Friday, January 25, 2013

F#@% the Tufted Duck!

Howdee all,

Jeff and I left our Homey in NC and have road tripped to MA dropping my Sicksta off at Mom and Dads in CT on our way.

Jeff and I are now in MA staying with our daughter and her hubbie for about a week.

On our way up north from North Carolina I read Michael O'Brien's Post of having The Best Crab cakes of the Century and seeing the Tufted Duck from that same location outside of Annapolis.

We always spend the night in is our half way point.

So…what could be better than Tufted Duck and Crab cakes?

I realized on our way to Annapolis that we would not be able to make it to the The Narrows restaurant for dinner and Duck as it was on the other side of Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

So instead we went to Davis Pub for that Yelp recommended for good Crab cakes…well, the Crap cakes were just that..not good at all.

Salty, not lump crab..very disappointing.


In the morning on our way out of the area, we decided we might try for the Tufted Duck.

It must have been below 0 with the wind chill factor. I am guessing 100 below at least! Winking smile

It was ridiculously cold..

..after about fifteen minutes I had enough of freezing my ASs off and yelled~

 F#@% The Duck!!!!

We all laughed and ran into the car for warmth.

We continued to look via the warmth of our car for the Duck.

I don’t know how you diehard Northern birders do this..I am a Whimp!

F Tufted duck_009

We saw these strange birds..

I am awarding The Icicle award for the ID of these!

If its too hard to tell by butt..

F Tufted duck_001How about this view?

F Tufted duck_003It was difficult to take photos of the ducks inside..


I WAS NOT going to outside to freeze, nor would I be rolling down my window.

So ..I took just a few photos thru the dirty glass of our car windows.

We continued looking for the duck..driving to a few other areas..

F Tufted duck_010

after about a 45 minutes of looking through many small rafts of Scaup, Bufflehead, Coot and Long-tailed duck.

we all decided..

F#@% The  Tufted Duck

We had to be in CT at a certain time…and we had no more time to spend looking.



In a week or so …when we head back south.

We intend to get to The Narrows Restaurant for an early dinner..

We might have Duck Winking smile

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pea with a side of Alligator

Howdee all,

Our last day at Pettigrew State Park.

Jeff and I decided to take the drive to Pea Island NWR rather than going back to Mattamuskeet NWR.

This was a new area to explore, and I wanted some sand to sink my toes in.

It was about a 45 minute drive from the park to the Island.

We stopped at a few pull offs on route to the Visitor Center.

Pea Island NWR_028Checking to see what birds were around.

Pea Island NWR_029We took the pathway from the visitor center under the arbor..

Pea Island NWR_035We were greeted by Grackle and Shorebirds

Pea Island NWR_046Yellow-rumped warbler

Pea Island NWR_033And a River Otter who entertained the crowd..

Pea Island NWR_044We followed the birding trail to the last platform overlooking ponds on either side of us.

Pea Island NWR_039Shorebirds, Ducks, Swan and Geese

Pea Island NWR_041

A Great Blue Heron struggles with a large fish..A nearby Pelican harasses the Heron in hopes of attaining the fish.

Pea Island NWR_059 The Heron gives up and drops the fish for the Brown Pelican

Pea Island NWR_062It didn’t take too long for the Pelican to down the fish.

Pea Island NWR_063We hang out and chat with other birders at the overlook and watch the birds.

Pea Island NWR_065

Its good to have a scope to pick up the distant birds.

The viewer above was useless.

Pea Island NWR_068Our stomachs began to grumble so we headed for the beach across the road to have our lunch.

Pea Island NWR_071And look for birds..

Pea Island NWR_072After lunch we drove south..

Sand was being cleared from the road.

Pea Island NWR_079

Pea Island NWR_076Homes were damaged.

Pea Island close to the ocean..

I am assuming this is damage from Hurricane Sandy but not sure.

Pea Island NWR_075

Pea Island NWR_077Reinforcing with Sandbags...

I noticed the old sandbags like this torn and on the other side of the road.

Pea Island NWR_080After our short tour south we decided to Check out Alligator River NWR

We were told to go to the flooded fields.

Pea Island NWR_081To look for Ducks, Swan and shorebirds.

Do you see them?

Pea Island the shallows

Pea Island NWR_097

It was a great day of Birding Fun!

We will go back to this area again.

Pea Island NWR_095

We are now packing up for a visit to CT and MA~Homey stays warm in NC while we freeze up north for a week.

Pea Island NWR_086

I will pack my thermals!

