Garbled Modwit and friends on Ft Fisher Spit
Yellow Warblers are coming through. This one was at Lock and Dam. Once again no shorebirds at Oakland Sod Farms. I always dip there.
I believe this is a Great Blue Skimmer female. Wow, dragonfly ID is not easy or at least I don't know where to start. That being said, birding was like this when I first started. So humbling.
I believe this is a Twelve Spotted Skimmer female. The male would have white spots in addition to black on wings.
Last weekend I joined a bunch of friends to Ophelia Inlet and nearby flats to look for rare shorebirds. When the boat captain dropped us off at the South end of Ophelia Inlet, I immediately found a Long-billed Curlew. Probably the same one from March of this year.
Beautiful colors on this bird. He/she seems to be molting quite heavily.
We saw hundreds of thousands of shorebirds and I should have taken a couple landscape pictures to give you an idea for the shear numbers....but I didn't.
American Avocets - Ophelia Inlet
We re-found the curlew later on a different island.
Laughing Gulls are starting to look snazzy
The middle of the week work was driving me insane as I have been covering for a bunch of people on vacation and we had some turn over which always makes my job stressful so once I was caught up on emails and had a gap in my TC schedule, I decided to head up to Mattamuskeet and try for some Ricky Birds. For those of you uninitiated, Ricky Birds are rare birds that a local North Carolina birder with the first name of Ricky has found. Ricky found a Wilson's Phalarope, Baird's Sandpiper and an American Golden Plover last weekend at Lake Landing on the Eastern side of Mattamuskeet. I need all three for my year list and Wilson's Phalarope would be a NC bird for me so it was a no brainer. I looked through a mess load of shorebirds for over 2 hours and wasn't finding any of my three targets, but persistence pays and I finally found the Wilson's Phalarope way out in the middle of the impoundment.
This is what it looked like through my 400mm lens so this can give you an idea of how far these birds were. A scope was essential. Unfortunately my digi-scoping set up is terrible and usually cropped photos through my 400mm end up better. The Phalarope was easily IDed by behavior alone. It was feeding in a puddle like a lunatic, turning in circles and moving around much more actively than the nearby yellowlegs and other shorebirds.
Heavily cropped image showing Wilson's Phalarope in the center of the frame. I know this photo is crap and I probably should not count this on my photographed list but I make the rules and I want to include it. Don't worry I am not breaking any records this year anyhow. You can see here the white face, gray back and size relative to the Black-bellied Plover on the right and Semi-palmated Plover in the foreground. I was struck on it's size which is significantly bigger than the Red-necked Phalaropes I saw last weekend on the pelagic. I need to get me a video camera with a good zoom for birds like this where behavior is so diagnostic.
Palamedes on left and Viceroy on right.
WTF? Weird looking egret. Legs are neither black or yellow and lores are not convincing either.
Presumed Orange Sulphur
The above butterflies distracted enough that I stayed long enough to find target #2 - American Golden Plover.
American Golden on left and Black-bellied on right. Best field mark is how far the black extends. On American Golden it goes all the way to vent.
Shun called me Thursday letting me know he found a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Rich Inlet on the North side of Figure Eight Island. Luckily he was willing to bring me on Friday after work.
In the end we did not find the Buff-breasted but this Snowy Plover was a nice consolation.
Nice comparison between a Piping Plover on left and Snowy Plover on right. Leg color and bill structure are the best field marks.
I have George this weekend while Luke and mom are at a soccer tourney in SC so I probably will not get out birding much. I am hoping for another mountains trip next weekend.