Monday, January 5, 2015

In Search of the Black Bear -- With our Rochester Guests!

I had my friends Bill and Debi visiting from Rochester this past week and part of the trip was a side trip up north to Mattamuskeet and trying to find some bears at Pungo Lake.  Debi insisted that if she was along, we could be guaranteed to not see any bears.  She has been many places that purport large numbers of black bears and yet hasn't seen one in the wild!!  
We headed up north on a dreary drizzly day using her car GPS to guide us.  It was an interesting guide and took us across a little known ferry in Aurora.  We were the only passengers and luckily we only had to wait about half an hour as it only runs every two hours.  We found a lovely inn and then headed to Mattamuskeet in search of some ducks even though it was very late in the afternoon and miserable weather!

As usual, there were a lot of ducks including many Northern Shovelers and Northern Pintails, a duck I hadn't seen before.  In the middle of the picture, you can spot a Blue-winged Teal and there were Gadwalls there as well.

These are a couple of the Northern Shoveler males although you can't seen their rich green heads in the pic -- you can see a bit of their big wide bills.

There were a lot of the Northern Pintails -- both females and males.  The males are just beautiful and I was very  happy to add them to my list!!  Just wish the weather had been better.

A male and female Pintail.

This waqs the most handsome of the Pintails with his long tail.

One of the Ruddy Ducks.

Of course there were a lot of Tundra Swans and here you can see a Pintail and a Shoveler as well.  We also saw large flocks of Tundra Swans and Snow Geese flying overhead at about sunset (although there was no sun!).

We headed back to our inn in Engelhard (the Engelhard Hotel) and then found the only restaurant in town for dinner.  It was excellent and filled with more camouflage then I have ever seen in one place -- it was duck hunting season.  The next morning we were greeted by better weather and a beautiful sunrise.  This and the next picture were taken out of the back window of the car as we were driving down the road to Pungo Lake in search of some bears!

It is beautiful countryside  in this area of North Carolina.  The GPS didn't even recognize any of the town names!!

Bill and Debi are heading down the road to see if they spot any bear.  A park ranger had told us that this would be the area with the most potential.  It was where I had seen my first bears.  Sadly, there were no bears but they did spot wolf and bear tracks.  We had found out that the bear hunting season had just ended a couple of days before...  You can see the frost on the ground and it didn't dissipate until well after 10 in the morning.

We did see ponds with lots and lots of Tundra Swans though!  You can see the sun still coming up in the reflection.  

You get the full picture of the swan here!  They are BIG birds!!

Debi spotted this beautiful Red Shouldered Hawk right by the side of the road. I had seen a Northern Harrier circling earlier.  

 We saw White-tailed Deer on both days though.

We had a lovely ride back to Wilmington except for having to  wait out a very bad accident.  

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