On Saturday, my good friend Mike McCloy, his dad, and I went out to Lake Mattumuskeet to chase the White-faced Ibis found by Scott Winton (who is on a crazy rare bird streak this year). Leaving at 4am, later than planned (due to me sleeping though my alarm), we got to the lake bright and early to see if the ibis would show. It didn't take long to find the flock of ibis, with both Whites and Glossies mixed together. Glossy was year bird 200! After looking for over 4 hours without success however, we determined that it would be best to move on.
After Mattumuskeet, we took a pit stop at Pettegrew State Park to pick up Clay-colored Sparrow, and were treated to 5 birds in all, doubling my total number seen in NC. It was a great day, and we started on our way home. Mike and I were both pretty tired and started to drift to sleep for the long ride home, but, after a few miles of driving, Mike opened his eyes at the perfect moment to see a large blackbird flock. Like any good birder would, we pulled off and started sorting though the mess of cowbirds, red-wings, and grackles, hoping for a flash of yellow. After a few minutes, Mike finally spotted what we has hoped was in there: a Yellow-headed Blackbird. Frantically, I tried and failed to get on the bird, but eventually managed to get decent looks. It flew before I got any good photos, but did manage a great one of the vent! Mike got a great profile shot before the entire flock flew to the middle of the vast field. Yellow-headed Blackbird was a great new bird for the year, and one that was easily missable. I feel very lucky to have seen it so early in the year.
|Photo by Micheal McCloy|