Sunday, December 14, 2014

Spending All of My Time Outside in This Beautiful Weather

I couldn't help myself the other day when I went down to Ft. Fisher to see what was there!!  The weather has been gorgeous for the past week and is supposed to stay that way for awhile.  The sun was just right for taking pictures of these Oystercatchers which are one of my favorite birds as they are so graphic.  I have found a number of them with tags as well so am reporting their location to the Oystercatcher study.  There were about fifty of them this day and I had barely seen one or two before!!  It all depends on the wind, how many people are around, tide etc.  These Oystercatchers were cavorting with a bunch of Dunlins, also the first I have seen this season.  Out on the wall, besides the Oystercatchers and a couple of Godwits, the Short-billed Dowitchers were there as well.

A closeup of one of the Oystercatchers -- he is handsome!

It is not often I get to take pictures of the shore birds with nice backgrounds as well and this was certainly fitting for the Oystercatchers and Dunlins.

The Red-breasted Mergansers have continued to hang around the boat ramp as long as the people stay away.  There continues to be quite a presence of Horned Grebes as well.

There were quite a few Savannah Sparrows flitting around as well, this one on the beach.

I headed over to my "secret beach" -- the coquina shell beach at the south end of Kure Beach a couple of days ago.  I managed to see quite a few birds on the rocky out-croppings as well as Black Scoters in the water diving.  I couldn't identify this fellow at first but it is a juvenile Black Scoter for sure.  He was hanging out with a female as well.

My identification was confirmed yesterday when I spotted this adult male Black Scoter fairly close to shore.  He flew away as soon as some people came down to the beach.  I was watching him from the access.

He was hanging out with two female Black Scoters who looks so different from the male -- even their bills which are flatter and smaller.  They are all diving ducks though.  There was a flock out further which I think were Black Scoters as well but they were all sleeping and thus you couldn't seen too much.

This is the first time I have seen Red Knots down on the seaweed strewn rocks.  Here they are with a Willet (one of many).  There were also Sanderlings and one lone Ruddy
Turnstone.  I used to see mostly Ruddy Turnstones and Sanderlings down here.  The sun was so bright, it just bleached out the birds!

One of the little Sanderlings.  He is smaller than the Red Knots and has black legs and a shorter bill.  The Red Knots have greenish-yellowish legs.

The Black Scoter male takes off when people arrive.  He is a diving duck rather than a dabbling duck, much heavier and it takes him a bit to get the lift to fly away.  He seems to dance across the water.

Despite spending so much time outside, I did manage to finish the machine quilting on the "Fiesta" quilt.  It is not great quilting but it is done and I can move onto something else.

I took this picture with my smart phone so not the best.  You can kind of see the dark green I have used for a binding, haven't left the binding I was going to use back in Rochester!!  It will fit on a queen sized bed.  It is my own design and used a Hoffman bird fabric as the main fabric.

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