Date: 5/10/20 9:38 am
From: Michael Cheves (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Croatan NF Jones/Craven Cty, NC (FOS Indigo Buntings and Y-b Chats)
Greetings all! This is a rather lengthy entry. I apologize in advance to those who favor brevity. I took a slow drive on County Line Rd. this morning, ca. 6:30am. I drove about a mile in, starting from the Jones Cty end. These are "Weyerhaeuser birds", to be completely honest. Indigo Buntings have landed in good numbers here, FOS for me, and at least a half-dozen singing the familiar 2-syllable pattern, and I believe the volume on this species is way past 11. No less than four Yellow-breasted Chats were heard along this stretch, which is more than I've ever actually laid eyes upon in my life, total! Speaking of eyes, one of those Chats spent about a minute perched on an open limb, singing its song, and craning its neck in a manner such as I have never seen any other bird move, and I was fortunate enough to have my camera operating and able to push the right button at the right time. A pair of Wood Ducks flying over, an immature plumage Red-shouldered Hawk perched on a snag, and a ver
y generous performance by a bold Eastern Towhee topped off this list. Ca. 7:30am: Crossing the county line into Jones Cty and Croatan NF territory, the soundscape at the Island Creek Walk hotspot was overflowing with bird song. I heard the shrill voice of the Red-headed woodpecker before I even shut my car off. Other notable parking lot birds were Acadian Flycatcher, and one of my all-time favorites, the Wood Thrush. The most abundant species on this walk were Northern Parulas and Red-eyed Vireos (I tried, unsuccessfully, to pick out a Yellow-throated Vireo song). At one point during the Island Creek walk, I had an unusual encounter with a Prothonotary Warbler that was signing a new (to me) variation of his song. I have a recording of it, which I plan to attach to the eBird report (if it would be relevant, or if anyone wishes, I can put the spectrogram on the CBC photo gallery). Instead of "sweet-sweet-sweet-sweet" all on one pitch, he sang a bit longer and went to a lower pitch in
the second "half" of his song. Maybe it's not that unusual, but it was new to me, so I was enraptured by this mystery for a few fleeting moments. The drive back home took me right by the pastures at Marion Dr. in New Bern (behind the airport), so I stopped over there to get an Eastern Meadowlark perched on a post, in full song, an idyllic scene. One last itch to scratch, the pond on Thurman Rd. across from Harris Teeter, just off Hwy-70E. Could it possibly hold a Great Blue Heron, or even a Green Heron? Nope! However, I happily witnessed a vengeful pair of Eastern Kingbirds chasing a Fish Crow (I'm used to seeing this with the other Kingbird species, the "Mock"-Kingbird!), and heard a strange, somewhat familiar sound, which sounded almost like a "peeper" frog, but was "bird" enough to hone in on-- uh oh! I almost missed my second male Blue Grosbeak of the season. Whew! Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers, human and bird alike. Perfect weather for birding today here in eastern NC!
Michael Cheves New Bern, NC
 
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