Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day Trip to Mattamuskeet

The long awaited trip to Mattamuskeet was yesterday. We left around 0400 and arrived a little after 0700. We stopped over the lake before arriving and the refuge proper. There is a little line of cypress trees for out in the water and the Tundra Swan were in close among the knees. Several eagles were flying around looking for that chance meal.

After a few minutes of viewing we proceeded to the refuge. There was so much flying and in the water it was hard to know what to photograph first. Sometimes you just had to stop and take in the spectacle of it all. One of our first oooh's and ahhh's was a young eagle. It perched in a close by pine tree and gave us a wonderful photo opportunity.

In one little small corner marsh we had the biggest delight. There were two Black Crowned Night Herons, a Great Egret and an American Bittern. I think they were all looking for a little corner away from the wind that never seemed to stop blowing.

I was so thrilled to see the Bittern. When is was further in the reeds and being so still, I could not even spot it until my friend pointed it out to me. Once it moved, I could then pick it out.

Hundreds of Pintail Ducks were out and would take flight whenever an eagle would fly over to circle around and land again. Along the reeds the Northern Shoverlers were spending most of their time bottom up finding something to eat underneath the water.

After several hours at Mattamuskeet we proceeded to SwanQuarter NWR however with high winds, nothing on the water. We then went to Pungo Lake which is part of the Pocosin Lakes NWR. The swans had begun coming inland for the night and were settling in on a large field. The sight and sound was amazing. I should have taken some video.

As we were leaving, we passed a sign that was posted warning the public not to enter the fields where the swans were resting. A Kestrel was sitting on top and was accomodating to let us taken many photos. They are such beautiful and amazing birds the way they hover while they are searching for insects.

After many shots we continued on out and once on the road noticed a massive flock of birds swarming. I think my friend and I both assumed they were starlings however upon a closer look, realized they were Red Winged Blackbirds. Another wonderous sight to watch them as they swirled and flocked.

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