Pea Island NWR_102

 The below list is just from our Pea Island visit..I haven't compiled Alligator River bird list yet

Jan 19, 2013
Pea Island NWR--Salt Flats
15 miles
200 Minutes
Observers: 2
All birds reported? Yes
Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.5.1
Snow Goose
Canada Goose
Tundra Swan
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Hooded Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Northern Gannet
Double-crested Cormorant
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Tricolored Heron
White Ibis
Northern Harrier
Red-shouldered Hawk
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Greater Yellowlegs
Greater/Lesser Yellowlegs
Ruddy Turnstone
Short-billed Dowitcher
Short-billed/Long-billed Dowitcher
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Tufted Titmouse
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Boat-tailed Grackle

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Frosty Morn at Pettigrew State Park

Howdee all,
It's a frosty morning here at the campground. We are up and traveling to the coast as I type this.
Pea Island is our destination.

Yesterday we stayed local and birded around Lake Phelps.
Here are a few photos from one of the observation platforms.

We managed to get stuck in the mud while trying to make it to Pungo Lake..luckily just a few tense minutes....and a real muddy car.

Today is sunny ..I hope warms up a bit more so I can walk the beach with my shoes off. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mattamuskeet NWR

Howdee all,

Before heading out to explore for the first time

  Mattamuskeet NWR

We stopped at Lake Phelps, just a hop skip and a short walk from our campsite at Pettigrew State Park.

It was foggy…

We did see this lone Forster’s Tern

Mattamuskeet NWR_002

It was about a forty minute drive to the refugee from our campground.

We arrived on the road the splits the lake in two.

Refuge’s main feature is Lake Mattamuskeet (40,000 acres) and is North Carolina’s largest natural lake.
Significant wintering populations of ducks, Canada geese, snow geese and tundra swans. Also, concentrations of bald eagles and other raptors, wading birds and shorebirds occur seasonally.
Significant fishery resources including largemouth bass, sunfish (bream), white perch, crappie, alewives (herring) and blue crabs are associated with Lake Mattamuskeet and canals.
Habitats consist of open water (40,000 acres), freshwater marsh (3,180 acres), forested wetlands (3500 acres), managed wetlands or impoundments (2600 acres), croplands (520 acres), and forested uplands/admin. lands (80 acres) ~via


Map of Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge

We started birding..

Mattamuskeet NWR_005The morning started out blustery and we were bundled up.

We found these areas that the water was allowed to flow thru attracted birds…

Mattamuskeet NWR_006Great Blue Heron

Mattamuskeet NWR_009A Forster’s Tern diving for fish..

It is successful

Mattamuskeet NWR_013There were a few clouds to the east

Rain was forecast, but so far no rain.

Mattamuskeet NWR_015We continued to bird the sides of the road..Stopping at most of the pull offs

Mattamuskeet NWR_017And boardwalks..

Mattamuskeet NWR_018Looking for whatever we could find..

Do you see two birds below?

Mattamuskeet NWR_020We leave the main road and take the road into the park toward the Refuge center.

Many ducks, geese and swan.

Mattamuskeet NWR_029Until a Bald Eagle fly's thru..

then they take to the air.

Many different shapes and sizes..

Mattamuskeet NWR_026There we turtles everywhere!

Most times when I walk by turtles they seem skittish and go into the water..

not these turtles..

Mattamuskeet NWR_030One bird I didn’t expect to see here

Common Gallinule

The ranger said there are two being seen in the park.

This was the one bird that ebird flagged when I entered my bird list last night.

Mattamuskeet NWR_035It started to cloud up a bit more..and becomes warm.

We shed some layers..

Mattamuskeet NWR_037

Mattamuskeet NWR_045

We birded a few of the little peninsulas that jut off the park road.

Lots of sparrows and a surprise Black and White warbler.

Many hiding in the reeds.

Mattamuskeet NWR_048Find the Great Blue Heron Smile

Mattamuskeet NWR_052The end of the road..

And Wood Duck land.

Mattamuskeet NWR_056Wood Duck box

We did have a brief shower soon after I took this shot..

and headed for the car.

Mattamuskeet NWR_057It quickly cleared and the last light of the day

lit up the grasses and birds.

Mattamuskeet NWR_060Tundra Swan and ducks..

Mattamuskeet NWR_065

Mattamuskeet NWR_072The sun starts to leave us and it becomes chilly …Jeff bundles up.

Mattamuskeet NWR_068

Our last glimpse of birds before dark..

Mattamuskeet NWR_074Pintail, Coot, Shovelers

Another Lovely Day!

Mattamuskeet NWR_075

Check out our bird list for the day…

Mattamuskeet NWR_077

Jan 16, 2013
Lake Mattamuskeet NWR
15 miles
420 Minutes
Observers: 2
All birds reported? Yes
Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.5.1
Snow Goose
Canada Goose
Tundra Swan
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Hooded Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
American White Pelican
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Glossy Ibis
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
American Kestrel
American Coot
Bonaparte's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Forster's Tern
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Winter Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Palm Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Common Gallinule -- One bird seen and photographed - 2 birds at refugee