VSO Trip Report: 1-3 February 2019- Outer Banks

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.

Meredith Bell
VSO Field Trip Co-chair 

Snow Goose
Canada Goose
Tundra Swan
Wood Duck
Eurasian Wigeon
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Common Eider
Harlequin Duck
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter
Long-tailed Duck
Common Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Northern Bobwhite
Wild Turkey
Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Northern Gannet
Double-crested Cormorant
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
White Ibis
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Clapper Rail
Virginia Rail
Common Gallinule
American Coot
American Avocet
American Oystercatcher
Black-bellied Plover
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Ruddy Turnstone
Wilson's Snipe
Bonaparte's Gull
Black-headed Gull
Little Gull
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Forster’s Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Tree Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown-headed Nuthatch
House Wren
Sedge Wren
Marsh Wren
Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
American Pipit
Orange-crowned Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Saltmarsh Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Rusty Blackbird
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow