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No phoebe

     This morning, as soon as the rain ended and the sky began to 
clear, I headed for two small ponds on the edge of the Methodist 
College campus, thinking that the wet conditions would make birds 
easier to find.  Unfortunately, the reverse was true.  I worked hard 
for only 7 species at the ponds and the surrounding woods.  All were 
normal winter birds:  r-c kinglets, titmouse, chickadee, cardinals, 
mockingbirds, mourning doves, and American crows.  I missed at least 
one woodpecker (wasn't quick enough) and twice I heard Carolina wrens 
that I couldn't find.
     Later, in the middle of the day, I had to go over to the other 
side of town, so I took my binoculars with me and looked in on 
McFayden Pond.  I checked two access points.  At the upper end, in a 
place that should hold kingfishers, phoebes, and such, I found a 
mockingbird, a mallard, and a pair of wood ducks.  Well, I can't 
complain when I turn up a pair of woodies, can I?
     On my way home I stop at the VA hospital and take a look at the 
patch of woods behind the complex.  During the CBC I turned up a 
towhee at the site.  This time I get a pine warbler and a Carolina 
wren.  I checked the cemetary pond across the street from the 
hospital: nothing countable.  I head home, wondering where all the 
birds went.
     Back home, my wife tells me I've missed seeing a red-bellied 
woodpecker.  Even so, I've had 10 species in the yard, including y-b 
sapsucker, so again I can't complain.
     But I can.  Yesterday morning, down at the lower end of the 
college property I found 16 species of birds between 7 and 7:40.  I 
saw both kinglets and the first brown thrashers of the year.  I 
stopped only because I had to be in the office by 8.
     Now back to phoebes.  Since the first of the year, I've visited 
most of the places in North Carolina in which I've found phoebe's in 
the past.  No luck.   New Year's Eve during the Jordan Lake count, I 
saw four phoebes.  One of these days my luck will change, I know 
that,  In the meantime, birdwatching surely can be a frustrating 


Robert C. Perkins, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Methodist College, Fayetteville, NC 28311
910-630-7037     rperkins@methodist.edu