding for the nests in the side of the Battleship.

Red-headed Woodpeckers are a bird that should never be taken for granted.

Even Red-winged Blackbirds are pretty nice birds if you stop to smell the roses.

At Sutton Lake the habitat is being destroyed by the Coal Ash removal operations let alone the pollution itself.  However, the Vesper Sparrow are still hanging out.

Vesper Sparrow - eye-ring is kind of weak on this one but white-edged tail and framed auriculars looked good for Vesper.  I had one with a striking eye-ring but my camera focus was acting up on me.

Common Yellowthroat

Barn Swallow - Ok lame photo but I didn't want to wait on a better one.

Cooper's Hawk - look at those undertail coverts!  Poofy.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Back at the beach the winter birds were changing into snazzy breeding plumages.

Common Loon

Normal looking Red-throated Loon

Beefy Red-throated Loon - this guy/girl was so big and beefy that I thought for a minute I had something more interesting.

Least Terns are back!  The folks who set up the breeding area on the South End seem to be late.  No signed of the roped in area yet.

Horned Grebe

Osprey at Airlie


Ok now off to San Diego, wish me luck.  I am going to get on a 3 hour Whale-watch tour in the hopes of getting some Murrelets but not expecting much as it will be afternoon and not peak season.  The rest of the time will probably be eaten by work.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Working hard for Some Easy Birds (24-27Mar2016)

It's getting harder to find some new birds for the year but I have the advantage of knowing when and where they will show up.  For example, I thought to myself earlier this week "hmmm, I bet there will be a Spotted Sandpiper at CB State Park".  This was based on previous years experience.

Spotted Sandpiper going cuckoo and doing his typical bobbing dance.

Still a couple spots on this one.

I have been seeking a better picture of the resident Lark Sparrow(s) at WB for my Life List blog (Photographicbirdlistomania.blogspot.com).  Sam C's ears helped me to zone in on this singing bird.

Lark Sparrow

This shot will do.

At Airlie the typical warblers were ravenous again and the Parulas were singing.

Northern Parula

Sunday I was back to the Battleship to try and get a peep of the Sora I have been hearing.

Rusty Blackbirds are still hanging and some are still a little rusty.

This Clapper might have a little King in him.  Possible Cling Rail?

Finally I caught sight of the Sora but he/she did not want to cooperate for a decent pic.  So I am using this diagnostic crappy one.


It was raining all day but I didn't let that stop me so I headed to Lee Buck Rd.

White-eyed Vireos were singing away.  A nice raspy song.

Another bird I have no trouble hearing when they are relatively close - Yellow-throated Warbler.

I checked for some of the breeders like Worm-eating Warbler, Wood Thrush, Prothonotary Warbler and Summer Tanager but they were not in yet and unfortunately Trask has completely razed much of the habitat.

In Southport I visited some of the usual spots including the little pond on Fish Factory.

Common Gallinule

I was looking for a Little Blue Heron but I will take an early Green Heron.

Wood Duck.

That might be it for March....  However April will be good. And May?  My head is spinning just thinking about it.  I have visions of Blue Ridge Mountains, proper gulf stream Pelagics and forests filled with Wood Warblers.  I am going to need a defibrillator.

Not to mention I am heading to San Diego this week for work.  Might get a couple hours of birding here and there.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spring Fling (22-24Mar2016)

Right about now I am liking global warming.  We have had the most pleasant couple of days here with sunny skies and temps in the 70s.  Needless to say I have made every effort to get out before and after work for some birding.

Down at Fort Fisher rocks and Spit I had some early migrants/breeders.

Nice comparison between Royal (left) and Caspian Tern (right).

Wilson's Plover


Black-bellied Plover


This morning I went to the Battleship at the crack of dawn to try and sort through some rails.  However, they were not very cooperative.

I am fairly certain this one was a Clapper.  It doesn't really have any King in it that I can see. With King I would expect more red color, darker and more contrasting flanks and streaking on the top and buffier face.

I never had an unobstructed view this morning.

I took a bunch of Common Grackle pictures but deleted them as the light was horrible, and I thought I had better ones taken later in the morning but now that I am looking at the pictures, it looks like the later ones were actually Rusty Blackbirds.  I never thought I would have this problem of having a hard time getting Common Grackle photos and already having banked the Rusty BB photos long ago.  I will make a point of getting a decent Common Grackle photo tomorrow.

Rusty Blackbird male in breeding plumage.

Another first of the year bird was the Northern Rough-winged Swallow.  There were tons feeding the field next to the Battleship and I even noticed a bunch going into holes in the side of the Battleship.  They must be nesting inside the ship.

Ever try photographing a feeding swallow?  Not easy.

Swallow with a Battleship backdrop.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow.

I can't wait for the flood of migrants that are almost here....