Spring in North Carolina

I get to bird North Carolina whenever I visit my family there; usually once a year or so. But I have only ever done so in winter or summer. Over spring break we loaded up and went to Raleigh for a week, which provided a nice new set of birds that I’m not used to seeing.

Brown Pelicans

The best birds were those that I got to see on a day trip to Wrightsville Beach in New Hanover County.

More Brown Pelicans

I have seen Brown Pelicans before, but not since I have been an actual birder. Watching the flocks soar in formation over the Atlantic was a big highlight of the trip.

Bonaparte’s Gulls
Wrightsville Beach

Some familiar Midwest birds, an Osprey and Bonaparte’s Gulls, were in some vastly different habitat than I am used to seeing them in.

Sandwich Tern

There was also a totally new bird for me – Sandwich Tern! This trip now marks my third consecutive beach visit with a lifer. We’re going to the Lake Michigan shore in June, so I am optimistic to make it four for four.


Oh, and there were other life forms, too.

Eastern Phoebe with nesting material

Back at my parent’s place in the central part of the state, the birds were getting ready for spring too. A pair of Eastern Phoebes were busy building a nest under the deck.

Carolina Chickadee with nesting material

The ubiquitous Carolina Chickadees were also nesting. This one found some animal fur caught on a branch at the hiking trails surrounding the art museum.

Fish Crow

The dominant crow down there is Fish Crow. I heard their distinct “ah-ah” calls constantly.

Brown-headed Nuthatch

And once you learn the squeaky dog toy call of the Brown-headed Nuthatch, you can never not hear it.

Eastern Towhee

In general, the avifauna of the inland Carolinas is similar to that of the Midwest. But the abundance of certain species is very skewed. Up here, Eastern Towhees are relatively hard to come by, but they are a dime a dozen down there.

Northern Mockingbird

Ditto that for Northern Mockingbird.

Hermit Thrush

In early April anywhere, though, it’s easy to get excited about the start of migrant season. Hermit Thrushes start to appear in numbers.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

I caught four of the early warbler species, but just like home, Yellow-rumped were the most abundant.

Purple Martin

Purple Martins also gathered in flocks, which entertained Jaime and Alice as they walked with me one day.

White-eyed Vireo

A surprise White-eyed Vireo gave me a new state bird for NC as we watched the kids at the neighborhood playground.

Great Blue Heron

The real neighborhood celebrities, though, were the Great Blue Herons flying around.

Double-crested Cormorant

And finally, it was a great change of pace to get daily Double-crested Cormorants as yard birds.

One Third of the Year 2020

2020 has been weird. To cope, I have been birding.

1 Salomon

Salomon Farm Park

In February (I think), I went to an event at Salomon Farm Park on the north side of Fort Wayne. I had never been there before, but it offered some good birds.


Eastern Bluebird


Hairy Woodpecker


Mourning Dove


Lesser Scaup


Horned Lark

In March, I had to travel to Warrick County in the southern part of Indiana for work (before everything blew up). I stopped by Blue Grass Fish & Wildlife Area one of the days I was there.


The Lord of all Killdeer


I think this is my first ever photo of an Eastern Meadowlark


Northern Mockingbird


Swamp Sparrow

In April, I started going to Franke Park a lot, hoping to pick up migrants.


Hermit Thrush

13 WTSP 2

White-throated Sparrow


Yellow-throated Warbler – my favorite warbler

Working from home, I was able to pick up my second ever county Pine Warbler from my living room window one morning.


Pine Warbler

I took a family hike at Bicentennial Woods yesterday.


My son is the one who first spotted this Swainson’s Thrush

And finally to get caught up with the present, today I had an incredible 50-species, 20-FOY day at Franke Park.


Louisiana Waterthrush


Super random but incredibly exciting flyover Osprey

That’s all! I am still green listing and 5MRing. I am not on Facebook, though. I had to get off for my own mental health between news of viruses in the white house and elsewhere. So, I have had less motivation to share bird photos, which is why they have built up for four months.


