The Bucket List Bird, by Angie DeLozier, Wake Audubon Secretary.
My husband and I just came back from a 3-week trip through the northwest, which was a lifetime goal for him. As birdwatchers, we were filled with hopes of seeing some of the many pacific birds missing in our life list. I will not describe most of the regular birds we saw since we learned quickly that riding the Amtrak from Chicago, IL to Portland, OR and from Sacramento, CA to Chicago, was not an ideal way to bird watch. We did get to see some Pronghorn Antelopes, Red Tailed Hawks, Common Crows and many ULB’s (Unidentified Little Bird). All this looking out the windows of our sleeper car at 80/90 miles an hour.
The birding fun began at our stay in Glacier National Park with the presence of 3 Black Billed Magpies that were common daily, in front of the lodge. White Crowned Sparrows were seed picking the lengthy flowerbed from the lodge to the train station. Cedar Waxwings were plentiful in the area and seeing several Cassin’s Finch was a first for us. Then the Grey Jays and Colombian Squirrels appeared on our drive through the Road To The Sun. Now that is the 2nd most spectacular scenic road we’ve ever driven. Waterfalls galore in sizes, shapes and force. The few remaining Glaciers, the peaks and depths are breathtaking plus add the wildflowers! At Lake McDonald we took the boat tour and saw a pair of Bufflehead Ducks and some Tree Swallows. Sitting to rest on the porch of its lodge we saw our first Red-naped Sapsucker and his tree hole. While visiting the Logan’s Pass Visitor Center we also saw two Mountain Goats and a doe which standing about 10 feet from my husband decided to urinate (See picture).
We saw the Black Terns for the first time too.
At Crater Lake we admired Red Mantled Squirrels, Clarks Nutcrackers, Mountain Bluebirds, Mountain Chickadees, Oregon Juncos, Pine Siskins, Pine Warblers, Brown Creeper, Red Breasted Nuthatches, Townsend’s Solitaire and our first Bushtit happened at the Pinnacles trail. Seeing Western Tanagers at the Wildflower Garden was a delight again. Stellar Jays were common.
While driving the CA coast highway, we got our Western Gulls. Saw bulls/females seals sunning. A magnificent “Unknown” Red Sea Star on a pier support (See picture). Wild turkeys, Tricolored Blackbirds, Osprey, Glossy Ibis, hundreds of Cowbirds (with cow herd), Killdeers, and Marbled Godwits. We will not forget the sight in Clear Lake of hundreds of Western Grebes with their chicks (see picture). And last but not least, we spotted two Chestnut Backed Chickadees, which my husband had wanted to add to his list before we left Raleigh, NC. And to top that, our first California Towhee, with a large whitish moth/butterfly in his beak, paraded in front of our car and from side to side in the bushes for about 10 mins.
Wake Audubon has partnered with one of our sponsor’s, EcoQuest Travel, to offer a 12-day birding/natural history excursion to the Dominican Republic. The dates for the trip are: January 14-25, 2011. The cost of the trip is ~$3,700, which includes airfare and all other major expenses (e.g. food and lodging, but not alcohol). The trip is designed to see 31 of the 32 bird species endemic to the island of Hispaniola (we won’t be able to get the one in Haiti). Also included is some boat time in lovely Caribbean waters to observe Humpback whales, which breed in the area. We are currently accepting registrations and deposits. For a full itinerary or more information, please contact Dave Davenport at [email protected] or John Gerwin, at [email protected] .
Last year Wake Audubon and the Museum led a trip to the Outer Banks that included an evening tour via boat to the Mann’s Harbor Bridge to watch the Purple Martins come in to roost, and it was a blast!! Over 100,000 birds flying in is quite spectacular. The folks at Coastal Carolina Purple Martin Society are offering this trip again July 24 and 31st.
The trip is an evening cruise out of Manteo over to the bridge and back. Besides birds there is a chance you will get a pretty sunset! You must reserve your spot in advance. Details below:
Saturday, July 24 (reserve by July 21)
Saturday, July 31 (reserve by July 28)
Join a guided sunset tour to the breathtaking Manns Harbor purple martin roost aboard the Crystal Dawn. Come enjoy the views, learn about the roost, and see 100,000+ birds up close!
*Reserve your seat now!
*Tickets: $30 per person
*Full refund if cancelled by weather ***
*Depart at 6:00 p.m. from Crystal Dawn dock at Pirate’s Cove Marina, Nags Head-Manteo Causeway.
*Returns at approximately 10 p.m.
*Light refreshments available (or bring your own).
*Use a credit card or Paypal instant transfer via our donation button to purchase tickets. Please make a payment of $30 per ticket and note what day you are reserving.
*Or send your check to:
Coastal Carolina Purple Martin Society
PO Box 172 Manns Harbor, NC 27953
*Please provide your contact information: phone # & email address.
*Call (252) 394-6205 for further information, and to let us know if you will be paying by check via mail.
***all other cancellations of no-shows cannot be refunded and will be considered general donations to the Coastal Carolina Purple Martin Society.
For more information, check out their site!
ATTN: The Lumber River trip scheduled for June 5th-6th is now a ONE DAY event that will take place on Friday, June 5th from 7am-5pm. Please make note of this change and make sure to join us for a wonderful day of birding and paddling down one of the 10 natural wonders of North Carolina!
