Thursday, September 9, 2010

Blue Ridge Parkway, life bird #1447 and Brown Boobies update!

Last weekend I took the opportunity to visit Fancy Gap, Virginia and stay at a mountain house owned by legendary Carolina birder and naturalist, Will Cook.

While there weren't as many birds around as we might have hoped, the weather and views were gorgeous.
From the deck of Will's house I did manage to spot a couple Tennessee Warblers in a passing flock for life bird #1447! I also saw and photographed this Cape May Warbler.

It would have been a new bird for my North Carolina list had I been a few miles south. Instead it became bird #1 on my Virginia state list (which is now a whopping 18 species long)!

That was sarcasm in case you missed it. In Ecuador I couldn't make it to breakfast with seeing 18 species.

Anyway, here's a picture of a first fall female Cape May. Probably the best picture I got all weekend--ironically of a very drab bird. We also saw a nice-looking male Black-throated Blue Warbler at Will's.

After Will recovered from E. Coli poisoning contracted from all the old freezer meat we ate for dinner Saturday night we did make it down the Parkway into NC territory for a bit.

There didn't seem to be a whole lot of bird activity so we spent most of our time telling jokes to the bored hawk-watchers at Mahogany Rock.
We did get some good views of this great-looking male Hooded Warbler. It was also North Carolina bird #205 for me and I am now only 200 species away from overtaking Will in that category. The only other Warbler to add was a female American Redstart (yawn).

Despite the somewhat disappointing bird turnout it was a great trip. Thanks to Will for hosting and to Lisa for the great cooking that didn't even kill anyone!

Back in Durham I have yet to see much in the way of exciting migrants other than a Blue-headed Vireo and some Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in my backyard.

I did see one of the Red-shouldered Hawks this morning out by "Richardson Lake" along the Al Buehler Trail. A family has occupied this site for at least a couple years and it was good to see that they all hadn't been killed by stray golf balls.

As promised here's the big update on Brown Boobies.It still exists! Not only that, but it has just entered its third generation of leadership.

I have always said: "birdwatching is about the worst hobby a college student can have," (mostly in reference to the necessity of waking up early). On top of that, one would think that anyone clever enough to get into Brown and with a strong interest in birds would go to Cornell instead. Then again, when I was applying to Brown I didn't even like birds. And here I am.

Anyway, suffice to say I'm pretty thrilled that the club is still around. This also means there will be another order of for T-shirts made soon (see the logo above). These are super popular and always sell out so don't count on extras lying around to get at the last minute. Put your order in now!

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