A long President's Day weekend to Wrightsville Beach and Fort Fisher yielded lots of great birds, including a surprising 8 lifers. The only downside was the weather: highs in the mid-30s and consistent 20+ mph winds made being outside all day slightly less enjoyable than usual. Trip Highlights included:
A feeding frenzy of Northern Gannets and Double-Crested Cormorants following a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins at Wrightsville beach;
Close looks at Purple Sandpipers, Black Skimmer, and a Razorbill at Masonboro Inlet;
Unsuccessful attacks on roosting gulls by a Cooper’s Hawk and a PARASITIC JAEGER (!) at Mason Inlet;
An excellent assortment of birds at Fort Fisher, including American Oystercatcher, Marbled Godwit, Tricolored Heron, Snowy Egret, hundreds of White Ibis, a few Northern Harrier, and a Baltimore Oriole; and
My first trip to Airlie Gardens, which yielded multiple Blue-Headed Vireo, many Black-Crowned Night Heron, a pair of Mute Swans, and some seasonally unusual warblers (a Nashville Warbler (!), Yellow-throated Warbler, and a Black-and-White Warbler).