|Black and White Warbler by Jeff Lewis.|
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Friday, July 18, 2014
|Juvenile Cooper's Hawk by Kent Fiala|
Monday, July 14, 2014
Hummingbird activity has really picked up at my feeders the last couple of weeks. I expect it to continue to build through August as migrating birds pass through and local birds continue to tank up for their migration journey.
As this activity increases be on the lookout for adult male rufous hummingbirds. Occasionally the males of this species enter our area during mid-summer and spend a day or two at a feeder. They will be easy to recognize by their orangey-red plumage. They should also have a shiny reddish-orange throat. Don't expect them, but with birds always be ready to expect the unexpected. Below are some photos of rufous hummingbirds exhibiting the rufous plumage.
|Rufous hummingbird by Jo O'Keefe|
|Immature male rufous hummingbird by Fran Thomas|
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
There may be some subtle changes in the movements and make-up of some our local avian birdlife as we enter into July and August. While true migration may be a month and a half away, some birds that we do not see regularly will be moving into our area. These birds are not really migrating but are dispersing into the piedmont.
Dispersal species are primarily those that nest to our south and east, primarily in coastal areas. Most are wetlands nesters. As some wetlands tend to dry out or at least experience a reduction in moisture in mid-summer, birds such as herons, egrets, and some waterfowl start moving around. Most of the time the birds that we see in our area are immature birds that are wandering after having fledges.
Recently three black-bellied whistling ducks appeared at a residential pond in Indian Trail in Union County. This species nests in Florida and up into the South Carolina low country. It is a rapidly expanding species and sighting from North Carolina and other states are increasing accordingly. The Indian Trail birds represent the first piedmont record. A few area birders got to see them but true to form for wandering birds, they did not stay around more than a couple of days.
A more common example of summer dispersal is the movement of large waders like herons and egrets into the area. Birders will start to see an increase in some birds like great egrets, little blue herons, snowy egrets, white ibis and perhaps even wood storks. Keep your eyes peeled for these white birds at the edges of ponds and area lakes.
Some southern raptors disperse northward too. Swallow-tailed kites come into the piedmont in small numbers each year from their nesting territories farther to our south. Don’t count on seeing one; I’ve not seen the species in Mecklenburg County ever, but I keep an eye to the sky this time of year nevertheless.
So if you start to see some odd waders that have not previously been present take a photo and send it to me. I am particularly interested in the white plumaged ones, or species other than the common great blue herons.
|Little blue heron juvenile by Phil Fowler|
Saturday, July 5, 2014
I know many from the piedmont vacation at the coast, and I am no exception. I headed down to Ocean Isle Beach Thursday night in hopes of finding some Hurricane Arthur storm-driven birds from shore. Hurricanes and Tropical storms are well known for their abilities to pick up ocean birds and bring them close to shore or even inland. Alas, the storm was not a big bird producer, passing too far east of the Brunswick County area.
I did check the east end of Ocean Isle Beach, specifically the inlet area. Unfortunately it looked like the surf had overwashed much of the fenced off bird-nesting area. But soon I was able to find two very young Wilson's plover chicks and some juvenile least terns being fed glass minnows by their parents.
If you are down that way, check it out. But please be sure to observe the boundaries provided by the protective fencing.
Monday, June 30, 2014
A pair of one of the rarest breeding birds in Mecklenburg County has put in an appearance in south Charlotte and it looks like they may be planning to stay. Mississippi kites have been seen regularly over the neighborhoods off Alexander Road, just off Providence Road. It would be great to document nesting from this pair.
Look at the photos here and see if these birds look like anything you are seeing in your area. Even if you do not live in the vicinity where the birds are being seen, you might have some near you too. There have been a few scattered reports of single Mississippi kites too.
Kites arrived in Mecklenburg County in 2009 and successfully nested, but disappeared after two years. Occasional reports came from the site where they are currently but with no consistency. They are great birds to see in the area. Let me know if you see them at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
In a victory for bird conservation, today the wood stork was downgraded from Federally Endangered to Threatened. Once on the way to possible extinction, the wood stork, a characteristic large wader of the southeast has made a remarkable comeback in the past three decades thanks to effective conservation..
Once only able to be seen in southern Florida, the majestic birds have since established healthy rookeries in Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, and most recently southeastern North Carolina. If you are in the Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, or Holden Beach areas, keep an eye out for these big birds.
|Wood Stork by Taylor Piephoff|