Contact Sean Higgins for more details
Departure Time: 7:00 AM from the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 West Jones Street, Raleigh
Birds, Birds and Humpback Whales
12 – Day Birding & Natural History Trip: January 14 – January 25, 2011
Day 1 – Friday, January 14: Raleigh/Durham to our US Gateway City and on to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Our adventure begins at Raleigh/Durham International airport with our flight to Miami. Please arrive at RDU no later than two hours prior to our scheduled departure time. Dave Davenport and John Gerwin will be there to meet you and help you get checked in. Upon arrival at Miami’s International Airport we will transfer to our departure gate for our flight to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Once we arrive in the Dominican Republic we will clear customs and immigration before we meet Kate Wallace, our guide/driver, and transfer to the Hotel Palacio. The rest of the afternoon will be free to relax prior to dinner. After dinner we will return to our rooms at the hotel for a night of much needed rest. The Hotel Palacio occupies a 17th century mansion complete with stone-walled walkways and an interior courtyard. The rooms are comfortable and the service is excellent. (D)
Wake Audubon volunteers supervised the efforts of 20 engineering students from North Carolina State University to remove invasive plants at Anderson Point Park on Saturday, March 27. Raleigh Parks staff followed our groups as we moved through the woods and helped by safely applying herbicide on each of the cut stems.
In total we cut or pulled 3000 individual Privet and/or Eleagnus plants from the park during our 3-hour effort. We also pruned dead stems from the remnant population of Mountain Laurel, and added a mulch and peat moss topdressing for those shrubs and the Galax that carpets the forest floor among them. All in all it was a wonderfully successful partnership.
Special thanks to those Wake Audubon volunteers who helped with these efforts: Erik Thomas, Sue and Dan Harvey, and Valerie Waters. John Connors
The bird banding day scheduled for March 27 is full. Cathy Fergen, the coordinator, is accepting names for a wait list in case anyone drops out.
The Wake Audubon-sponsored trip to Lake Mattamuskeet took place Dec 4-6. Our group braved some inclement on Saturday as a moving weather front brought cold, intermittent rain to the area. We were able to get out for a few hours in the morning, and some in the late afternoon, and get in some decent birding in between bands of light rain and drizzle. In mid-afternoon we ate a leisurely lunch at the Hotel Engelhard, after which John Gerwin conducted a sparrow identification workshop, using specimens from the Museum’s bird collection. Thanks go to Becky Desjardins, Bird Collections Manager and Wake Audubon President, and Keith Jensen, part time Bird Collections Technician and longtime Audubon member, for pulling those specimens together – it helped fill in a rainy couple of hours with an educational and entertaining program. Much thanks go to the Hotel Engelhard staff for providing great hospitality, nice comfortable rooms, and “birder friendly” breakfasts.
Sunday dawned clear and cold, as the front had now passed. The early morning light was spectacular for viewing the thousands of Snow Geese at the Lake Landing area. The list of birds, and approximated numbers seen, are at the end. Highlights were:
Peregrine Falcon: on Friday, a few of us “early birds” were witnesses to an adult Peregrine chasing and stooping on a flying Snowy Egret over the main body of water to the east of the causeway. After half a dozen or so passes, the falcon gave up, and the Egret continued on, unharmed.
White Pelican – one seen by all flying west across the causeway.
Tree Swallow – we witnessed one of the most amazing congregations of swallows I have ever seen: there were tens of thousands of birds swarming overhead all day long, everywhere we went. I have never seen anything like it. Apparently feeding in advance of the approaching cold front, it was beyond any Hitchcock image, and was truly spectacular. Perhaps nearly as spectacular was the near-absence of this species the following morning, when we counted only about 25.
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – one along the causeway.
Yellow Warbler – a short but good look at a female or immature along the causeway.
Prairie Warbler – one along the causeway, and another one or two seen Sunday a mile south.
Little Blue Heron – several immatures were seen, standing with Cattle and Snowy egrets, at the Lake Landing area.
Merlin – one seen each day but the best view was a flyover this morning.
Virginia Rail – a bird called right along the roadway we were walking, among some short vegetation in shallow water. Participant Alex Capaldi had a “Field Guide to Birds” application on his cell phone, which included vocalizations. He played the V. Rail to get the birds attention, which he did. We could see the “shadow” as the rail ran among the thick vegetation, very close to us. Board member Erik Thomas, donning rubber boots, went in to “bird dog” it, and successfully flushed it. The bird flew about 15’, into the wind, and only about 15’ in front of us, which allowed us all to get a great view.
Marsh Wren – always a piece of work to get into view, the group persisted and succeeded in doing so with one in a cattail patch at the Lake Landing area. Much thanks to Alex Capaldi again for using his cell phone to keep the bird’s attention, and coaxing it out several times, enough for folks to get a decent, albeit always brief, look.
The date of the Sylvan Heights trip is January 9 NOT January 23! Believe it or not, the wedding I was attending on January 9 got changed to January 23rd! Sorry for the inconvenience! -Becky
Due to inclement weather, there will be no owls and meteor walk tonight. Sorry!