Bottfly here- to make my debut after the blog’s winter torpor session. This February is weirding me out. I’m afraid it’s going to be freezing again this March. You know it’s been a particularly rough winter here in the mountains, and that’s because the birding has been a little slow and the budget has been quite tight. The Flammulated Beard and I still manage to get outside a little though. Unlike everyone else’s cool blogs that are famously up-to-date … ours entertains by highlighting the not-so-distant past of our local excursions. As the temperature rises, so does the desire to bird and the guilt of having an empty blog.
First, all of this crazy faux-spring action has the American Robins singing again and it reminds me a lot of the last days at Big Bald. From the middle of October through early November, the early morning thrushes that flood the nets are not the usual Swainson’s, they are their bigger cousins- Robins of course. These guys are actually almost too big for the nets we use. Left to their own devices and a little time, most of them roll their way to the end of the net and fly right out, but since they flock in decent numbers we still manage to band quite a few. Usually, they all get caught in the bottom 2 tiers of the net. These beautiful birds seemed to have flaky skin, and some had what we think was avian pox. Unfortunately some of our pictures have been lost… we each blame the other one… anyways here are a couple.
Our latest and greatest adventure was spending some time with some fellow birders down at the NC coast. Here are a few pics we took (which pale in comparison the those of our companions: Robert, Mike, Nate, Scott, and Mark K.) This was a fun trip and we were able to see Harlequin Duck, Great Cormorant, Virginia Rail, Red Knot, and many others.
Lastly, we are lucky enough to live near Beaver Lake Sanctuary in North Asheville. As much trash that collects in this place due to inconsiderate folks- in can actually be a nice place to see some birds. The renovations they are working on will hopefully improve the habitat that this area can provide. The Flammulated Beard and I were lucky enough to observe TWO red phase Screech Owls today in their respective roosting boxes. Although the weather turned windy and rainy on us, of course it’s great to get out and hear the birds singing so much- and also know that there is always something unexpected to be discovered! Happy faux-spring everyone and may the bird gods bless us all with killer sightings for the new year!