In addition to the swans and snow geese, we saw 41 other species of birds. A very special treat (thanks to our friend Glaeshia) was the black crowned night heron. We saw an adult at Mattamuskeet and we saw a juvenile in the Swanquarter refuge. We saw many great blue herons and egrets, and seven bald eagles.
AND, we had so much fun together! We rented a house for the weekend in Swanquarter, ate some delicious meals at cozy restaurants, enjoyed relaxing mornings together at the house, and ate 2 meals at gas stations (not quite as bad as it sounds, but almost). We are already planning next year's trip, and would like to add in a ferry ride to Ocracoke and a visit to Pea Island refuge.
For those who really want to see the list of birds (and I know some of you are out there.... Dick's son Rick for one) you will find it at the end of this post below the photos.
Dave, Cheryl and Joyce at one of the viewing platforms at Lake Mattamuskeet
The tundra swans. There is no way to capture the immensity of the groupings of swans in photos. Just look at these photos and multiply by hundreds in your head!
An great egret in the little canal in the front yard of the house we were renting.
Dave getting a better view of the swans. Can you tell that 4 of us had our stuff crammed into Dick's car? The roads were SUPER muddy, especially the first day. In addition to chipping in for gas, we all chipped in to pay for Dick's car wash!
Dave, Mary, Joyce, Cheryl and Dick at Lake Mattamuskeet
We heard that the Visitor Center was great, and Mary and Cheryl LOVE visitor centers. Unfortunately, it was closed due to the government shutdown! This is Joyce and Cheryl making their saddest faces.
Swans, swans and more swans. So elegant.
At The Tavern at Jack's Neck in Belhaven. On Friday night we had a cozy table by the fire, so on Saturday night we called ahead for the same table and went back!
We almost didn't get out of town after the big snow, and there was also a lot of snow in Swanquarter (and they don't have snow plows!). But driving was not a problem. This swan didn't seem to mind the snow.
This black-crowned night heron apparently calls this post home. Glaeshia told us where to look for him and said she sees him there every year. Pretty amazing! Most of them leave for the winter, so we were lucky to see this one, and also lucky to see a juvenile one the following day.
Thanks to Glaeshia for use of her spotting scope! We are checking out a bald eagle here. On a different hike, we saw three juvenile eagles together in a tree very near to us, and the three took flight together. Stunning! Joyce could tell you another story about the eagle experience!
OK..... Here's the bird list!
Great Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron