October 2, 2016
Making the effort to get more exercise, I took a bike and bird trip down the Neuse River Trail. My reward was a Black-billed Cuckoo.
The Neuse River Trail is a 33-mile (53 km) long paved greenway located in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina, running along the banks of the Neuse River from Falls Lake Dam to the town of Clayton. Open to both cyclists and pedestrians, the Neuse River Trail is the longest greenway trail in North Carolina and the longest paved trail between northern Virginia and western Georgia.
I am also experimenting with ViewRanger, the map above, which shows my track as well as a few pictures taken along the way. If you click on the little blue "Twitter" box located on the red trace, you can see a few images I took, at that exact location. To see and navigate the map better, click on "View Track in Full on ViewRanger Community Site". In the future, I hope to embed bird images into my walks/biking maps, showing exactly where the image was taken. I think that would be cool.
I spotted the Black-billed Cuckoo at the 6.25-mile marker, across the river, foraging in the low-hanging willows. What started out a grey bird, most likely a Mockingbird, quickly transformed into Cuckoo. I watched the bird for about 5 minutes, in good light, and was able to see the lack of a yellow bill and any noticeable white markings on the long tail. There was only a touch of rufous in the primaries. On the 12-mile ride, I also saw 32 Catbirds, eight in one tree. Warblers? No, it was a quiet, warm afternoon, just a few Common Yellowthroats, but I imagine early morning would have yielded some good results. Maybe Wednesday.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope to be posting here more frequently in the future.
PS - just stepped outside to listen for migrating flyovers in the dark and was greeted by calls of two Screech Owls and one Barred Owl.