Tuesday, October 10, 2017

North Carolina Wildlife

     Tim and I had a wonderful trip down to North Carolina, primarily to visit family. We had a lovely time with Tim's and my family, meeting some of our youngest family members for the first time.
     In our free time, we went for a walk, napped, and went for more walks. I also got an amazing pedicure with my mother and sister-in-law-- I am a sucker for a leg and foot massage, so I'll admit-- it was really awesome.
     Anyway- on the wildlife front, not too many new birds for the year list, but a nice one was an Eastern Bluebird. But I also got to see some other wildlife, which was a nice treat and one of the best critters was right in my mother-in-law's yard!
A common buckeye in the flowers growing along the pond in the yard.

I was standing under a tree and looked at the branch next to me a found this!

A smooth green snake!
What a cutie!!!

I see you!

This was a really fun treat- I LOVE snakes!

1 of 2 muscovy ducks at Falls Lake Recreation area.

2 of 2 muscovy ducks... these are a domestic duck that was not uncommon at all.

Went for a walk at Lynn Lake and saw a good number of birds, including but not limited to some killdeer.

Lots of turtles, including this painted turtle, some cooter species, and the invasive red eared sliders.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

East Pond Adventures

     I made a call on Facebook for anyone to join me on birding the East Pond at Jamaica Bay WR and got one bite from a member of the Feminist Bird Club. We met early and donned our boots for a mucky morning on the pond. We both got looks at a few good birds- many that confused us because, shore birds- they are tough.
     Also, ducks are back. Which means only one thing...

     So I had to jog my memory on what the heck I was looking at, Gadwall, Blue & Green-wing Teals, American Wigeon, Ruddy ducks, all among hundreds of Northern Shoveler.
    Anyway, there were still enough shorebirds around to give me a headache...
Phoebes (like the one above), cedar waxwings, and a solitary blue-headed vireo (see what I did there?) were some of my parking lot birds.

At the East Pond, we were immediately greeted by one of MANY Northern shovelers.

Birds that drove me nuts.
Back droopy-billed bird, is a dunlin, 3 middle birds are white-rumped sandpipers, bird in front of middle white-rump is a semi-palmated sandpiper and the back to us, a pectoral sandpiper. Oy.

White-rumped Sandpiper


White-rumped Sandpiper

Green-winged teal.

Pectoral Sandpiper.

A lot of common yellowthroat out there!

Also a lot of palm warbler. A chain-link palm is probably one of the best looks I have gotten at a palm this fall...

Urban palm warbler.

A single semipalmated plover.

A good day for swamp sparrows!

Also a good day to see the continuing American Avocet at the pond- more north on the pond.

That bill seems so unreal-- like how does it not break?!

A few Forster's terns out actively hunting.

One last white-rumped sandpiper for the road.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Terns near the Saltmarsh

     I went into work late yesterday (and doing so again today- due to later events) and went to Plumb Beach in hopes of seeing the royal terns. They are so large and beautiful- I really think I am a fan of larger birds. I saw low tide was early- it just panned out perfectly.
     The air was thick- the humidity was relentless. Even with an overcast sky, it still felt so sticky and unpleasant. But, the views were anything but...
There is always a mockingbird at Plumb ready to give you "the eye."

Not much action in the marsh- but out on the sandbars, while stationary for some time, I counted 21 royal terns.

These birds are no stranger to the area- although they come up as rare- they do breed in the North East and spend the summer in other parts. But during migration it is not completely rare to see them gathering up together on the mud flats at low tide on Plumb Beach.

Larger than your common or Forster's tern- these guys are pretty unmistakable with that heavy orange bill- large, but slender body and that shaggy crest.

I noticed slight differences in bill coloration- I am thinking this is seasonal as we transition into winter plumage and out of breeding.

One of these terns sticks out a bit, right? Yellow legs marks an immature bird. With age they will turn black.

Very cool to see these guys. Already feeling pretty satisfied.

Speaking of satisfying- I bet that gull is having a really yummy meal-- no one is harassing it, just crackin' open a clam and chowin' down.

Oh, why hello there, Saltmarsh Sparrow! This was a nice sight- but a quick one.

Watched some of the egrets fly in/out of the salt marsh- maybe hoping to spot one last clapper rail before they are completely out.

To think, these were nearly hunted to extinction, snowy egrets-- just so people can wear their feathers on their hats. This is why we can't have nice things.

Saw 2 very gorgeous savannah sparrows- nice and yellow!

Saw a second saltmarsh sparrow-- but this 3rd one-- ultra cooperative in not just popping up and popping right back down again.

AND, extra bonus-- right in the open!

Overcast skies- flitty little bird- this is called "keep as still as you can in low light with your 300lb camera and no pod and jack up the zoom as much as you can." 
Literally, birding was the best part of my day. Glad I went out!