We couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather for the February 1-3, 2019, annual VSO field trip to the Outer Banks! We enjoyed sunny skies, mild winds and moderate temperatures most of the weekend. With the combined eyes and ears of 75 participants, we tallied 141 species. Our trip leaders Lee Adams, Bill Akers, Jerry Via and yours truly worked hard to ensure that everyone got to see as many species as possible. The following photographs were taken by Philip Mitchell.
It seems amazing to report that the 2nd most abundant species (after Yellow-rumped Warbler) was RAZORBILL! On Sunday morning, Jerry Via counted almost 2,000 in the ocean just off the hotel, with hundreds more in either direction. We also had great looks at large numbers from Jennette’s pier on Friday and Saturday.
An unexpected hot spot was the area behind the Exxon Station in Harbinger, where a Golden-crowned Sparrow (typically found only on the West coast) and a Dicksissel were seen by many. Also spotted there: Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
Jennettes’s Pier provided great looks at all 3 species of Scoter and large numbers of Razorbill, Red-throated Loon, and Northern Gannets. Other species included Dovekie, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Loon, and Horned Grebe. A pod of dolphins came close to the pier and in the distance we spotted a whale (identity undetermined) spraying water from its blowhole.
At Bodie Island Lighthouse in Saturday afternoon, we enjoyed diverse species of waterfowl in the impoundments, along with a Virginia Rail and Marsh Wren.
Sunday morning Jerry and Bill Akers scored two rare gulls – Black-headed Gull and Little Gull – mixed in with the “regulars.”
Make plans to join us next year. We always have a memorable time, no matter what the weather brings!
Complete list of 141 species for the weekend follows.
VSO Field Trip Co-chair
American Black Duck
American White Pelican
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Horned Owl