Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Highlights

Personally, 2015 looks like a promising year for birding so far. I have already had a sweet slice of birds for NC this month:

  1. Lapland Longspur & Snow Buntings- Not only did I see a LALO, but a LALO hanging out with four Snow Buntings in North Carolina. Quick, pinch me. I think I'm dreaming. Oh wait, I'm not because I got a photo.
     For one of the most numerous North American birds, this species is a rare winter visitor to NC. Only seen in their basic plumage in NC, they breed in the high arctic tundra then winter in the central US with a few that stray into the Southeast. Most birders in NC most often see them in plowed fields on the coastal plain, dunes and beaches or the Charlotte Motor Speedway has been a reliable spot with its extensive shortgrass.
  2. Yellow-crowned Night Heron- This guy was the best. He was out in open feeding!
  3. Saw-Whet Owl- Yep, I saw whet
  4. Lesser Black-backed Gull- Saw a lot at Cape Hatteras. I love theses gulls because of their interesting increased presence in North America. 20-30 years ago these guys were considered a very rare winter visitor, but now are regular winter residents in Eastern North America. They are common at Cape Hatteras in the winter and rare, but found annually inland in NC. 
  5. Short-eared Owl- Got a decent view through a scope as it sat out in a field at Alligator River NWR.
  6. Snow Goose- A great Wake county bird because they are rare for the piedmont.
  7. Surf Scoter- Had an excellent view of a few that flew past Oregon inlet. 
  8. Virginia Rail-Best view of a rail I have ever had! They hardly took notice of me and other birders watching them from a boardwalk at Bodie Island feeding about ten feet from us.
  9. Orange-crowned Warbler- An uncommon warbler for NC, mostly found at the coast, but I got a great opportunity to see one in the Piedmont for a nice Wake county lifer.
  10. Common Merganser- Felt good to find one on my own in the piedmont. Spotted a female in a huge flock of Double-crested Cormorants at Jordan Lake.

Current Species Tally: 136 with my last bird a, . . . drum roll please . . . Chipping Sparrow.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The 26 Fun and Then Woeful Birds of 2014

The Fun Birds this Year and Why
1. Gregory(GREG for short)-I can always count on you to be there no matter the birding debacle. I had no rEgrets.

2. Whimbrel- Closest I could get to a Long-billed Curlew.

3. Orange-crowned Warbler-Do you EVEN have any Orange? You wouldn't be on here if you weren't hard to find in the East.
4.Harlequin Duck- THANK YOU for spending your winter in NC. Prettiest duck I've ever seen.
5. PUSA!-Cool Bird and fun to shout.

6. American Woodcock- Timberdoodling is a fun word and your courtship displays are spectacular.
7. Rufous Hummingbird- Awesome Wake County Bird
8. Western Kingbird- Felt good to just nail this vagrant for the East Coast
My reaction.

9. Swainson's Warbler- Felt good to get a photo of one of the least observed North American birds.

10. Kentucky Warbler- Has side burns like the ones I grow sometimes.

11. Red-necked Grebe- A nice break from Horned Grebes and a great winter for them
12. Band-tailed Pigeon- Fun rarity for NC.

13. Swainson's Thrush- Cool bird and even cooler to see in local park.
14. Veery- Heard a the whole landscape irrupt with their beautiful song.
15. Virginia Rail- If Marsh Pigs are a thing, it would this bird.
16. Swallow-tailed Kite-Surprise fly over driving in SC
I made this one.

17. Black-throated Green Warbler- Wake County lifer!
18. Chestnut-sided Warbler- Saw in the Smokies and Wake County.
19. Least Flycatcher- another empid other than Acadian is always fun. Especially when it gives its ID away with a "Che-bek!".
20. Philadelphia Vireo-Awesome views in Wake county. Lifer.
21. Clay-colored Sparrow-Awesome views and got photos.

22. Common Merganser-Good Wake County bird.
23. Terns- Fun to see 6 species: Least, Gull-billed, Royal, Caspian, Sandwich, and Forster's in ONE day at Huntington Beach State Park, Georgetown County, SC.
Least Tern

Caspian Tern

Royal Tern

Sandwich Tern

24. Least Bittern- did not think I would be able to find one.

25. Blue-headed Vireo- All over 'em Smoky mountains. A nice "write in" for the big day during January in SC.
Not my photo.
26. Orchard Oriole- Trying to catch this bird at Prairie Ridge was quite a challenge because he never wanted to fly anywhere close to a mist net. However, it paided off.

The Woeful-"Y'all need to show yo self!"

  1. Canada Warbler- Missed in the mountains of NC
  2. Red-breasted Grosebeak
  3. Any Pelagic Birds- wished to have seen a Jaeger from shore, a Hurricane, or more time to go on a Pelagic.
  4. Willow Flycatcher
  5. Bachman's Sparrow
  6. Iceland/Glacous Gull
  7. Reddish Egret
  8. The CUSA that never was. It is a hard one to talk about.
  9. Bufflehead and Red-cockaded -Why did you disappear on my January Big Day in SC?
  10. I think Black Rails have already gone extinct.