Friday, February 18, 2011

Recent winter birding in NC

Unfortunately this post is full of misses...
I went on a day trip down to the Pocosin Lakes region with NicNats and struck out on all my targets: we couldn’t find the Snow Goose flock to look for Ross’, I couldn’t convince Will to take us on a detour to Alligator River to look for a Swainson’s Hawk, and all the wigeon I saw were stubbornly domestic.
We found a flock of about 50 rather tame White Ibises in a random yard.
Interesting all here were adults. Later at Mattamuskeet all we found were immatures in the ditches. There seemed to be some interesting age segregation patterns occurring.
Consolation prizes were a Horned Lark and a Short-eared Owl (both new NC birds for me).

I continued my dipping streak on a trip last weekend down to Charlotte in search of Rough-legged Hawks at the airport with Mark Kosiewski, Robert Meehan and Matt Daw.
I don’t know what kind of plane that is but it certainly isn’t the hawk we were after.
We went after Ross’ Goose, but despite being at the perfect spot, came up empty.
Consolation prizes were Horned Lark and a Great Horned Owl (sound familiar?)
Added insult to injury (or illness to insult?) I began developing cold symptoms and was completely unconscious for most of the driving. Meanwhile Matt got himself about 300 county ticks by making us twitch house sparrows in Home Depot parking lots after crossing each county border.
To break my streak of missed lifers I ventured out and saw what was probably my easiest remaining in-state opportunity.
Life bird # 1554: White-crowned Sparrow. (1552 and 1553 came from taxonomic splits of Winter and Eurasian Wrens and a couple South American Trogons).
I should add a fair few species to my list this weekend on the Hatteras pelagic trip. I hope the weather cooperates!