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Birding Capeside

August 6, 2007
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The wife and I traveled to Wilmington this weekend for some beaching on her birthday. Some folks may know Wilmington as the fictional town of Capeside from Dawson’s Creek. I’ve never actually seen it but apparently you can take tours where you are shown landmarks you might recognize from the show. We declined.

There wasn’t much time to bird but I did take along the scope and tried to find whatever I could offshore while on Wrightsville Beach. My wife is usually very supportive of my hobby, extraordinarily so sometimes, but I figured it was best not to push it being her birthday and all… I’ve been to Wrightsville a few times in the winter to bird but never in the summer and the crowds kept most things away but migration was evident and underway and even sitting around I was able to see a fair amount.

Sanderling (Calidris alba) on the beach, still showing some signs of breeding plumage. These little guys were common despite the crowds.


The ever-present Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) Amazing to think how close they were to extirpation only 30 years ago.

I had what I think was a jeager far offshore, but could not make out species. Tantalizingly close to a lifer. Gulls were common though, and I busied myself trying to take pictures through my spotting scope with mixed results. I’m very happy with the new camera. It has a 10x optical zoom which allows me to get pretty close even without the scope. But digiscoping was fun and I look forward to playing around with it more. I’ll talk about that in a later post.

A ratty-looking Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) through the scope.

A quick stop at a marshy inlet on the far north side of the island provided me with the best variety. I had a couple Whimbrel, some American Oystercatchers, a Willet (didn’t have time to determine whether it was eastern or western subspecies though) and a handful of Pectoral and Least Sandpipers, Dowitchers (likely Short-billed), Ruddy Turnstone, and a few Semipalmated Plovers (a new bird for the year). Several Black Skimmers held court on the far bank, always a pleasure to see them.

The shorebirds began to whet my appetite for the upcoming migration, I do enjoy the little guys and I hope the drought conditions around here lately at least have the benefit of giving us some mudflats. I may yet take a day trip out to the coast again before the month is out to try my hand one more time. It’s certainly nice to have that option, one of the added bonuses of living in North Carolina and an appeal to this Missouri boy.

Sunday morning we went to the NC aquarium, with a quick stop at Ft Fisher to look for rails in the marshes. No dice, but if I were a rail I’d be quiet too, it was far too hot even in the morning. The aquarium is very nice and new though, with a planned bird blind over the reeds that might be promising once completed.

Anywho, I apologize for any weird formatting on this post, I’ll continue trying to clean it up. The pictures are hard to work with and I’ve already accidentally deleted one I tried to post. It may yet find it’s way here so keep coming back!

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One Comment
  1. Greg S permalink
    August 6, 2007 2:47 pm

    Great start to digiscoping!

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