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Post Info TOPIC: Cary, North Carolina

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Posts: 54
Cary, North Carolina

A 3 day visit to our Head Office in N.Carolina with a few snatched opportunities to bird...

So if you're ever lucky enough to get out to the Eastern US buy yourself the "Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern N.America", a wonderful publication. I've been a few times to Atlanta and Long Island, NY and found it invaluable. The fact I've birded out here before means lifers are a bit harder than a first visit but I find N.American birding so rewarding.

Monday 20th March: After arriving late afternoon, I got the chance to walk along the Swift Creek Greenway in early evening. About a mile of path alongside Swift Creek, a mix of deciduous and evergreens. Parked up and saw a red winged blackbird immediately along with the ubiquitous American Robin. The first 200 yards has American Crow and Mourning Dove to add. If you ever get to the US, then woodpeckers, sparrows and warblers are an identification MINEFIELD hence my reference to the invaluable Sibley guide. A Downy Woodpecker was next up and a couple of Song Sparrows. Easy enough to drop on were Carolina Chickadee and Carolina Wren. The Carolina Wren is a fine looking bird and more widespread in N.America than the name suggests. Mammalian life was limited to squirrels which are everywhere and rummage through leaf litter catching the eye and ear (annoyingly when birding!). My first lifer of the trip was a Red Breasted Nuthatch the less common of the two you are more likely to see in E.US.

Tuesday 21st March
After work, back to my hotel at the Homewood Suites. They are conveniently located in a mature wooded area with numerous other businesses. I was meeting a colleague for dinner so only a quick 30 minute reccy of the area. It started by producing both the stunning male Northern Cardinal and female. I pretty much always see them feeding as pairs. Dark Eyed Junco and Northern Mockingbird are added before I see my first ever live (not Road kill) Raccoon working a creek close to the hotel before disappearing into a storm sewer. Sparrow time again but this time a lifer as I pick up a small group of White Throated Sparrow feeding on a grassy area with American Robins. Thrushes are another perm any one from about 6 or 7 so be very careful. I dropped on a very confiding Brown Thrasher down to about 6 feet. My short walk ended at a large pond I'd seen on the way into the hotel. I'd seen two Canada Geese and thought I'll give it a try. I saw a black and white flash at the end of the pond skulking in the bushes. Further investigation dropped me on male and female Hooded Merganser. The last 100 yards back to the hotel entrance...a circling Turkey Vulture and a Northern Flicker, House Finch and White breasted Nuthatch in the same tree!

Wednesday 22nd March: Lunchtime from work gave me the opportunity to walk around part of Symphony Lake for c. 20 minutes. Our HQ backs on to it and a colleague mentioned seeing Loons (we know them as divers) on there. Diving was limited to ducks both male and female Bufflehead. A red Shouldered Hawk was circling the lake too. Trees and bushes around the lake gave up Eastern Bluebird and my first warbler of the trip, a yellow rumped warbler. It's just a bit early for the bulk of summer visitors and the yellow rumped stays in N.Carolina year around. Double Crested Cormorants and a single Great Blue Heron were on the lake. Three early Northern Rough Winged Swallows patrolled the lake. Just before going back into work I spotted a very sandy spit at the end of the lake...waders? But alas nothing.

Buoyed by the sandy spit and a 20 minute taster I decided to explore the lake more thoroughly that evening. I had about an hour to walk right round before dinner. Was I ever glad I did! Adding three lifers in 20 minutes...a small flock of diving ducks on the lake turned out to be Ruddy Ducks which had joined the Buffleheads. Walking around the path and sparrow time again. This time the chipping sparrow was my lifer. My 'wader point' from earlier in the day actually produced 3 Kildeer. Though only a year tick, I was pleased with myself that I id'd a good habitat and it'd produced. The far side of the lake and three Eastern Phoebe provided my third lifer in a glorious 20 minutes. A year tick was an early summer visitor, bay breasted warbler.

I'm due to go back in June...warblers, vireos and tangers await

-- Edited by Barry Corless on Friday 24th of March 2017 10:12:52 PM

Garden Life List: 39 My UK only life list: 226 (latest addition: Black Grouse) My Global Life List: 462 Global 2018 year list: 240 My UK 2018 year list: 148 https://wordpress.com/view/lancsbirder.wordpress.com
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