Crossbills, grouse, and other birds that taunt me
This upcoming weekend I’ll be putting my Triangle birding aside (as difficult as that may be with shorebirds still prancing about with impunity on the mudflats of Durham County) and heading out west to Appalachia for some family time. Being that I have an exceptionally understanding family, I’ll likely have a chance to do a little birding as is my wont. This not only gives me a shot to fill in some gaps in my Carolina Century Club project (county listing! hooray!), plus an opportunity to take another shot at a handful of western birds that have been bugging me for some time.
There are four possible life birds sitting out there in western North Carolina for me right now, which is a pretty weird thing to consider being my own state and all, but there you have it. Ruffed Grouse can be hit and miss across much of its range. Red Crossbill is a classic nomad, present around fruiting pine trees. Cerulean Warbler is a local nester and Black-billed Cuckoo are relatively common migrants. Each of them would be long overdue lifers and each of them are possible this time of year at this place. So that’s what I’m sort of keying in to.
Even without the specter of the looming tick the birding should be pretty good. Migrating warblers are on the move, and the Appalachian mountains are a visual cue to keep them on the straight and narrow southbound trail so mornings along the ridges can be exceptionally birdy as thousands of off course passerines stream over the mountains to get back on track. So I’m looking forward to that, plus Golden-winged and Connecticut Warblers have both been reported in the state in the last few days. I certainly wouldn’t mind coming across either or both of those.
So, reports when I come back! Stay tuned.