Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Chincoteague NWR 11/8--White Ibis, Brown-headed Nuthatch

Brown-headed Nuthatch
Photos: Shari Zirlin
The two vans arrived at Chincoteague NWR at 7:30 and in 10 minutes we were starting to get overwhelmed with birds. It was like being back in summer with dozens of herons and egrets on either side of the road.

When we decided to go on this trip I thought there were only two birds we could get in Virginia that we didn't have for the year. Brown-headed Nuthatch and White Ibis. We got each one almost immediately on our 2nd stop on the road to the beach.

We passed a couple of White Ibises on the left and since it was a life bird for at least one guy in the van, Scott turned around to give everyone a better look. Most of the ibises we saw were juveniles with various degrees of brown & white mottling on them. They are still stand out birds with their flamboyant pink, curved bills.

As we were watching the ibises roost in among Great Blue HeronsSnowy Egrets and a couple of juvenile Black-crowned Night-Herons, Scott heard the squeaky, baby-toy sound of Brown-headed Nuthatch.

These little birds are notorious for being hard to see since they tend to feed at the very top of pine trees, crawling around on pine cones. So we were amazed to find a few practically at eye-level, investigating a hole in a broken tree trunk.

We did a seawatch for a while but there was nothing special of note--just lots of Black Scoters. Ducks have been scarce on the water so far this fall--maybe the weather is still too warm.

Shari had a couple of nice finds at Tom's Cove just at the end of the road--her requisite American Oystercatcher and the only warbler other we saw on the trip than the ubiquitous Yellow-rumped Warbler--a female-type Common Yellowthroat.
Juvenile White Ibises

Practically an adult.
I listed 69 species--there were a few I missed or didn't list because I only heard them once.
Snow Goose  100
Canada Goose  25
Gadwall  1
American Wigeon  10
American Black Duck  20
Mallard  10
Northern Shoveler  5
Ring-necked Duck  2     Swan Cove
Black Scoter  500
Bufflehead  25
Red-throated Loon  1
Common Loon  10
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Horned Grebe  3
Northern Gannet  1
Double-crested Cormorant  25
Great Blue Heron  5
Great Egret  10
Snowy Egret  5
Little Blue Heron  10
Tricolored Heron  27     
Black-crowned Night-Heron  2     
White Ibis  10
Black Vulture  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Sharp-shinned Hawk  2
Bald Eagle  1
American Oystercatcher  1
Black-bellied Plover  2
Semipalmated Plover  10
Greater Yellowlegs  10
Sanderling  14
Dunlin  15
Western Sandpiper  1
Long-billed Dowitcher  5
Laughing Gull  1
Ring-billed Gull  10
Great Black-backed Gull  2
Forster's Tern  5
Royal Tern  20
Mourning Dove  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  3
Blue Jay  1     Heard
American Crow  1     Heard
Horned Lark  1
Tree Swallow  5
Carolina Chickadee  1     Heard
Brown-headed Nuthatch  1
Winter Wren  1     Heard
Eastern Bluebird  1
Hermit Thrush  2
American Robin  1
Gray Catbird  1     Heard, Visitor Ctr
European Starling  3
Common Yellowthroat  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Chipping Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow (Ipswich)  1
Song Sparrow  2
Swamp Sparrow  2
White-throated Sparrow  10
Red-winged Blackbird  15
Boat-tailed Grackle  10
Purple Finch  1     Heard, Visitor Ctr
Pine Siskin  1     Heard, Visitor Ctr
American Goldfinch  2

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