Monday, June 16, 2014

Recent Activities

We have held several bird watching events over the last couple of weeks not all of which were posted here.

We had a small group take the Unaka Mountain Auto Tour (see below) with great results and great views! When the sky clears in these parts you can really see forever! But, we also did not get to venture up to the Big Bald Bird Banding Station up on the Tenn./N.C. state line. You can watch birds all day long and while it is exhilarating at one level, to help band takes the appreciation of nature and ornithology to the next level. Just to watch is fun. To help in some small way is relaxing.

The next weekend after that was a quick trip to Charleston area. We have a member who is leaving for Michigan and wanted his 533rd life bird to be a red cockaded woodpecker.

Always a good find, along with Bachman’s sparrow and a red-headed woodpecker, we got his life bird in the late afternoon just after arriving in the Francis Marion National Forest. For the weekend we had ninety-seven species of which two stood out: the Bachman’s sparrow and a male painted bunting. At the Pitt Street bridge in Mount Pleasant we spied clapper rail with chicks. Too cool!

After that was the Carter County Summer Count. The twenty-first annual summer count. There were six teams  of nineteen observers spread out across Carter County. The area range from the town of Elizabethton to Carver’s Gap at Roan Mountain, from the end of the county at Poge to lower land farms, from here to there, so to speak. The average number of species has been 112 with a range of 105 to 121 species.

This week is the second Nightjar survey (see below several places) which runs this time up Pond and Buck Mountains in Carter County below Watauga Lake. The weather and the moon really effect this count. It’s run from one point to the next for a specific time. Some nights we’ve had several whips and chucks and other times not a thing. Although, one year on a very slow night we were entertained by the synchronous lightning bugs!

The last event for a week or two was the Unicoi County survey. Unicoi county and Carter share a common type of real estate. Six teams with nineteen observers. For the first ever summer count we had 111 species.