Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Croatan National Forest Delight

I had the delight over Christmas to discover two new birds that I had not seen before and another that caught me by surprise while camping at Flanners Beach on the Neuse River at the Croatan National Forest in North Carolina.

First up is a Wood Thrush. They don't winter here but head to the warmer climates of Mexico, Central or South America or the Caribbean. But in my readings of the Wood Thrush, some will linger in the Southeast US and this one surely is a lingerer and a surprise.

Then this bird who was foraging in the bushes right next to where I was sitting.

I was able to identify him as a Ruby-crowned Kinglet so named because of the red dot on its head. And boy did I have a hard time photographing him as he was quick of foot with lots of chattering thrown in.

I learned the Ruby-crowned Kinglet is an insectivore and the reason he was spending so much time quickly moving from branch to branch in the bushes. He was small and plump and cute as a button.

Here's another new sighting and he took a bit to identify. It's a Yellow-Rumped Warbler specifically a Myrtle Warbler.

There are four closely related Warblers lumped under "Yellow-Rumped Warbler," the eastern Myrtle Warbler, the Audubon's Warbler of the Western US, the northwest Mexican Black-fronted Warbler, and the Guatemalan Goldman's Warbler.

All of the birds foraged in close range and it was easy to observe their behavior. The Wood Thrush was on the ground picking through the soil, the Myrtle Warbler who stayed up high in the trees while flying here and there, and the little Ruby-crowned Kinglet who was in arms reach while it hunted for tiny insects in the bushes.

Their songs were sweet but not nearly as sweet as the satisfaction in discovery of new wildlife to observe.

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