Revised 2011 bird total:
437 species

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day two of North Carolina trip - the Vagrant chase

There wasn't much light yet when the wakeup call rang.  Is this really 7:15 am?  I checked the clock.  For goodness sakes it was 6:50 am and the wakeup call had come at the wrong time.  Better that than late though!  We were out at approx. 8:00 am and put in the intersection near the bridge where the Franklin's Gull is being seen into our GPS.  But the GPS just wouldn't get a signal it was 8:20 and we still weren't more than .5 mile from our hotel.  We didn't know what to do, where to go and our GPS wouldn't work.  We were ready to ask for directions (but after all who at a gas station 20 minutes away would know the northerly Farrington Road Bridge on Lake Jordan?)  But I had the idea, check for written directions on the GPS.  And that worked.  Before you knew it we were on I-40 west and headed for the gull.  We arrived to the lake and almost immediately spotted the flock of Ring-billed Gulls.  I got out my scope.  I was looking for a smaller, darker, dinky-billed gull with white crescents above the eyes.  That would be a Franklin's Gull, a lifer for me and year bird number 368.  I searched for it and then I spotted a smaller, darker gull!  Could it be?  I got the scope on the bird.  I studied it and was 99 percent sure but I'm not a gull expert.  Another birder pulled up and asked if it was there.  I told him I was pretty sure it was the Franklin's I was looking at.  I asked him for conformation help.  He looked and indeed it was the Franklin's Gull.  We were there only about 20 minutes and we had got it as easy as pie.  Happy as can be, we headed off to another park to do some birding.  As expected, I didn't come up with any year birds but I tallied 25 species plus a confusing fall warbler.  Highlights included many Ruby-crowned Kinglets, several Brown-headed Nuthatches which was a year bird just yesterday, a Magnolia Warbler, a Great Blue Heron, a Killdeer that flew right by me, and an Osprey in addition to White-throated, Song, and Chipping Sparrows.

What an awesome trip - the 2 target year birds and so much else fun!

Tomorrow we head home to Virginia, but not for long, by the end of the middle of the first week November we're headed north to Waggoner's Gap PA to try for a NOGO (N. Goshawk).

Until later,


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