Yank… Yank Yank!

It’s been a long time! In between getting a new job and thoroughly wrecking my bike, I have seen some birds.

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

While eating a cinnamon roll, making coffee, and holding a baby this morning, I glanced out the window to see a Red-Breasted Nuthatch on the feeder. Later on in the day while “doing yard work,” I managed to get a serviceable photo after being alerted to its continuing presence by a series of pleasant “yank yank yanks.” He was busy flying back and forth from the feeder to the fence to the spruce trees and appearing to stash seeds. I hope this means he is preparing to settle in for the winter, or maybe this is just an impulsive habit that irruptive nuthatches posses?

White-Breasted Nuthatch

White-Breasted Nuthatch

And here is the other Indiana nuthatch for good measure. There are a couple of guys trying to get the state bird changed to WBNU, and I think I support them.

Winter Wren

Winter Wren

The trees by the river at Foster Park that were downed by the storms this summer and the accompanying brushpiles that accumulated around them must make great habitat for Winter Wrens, because I missed them entirely in the first part of the year, but they are out in force now. I even had one in my yard. This has got to be one of the hardest birds to photograph due to its size, secretive nature, and obscuring and dark habitat preference. I am really pleased with what I managed to get.

Golden-Crowned Kinglet

Golden-Crowned Kinglet

Despite how much more common they are, this was the best I could do with Golden-Crowned Kinglet. A flock of about 20 was mocking me all throughout the park.



So about that bike wreck. It happened on my way to Eagle Marsh a few weeks ago. I got pretty banged up, but continued on my way anyway. A guy has got to see some shorebirds, amiright? Or at least an Osprey.

Pied-Billed Grebe

Pied-Billed Grebe

The trip also gave me my first encounter of the year with Pied-Billed Grebe. All of these above birds leave me at 130 species on the motorless list!



On my way back from the bike wreck, I encountered this raccoon.

Life is no way to treat an animal.

“Life is no way to treat an animal.” -KV

But it was looking for a scenic place to spend its last hours. So it goes, Mr. Raccoon. So it goes.

Honeymoon Birding

This past Monday minus one year, I got to marry the woman of my dreams! Not only does she put up with this bird obsession of mine, but she actually embraces it, too! As anyone who attended our wedding can attest, there were birds involved. Is that love or what?



As I am sure you are all surprised to hear, there was also much birding going on during our honeymoon to Maine. Observe!

Common Eider

Common Eider

Common Eiders were everywhere! Including the dockside bar that we went to before our sunset cruise in Portland Harbor one night. One of them was so trashed that she came right up to our table, removed everything from it, and demanded that she take our picture all the while telling us how much she hates Tom Brady and people from Massachusetts in general.

Double-Crested Cormorant

Double-Crested Cormorant

Though frequently seen in Indiana, Double-Crested Cormorants also abounded in Maine. We ran into this one at Wal-Mart, where we grudgingly had to go (twice) because we forgot to pack beach towels and I broke my flip-flops.

Herring Gull

Herring Gull

We got lost on our way to see Lenny the Chocolate Moose one day, so I had to stop and ask this Herring Gull for directions.



This Osprey forgot to keep putting on sunscreen because it was so cold with the wind blowing off the ocean, and it ended up getting really ridiculously sunburned.

Great Black-Backed Gull

Great Black-Backed Gull

This Great Black-Backed Gull paid $20 for a margarita and was so mad that it stole a pen from the bar when it paid its bill so that it could get even.

Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Plover

This Semipalmated Plover drove us around all week in a seafoam green Ford Focus.



Sanderlings finally convinced Jaime to eat a lobster… after an afternoon of pub crawling around Portland.

Rock Dove

Rock Pigeon

Rock Pigeons served us some excellent pastries at a French cafe downtown.

A Flock of Seagulls

A Flock of Seagulls

On our last day, we were so tired that we just decided to veg out! It was a great trip!