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Alligator River NWR 11/11
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: Alligator River NWR 11/11
- From: Amalie Lewis Tuffin <email@example.com>
- Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2001 20:46:38 -0500
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- Sender: email@example.com
I spent the morning at Alligator River NWR. It was very pleasant and
very birdy, at least at the Creef Cut trail. No lifers like yesterday
but just as enjoyable in its way.
First, I have been informed by another lister that I wrote my other post
too much like a lawyer (which is, after all, how I make my living) when
I described seeing the American White Pelican. I have seen American
White Pelicans before and, all equivocating tones aside, the bird I saw
yesterday was an American White Pelican.
Back to the Alligator River. I started the morning at about 7 walking
down the Creef Cut trail, as I wanted to see what I could see with my
scope in the fields and the marsh on the observation decks at the end.
There were Yellow-rumped Warblers everywhere, scads of them (the same
had been true at a number of places at Bodie Island yesterday), and they
could have cared less about my presence. I think they flew closer to me
than anything has other than the Barn Swallows at Little Creek, which
used to buzz me religiously. Also on the marsh side were a Red-tailed
Hawk and two calling Red-shouldered Hawks, and many Common Grackles,
Red-winged Blackbirds and European Starlings. I also saw a couple of
Northern Flickers, at least one and maybe two Pileated Woodpeckers,
including at one point from about 10 feet away, Downy Woodpecker,
Red-bellied Woodpecker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. The other birds of
note were a single Baltimore Oriole and several Brown-headed Nuthatches.
On the field side, there were several Song and Swamp Sparrows, a
Northern Harrier, a couple of Eastern Phoebes, a Great Blue Heron, and
huge flocks of misc. blackbirds, mainly grackles it looked like. There
were also several largish brown birds (all I saw were their backs as
they briefly hopped above the grass) with white rectrices in much the
same pattern as a juncos, only larger. I couldn't figure out what they
could be until later, when I was on driving on Milltail Road and saw
several Eastern Meadowlarks and the light bulb went on.
Question - What is the standard Christmas count protocol for counting
birds, like the blackbirds, that wheel in flocks that appear, disappear
and reappear? Do you only count the single largest flock you see, or
After finishing up at the Creef Cut trail, I drove down Milltail Road,
where I saw the aforementioned (there's that lawyerishness again <g>)
Eastern Meadowlarks, as well as several Northern Harriers (at least 3),
Red-tailed Hawks and Turkey Vultures. Otherwise it was quiet, so after
a bit I decided to head to Buffalo City Road and to try the Sandy Ridge
Nature trail. Other than more scads of Yellow-rumps, it was very quiet
there as well, but the walk was quite pleasant.
I meant to stop at Lake Phelps on the way home, but somehow missed the
turn off and didn't want to lose the time it would take to turn around.
I agree with Ginger that it is worth a stop, especially if you haven't
been. I visited there last spring and it was really neat - the water
was so clear and flat and calm. The natural history of the lake is very