Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wordless Wednesday ~ Solitary Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper ~ South Cape Meadows

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Saturday, August 9, 2014

NC Trip Wrap Up

Great trip to NC with Bernie.  The weather was pretty good after the first full day at the house.  It worked out well though because I spent the day working on sorting my digital picture files which number over 10,000.  I have worked on it before and good progress has been made.  I saw 65 species of birds in NC and maybe 20 species in the DE, VA and MD. We saw 19 species of butterflies in the Outer banks and a total of 30 species in all of the states.  I also saw dolphins, 5 striped Skink
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - my yard today

Friday, August 8, 2014

Cape Charles, VA ~ Eastern Shore of VA Wildlife Management Refuge

American Redstart
Our afternoon stop was at the Eastern Shore of VA WMR we visited last Friday.  Last week's visit was awesome with the good numbers of butterflies and since we didn't have enough time to walk any of the trails we wanted to stop here on our way home.  Today, we walked the butterfly trail where we saw Yellow Warblers, Black and White Warblers, American Redstart and some House Wrens.  We saw other birds but didn't get long enough looks to ID them.  We also saw several butterfly species we hadn't seen last week including Red-spotted Purple Butterfly, American Snout, American Lady, Dun Skipper and Southern Broken-Dash.  Another plus were good looks at about 10 Clearwing Hummingbird Moths feeding on the Lantana bushes though we didn't see any hummingbirds on this time.

Black & White Warbler

Red-spotted Purple Butterfly

American Snout Butterfly

Clearwing Hummingbird Moth

Norfolk, Virginia ~ Norfolk Botanical Garden

American Goldfinch
We decided to leave the Outer Banks a day early to try and avoid the change-over traffic.  We left the Corolla before 8 AM this morning.  Our first stop was the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.  We had hoped to stop here on our way down but just didn't have enough time.  What an awesome place!  We didn't have as much time to explore as we would have liked so we made sure that we went over to the butterfly house.  There are also many gardens in that area with that are butterfly friendly with both nectar and host plants.

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly

Passion Flower

Painted Lady Butterfly

Cabbage White Butterfly

Thursday, August 7, 2014

In & Around Corolla, NC

Today's adventures included an early morning walk to the Pine Island Sanctuary followed by a walk through the Currituck Banks National Estuarine Reserve Access Trail.  The first trail featured birds and butterflies plus a great view of the Currituck Sound.  The second had views of the Sound but few birds were heard.  I did see 2 new life butterflies - Broad-winged Skipper & Delaware Skipper.

Prothonotary Warbler

Delaware Skipper
5 Striped Skink

Sea Oats

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

East Lake, NC ~ Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

Orange Sulphur Butterfly
This afternoon we drove over to Roanoke Island to the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge. There is a population of Black Bears and Red Fox we hoped to see from the car.  At the first stop by Creef Cut Trail we drove into the refuge and found several species of butterflies on the roadway including Orange Sulphur and Viceroy. After lunch we continued driving along the roadways where there were Common Buckeyes, Pearl Crescents, more Orange Sulphurs, several species of Swallowtails including Palamedes.  We probably saw several hundred butterflies in this WMA.  After driving the roads we decided to walk a trails which didn't have many birds but the butterflies especially the Palamedes Swallowtails, were all around.  A sudden rain shower put a quick stop to our hiking and a fast return to the car.  A lesson learned was to never hike without a dry bag for my camera!

Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly

Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly

Pearl Crescent Butterflies

Outer Banks, NC ~ Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

Yellow Legs & Black-necked Stilt
Yesterday evening we stopped at the North Pond of the Pea Island NWR and walked along the trail.  We saw some great birds but dusk was falling and we knew we needed more time to explore.  Up early this morning we arrived at the Salt Flats Wildlife Trail at about 8AM. As we walked the trail we could see shorebirds including a large flock of Avocets out in a pond area over the salt marsh.  The bugs were biting so bug jackets were a must.  While there we talked with a local who suggested we use the bird blind to get a closer look at the birds.  I was able to walk down onto the salt flat and get closer views of the birds including a Black Skimmer who spent about 15 minutes skimming for fish right in front of me.  It was an awesome experience. Then we went over to the North Pond wildlife trail where we saw a rare for them Lark Sparrow.  It was a great morning.

Yellow Legs & American Avocet

Black-necked Stilt

American Avocet
Black Skimmer skimming

Black Skimmer
Lark Sparrow

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Outer Banks, NC ~ Lighthouses

We've were to the Currituck Lighthouse so this afternoon we stopped at both the Bodie Island Lighthouse and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  Both of these are on the island itself and to get to the remaining 2 lighthouses you need to take ferries to get to them.  The Bodie Lighthouse is just below Nags Head and was built in 1872.  It followed 2 prior lighthouses near the same area - one of which that collapsed and another that was blown up as the Civil War started so the Union soldiers would not occupy it.  On the grounds of the Bodie Lighthouse were several large areas of standing water from the recent rains that NC has been experiencing.  In these areas were shorebirds feeding ~ Greater/Lessor Yellowlegs, Killdeer, Least Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers were among them.  We also walked out to an observation tower that overlooked the creeks and salt marshes.  When we looked down you could see the crabs in the water -very cool.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Kill Devil Hills & Nags Head, Outer Banks, NC

This morning we went to the Wright Brothers National Memorial Park.  We arrived in time to hear the National Park Ranger talk about the development of the plane that brothers designed and then flew back in 1903.  It took them 4 years of experimentation and perseverance but their flight changed the world forever.  I found the talk very interesting along with the samples of their work.  Next we went to the Outer Banks Arboretum for a walk around their property.  Our next stop was at the Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve where we walked 2 different trails.  The first trail we saw several Common Wood-Nymph butterflies and a numbers of toads and frogs.  The second trail featured a small butterfly garden filled with several species of swallowtails in addition to Pearl Crescent and Common Buckeye.  Along the trail we saw turtles sunning themselves on a log. This is a park that I would return to for a longer visit time premitting.

Common Wood-Nymph Butterfly

Pearl Crescent Butterfly

Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly

Monday, August 4, 2014

Corolla, NC ~ Heritage Park con't

Great Blue Heron
Bernie and I also decided to take a walk around the park which borders the Sound.  We saw more birds including a good number of terns, Forster's, Sandwich and Royal, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Great and Snowy Egrets.  Plus we saw good numbers of butterflies that included Horace's Duskywing, Southern Cloudywing and Fiery Skippers.  This is the first time I've had good looks at the Horace's Duskywing Butterflies and the Southern Cloudywing is a new life butterfly for me.

Horace's Duskywing Butterfly
Southern Cloudywing Butterfly
Fiery Skipper