It has been a while since I’ve last blogged, but to make it up to you I hope that this next series of posts will be more interesting than the standard fare here. I just got back from a week-long trip to Raleigh, North Carolina for family, multiple birthday cakes, and of course birds.
I have always brought along my camera when visiting the parents, because North Carolina offers better diversity and a few different species than what I am used to in the Midwest. But during the week we were there, my down time was filled with exploring the biodiversity around their new home on the northwest side of the city.
The yard birds were superb, helped greatly by proximity to a lake and the William B. Umstead State Park. Though abundant and also easily found in the north, Carolina Wrens evoked a feeling of being in the south that few other birds can match.
Okay, so Brown-headed Nuthatches can match and surpass that feeling. The only thing that could make this photo of a BHNU perched on a pine cone more southern is if it were sticking its bill into a vat of pork barbecue.
The butterfly game was also strong in the yard. Every morning a pleasant cloud of Zabulon Skippers would be nectaring in the flowers by the front porch. Life lep!
Yellow butterflies were also represented at a larger scale, too. Walter named this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail “Caunsey.”
Birding in the neighborhood wasn’t complete without a visit to the Umstead State Forest next door, close enough to walk to.
The park did not offer any new birds, but the number of species that I have only seen once or twice in the Hoosier state were impressively represented. Summer Tanagers were clucking everywhere, which was exciting to see because I live on the very northern fringe of their range and only rarely see them.
Blue Grosbeaks were also exceedingly common in a power line cut going through the middle of the park. Again, found in Indiana, but not very often.
The trail eventually opened up on a big lake fittingly named Big Lake.
The lake allowed all kinds of bugs to flourish, including some pretty crazy things like this weiner dog-sized ‘pede.
Again with the skippers, and another lifer in that regard. This Southern Cloudywing was the only one I saw on my hike.
While I will never get used to the feeling of walking through a spiderweb while focusing on a distant bird, at least they can be pretty scenic.
The vireos really seemed to like the arthropod buffet. And again, this is a species that I have only seen few times previously.
With the good birds (and other things) coming at such a rapid clip, I was in the mood to get out of the house and out of town for an extended morning to go hunt much more rare creatures. That summary will be coming up next.