Sunday, November 23, 2014

Trip to Mattamuskeet and Pocosin National Wildlife Refuges Part 1 -- Mattamuskeet

The City of Wilmington Dept of Parks and Recreation sponsored this wonderful two day trip up north about three hours visit the Mattamuskeet and Pocosin National Wildlife Refuges.  It was a wonderful treat with two very full days of bird watching and Black Bear sighting.  You can see from the picture how beautiful the weather was -- we really lucked out as it is ugly out today!!  This is just a view of the habitat.  Lake Mattamuskeet is a very large very shallow lake so a nice habitat for the "puddle" ducks that just dip in to get their food rather than diving.  The first day we focused on Lake Mattamuskeet and stopped several times to do some bird watching.  There were scores of Black Ducks, Blue Wing Teals, Gadwalls, American Widgeons, Ruddy Ducks, Pied Billed Grebes, Ringneck Ducks, Green Wing Teals, American Coots,  Tundra Swans, Canada Geese as well as a few Red-headed ducks, Buffleheads and Scaup.  Somewhere in my pictures is a flock of Wood Ducks flying as well but I haven't found that one yet!!  I did see one Pin-tailed Duck but was too far away for pictures as were many of the ducks.  The light was unfortunately from the wrong
 direction a well!
This was an adult Black Crowned Night Heron.

At the pump station, there were lots of vultures and I finally can identify the difference between Black Vultures and Turkey Vultures when they are flying overhead.  They do hang out together.  These are three of the Black Vultures.  There were several others in this tree and surrounding trees and there were Turkey Vultures circling overhead as well.  I think the Black Vultures are a lot more attractive than the Turkey Vultures.  When in the air, they have much shorter tails than the Turkey Vultures and only  have white on the wing tips instead of the whole bottom of the wing like the Turkey Vultures.

A flock of Gadwalls taking off!

This is a Ringneck Duck in the rear. Not sure what the forward duck is but could be Green or Blue Winged Teal.  They were all at quite a distance and the light wasn't the best.

I think this is a flock of Ringneck Ducks very far away.

One of the Ruddy Ducks with his tail flipped up.

We saw a lot of Tundra Swans but they kept their distance.  Since this swan has some grey, he is still a bit of a juvenile.  We saw some that had a lot of grey.

We also managed to see two Grey Fox.  I had seen them only once before running through my yard here in Kure!!  This was taken through the window on the bus.

We headed to our digs for the night which was a 4H center in Columbia, NC which was really nice.  Mike Campbell who was one of our wildlife guides did an awesome presentation on the status and facts about the Black Bear which we hoped to spot the next day.  We fell into bed, setting our clocks for 4:30 so we could be on the road first thing in the morning!! Both Mike and Andy Fairbanks were super knowledgeable and wonderful guides for our trip. So far it far exceeded my expectations!

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