Date: 2/21/17 10:01 am
From: Harry LeGrand (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Summary of a 2-day trip to the Outer Banks, NC, and adjacent mainland
Derb Carter and I covered a handful of refuges "down East" and then covered
the Nags Head and Pea Island areas, on February 19-20. I have posted our
best results previously, and I have filled out eBird reports for Jennette's
Pier for both days, plus one for Coquina Beach on the 19th.

Ocean highlights (details are posted on eBird reports):

Feb. 19: Beasley Road pond area (note -- NC DOT has replaced the Beasley
Road highway sign at Exit 548 with one for Edenton -- so, if you are
looking for "Beasley Road" on the sign, you will fail to exit.) Amid the
few thousand Canada Geese in the fields, mostly in bad light, we saw a
smaller bird that we feel was a Lesser Canada Goose. But, we saw no
Cacklings or other rare geese.

Alligator River NWR -- the USFWS has now pumped essentially all of the
water out of the ponds and pools along River Road, Sawyer Lake Road, and
Twiford Road; so we saw ZERO waterbirds at all. Don't bother stopping at
this refuge for waterfowl until around November.

Pea Island -- we saw the female COMMON GOLDENEYE, and 10 AMERICAN WHITE
PELICANS, at North Pond. thankfully, all three impoundments were still full
of waterfowl, though probably not like in the dead of winter.

Coquina Beach -- we saw one MANX SHEARWATER and a few RAZORBILLS.

Jennette's Pier -- We saw 2 LITTLE GULLS (one adult and one immature),
along with a few hundred RAZORBILLS. Also saw about 8 Humpback Whales.

Feb. 20: Jennette's Pier -- We were joined in the morning by Greg Massey,
Harry Sell, and a few others for up to 3 hours. The light SW wind from the
19th (and calmish seas) were replaced by NNE winds at 12-14 mph to chop up
the water a bit. We saw the female COMMON EIDER next to a float, as we
walked out to the end of the pier. But, thousands of birds were still on
the water -- mostly Red-throated Loons and Razorbills, but many Horned
Grebes and Red-breasted Mergansers. Derb picked out a THICK-BILLED MURRE
from a group of Razorbills on the water, and Greg and I got a good look.
Later in the morning, we added an immature BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE and a
MANX SHEARWATER. Despite seeing maybe 800 Bonaparte's Gulls, we could not
find a Little Gull. But, we did manage to see 8 species of gulls over the
two days from the pier. We also failed to pick out a Red-necked Grebe,
despite the large numbers of Horned Grebes and loons.

By 11:15, we headed to Mattamuskeet NWR, but checking several impoundments
and part of the lake failed to turn up a Eurasian Wigeon, Trumpeter Swan,
etc. The impoundment on the west side at Lake Landing did have a few
Blue-winged Teals, and we saw another pair in a canal near the refuge

We then got to Pungo refuge by 2:30. Pungo Lake from the observation tower
did indeed have thousands of Tundra Swans, and the dense Snow Goose flock
looked like a white sandbar, though about 2 miles away. We and a few others
there then drove the South Lake Road to the west, and we stopped along this
road near the WSW corner of the lake, where there are several small
impoundments. Swans blanketed these impoundments by the thousands! We
searched hard for Trumpeters but saw none; a few other puddle ducks were
around. We waited at this spot on the refuge, and sure enough, around 4:30
the swans started leaving the lake, heading SW low over our heads, to feed
in fields (which according to Frank Enders are near Swindell Road). A few
minutes later some of the Snow Geese started trickling over, higher up.
Derb picked out 3 ROSS' GEESE from the flocks, and we had a number of "Blue
Geese". By about 5:15 - 5:30, the big Snow Goose flock finally started
leaving. We must have seen 10-15,000 each of swans and geese flying over,
and not only that, there were a few thousand ducks flying N heading to the
lake, presumably from the wet areas that Frank mentioned, near Swindell
Road. *So -- in case you are curious -- despite the very warm weather --
the swans and geese have NOT mostly left, as of February 20*.

Here is the eBird list, with details, for Jennette's Pier, for Feb. 19:

Here is the eBird list, with details, for Jennette's Pier, for Feb. 20:

Harry LeGrand

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