Thursday, May 19, 2011

Brookshire Dr. Birding - 17 May 2011

Tuesday morning brought more clouds and rain to the Boone, NC area. After yesterday’s workout I decided to stay back at the cabin and catch up on reading and process some images. But in order to do that, I had to go into town to download a Raw Converter so that process images on an old version of Photoshop. So, the morning was spent in Panera sipping iced mocha and downloading software (ViewNX2) from the Nikon USA site.

I dropped Robin off at Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff and headed off to Panera, only stopping long enough to watch a thoroughly-soaked Brown Thrasher forage in the grass next to the car.

Upon returning to the cabin, I decided to walk the road and look for birds. Situated on a hillside, the road descends steeply along a tributary of the New River (?) and features numerous small grottos of tiny rock outcroppings, ferns, mosses, and temporary waterfalls.

I scanned the tall trees overhead, trying to find the singing Black-throated Blue Warblers, Northern Parula, Hooded Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and Wood Thrushes. A Northern Cardinal would be the only bird to make an appearance.

A the bottom of the hill, a small home with cute gardens and a number of bird feeders brought out a Gray Catbird, Song Sparrow, and several Carolina Chickadees. In the past four years of trips to the southern US, this is the first time I’ve actually had luck photographing Carolina Chickadees.

I decided to make the most of this momentary opportunity as one chickadee investigated my presence while carrying a mouthful of grub…

So, how does one separate Carolina from Black-capped Chickadee? Range, mostly. The Carolina Chickadee replaces BCC's in the south, although there is some overlap and hybridization in some cases. More subtle clues include smaller head and duller gray overall for Carolina Chickadee. If you look at the bird above you'll notice the lack of any white along the edges of the scapulars. On a Black-capped Chickadee there is significantly more white on the scapulars and on the primaries.

A Gray Catbird made a brief appearance, scolding me for getting too close to a well-hidden nest. I moved on quickly.

Before returning to the cabin I took a moment to appreciate the Swamp Buttercup growing alongside the road.

No comments:

Blog Archive