During my son's soccer practice, I found a family of Barred Owls which cooperated for photos despite having low light.
Here is the two owlets which are almost adult sized now.
The one on the left was practicing his hunting skills, continuously scanning the creek bed and doing that cool head wagging thing that owls do.
At one point he dove down to the creek bed but came up empty taloned.
Mommy or Daddy.
Friday was the beginning of a long weekend in the mountains with family but of course I managed to get in a little birding. We stayed at a house in Wolf Laurel up North of Asheville near the TN border. Big Bald on the Appalachian Trail was only a mile away.
Chestnut-sided Warblers were the most common warbler.
This Broad-winged Hawk flew by on Saturday morning as I drank my morning coffee.
Indigo Buntings were also very common and singing like crazy.
On Saturday we hiked Big Bald as a family and ran into the Big Bald Banding group.
This TV flew by. We did not attempt to band it.
A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush.
This Chestnut-sided Warbler looks a little disheveled but I assure you it flew away after this photo and probably was back to singing minutes later.
My nephews and wife tackle Big Bald.
Unfortunately I did not get many birds and despite trying hard to locate some Saw-Whet Owls after dark, I dipped. However, the sunsets made it worth while.
Apparently the Eye of Sauron was not far from Big Bald. However, I stayed away from that evil place.
Sunday I took the family up the BRP to the Bull Creek and Tanbark areas to look for Cerulean Warblers but by the time we got there in the afternoon the birds were not signing and we could not locate them.
Scarlet Tanager at Tanbark Tunnel.
Up at Craggy Gardens I did manage to find this Canada Warbler.
More awesome sunset pictures taken on Sunday.
Finally on Monday morning I had an hour of birding outside the house before we headed back home.
I thought this flycatcher could have been an Alder or Willow but in the end I decided on Wood Pewee based on the very long wings. It never did vocalize. Photo is heavily cropped.
Hairy Woodpecker! A bird I had earlier in the year but never photographed.
Long bill and no black dots or barring on outer tail feathers.
Finally, I convinced my family to let me stop at Civitan Park in Winston Salem on the way home to get the Warbling Vireos hanging out there.
Heavily cropped and lightened picture of a Warbling Vireo with some weird stuff on this face and neck. Perhaps he has some mite infestation?
Although you would expect more from the mountains it was actually quite slow and I missed several species which I expected (Saw-whet, Crossbill, Grouse etc...). I will have to go back up by myself so I am not stressed out about pleasing my family and can bird early and late as necessary. Besides, I need to go get that Brown Booby up in Catawba county that was just reported. Too bad I did not know about that yesterday, I drove right by the exit on the 40.