Tuesday, June 10, 2014

300th State Bird

Following a tip from Nathan and Sarah on the pelagic trip, Sam and I decided to stop by Pea Island NWR on the way back to Raleigh.  A Brant, usually long gone to its arctic breeding grounds, had been hanging around with some Canada Geese for the past week or so.  Brants are usually only seen off of ferries in North Carolina in winter, so I had yet to see one.  We pulled over at the telephone pole labeled "66" and scoped the North Pond.  It wasn't hard to find the little Brant swimming off to the side of the goose flock.  It was a lifer and my 300th bird in North Carolina.  I finished the three-day trip with 16 lifers, including Gull-billed Tern, 14 pelagic species, and this small goose - amazing for staying in my home state.  I also had my first soul-satisfying view of a Northern Bobwhite - one waddled through the campground on our second night.  This trip also allowed Dare County to soar to the second-place position on my obsessive county listing map.  My birding will never be the same.

Brant in the North Pond.  I took this with my phone through the scope, so give me a break about the image quality.

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