This year, aging body and busy schedule pushed me toward fewer long driving trips and more photography within my home area and eastern North Carolina. While I haven't yet mastered the cycles of eagle and other bird activity at nearby Jordan Lake, there were some nice successes at that beautiful location.
In January, I took what is fast becoming an annual expedition out to eastern NC, where I once again enjoyed the fabulous Lake Mattamuskett sunsets (see above), the flocking of snow geese and the large numbers of tundra swans that still stop over at the Pocosin National Wildlife Refuge Pungo unit.
A local photographer put me on to a new place to explore - High Rock Dam, northeast of Charlotte, NC. Here I found an odd setting with large groups of American white pelicans and cormorants. Why these two species hang out together, I don't know. But there they were!!
In May, I visited places on the NC coast where I had never spent time: Southport, Bald Head Island and Oak Island. I did not have high expectations, but did catch a few good shots:
Bald Head Island
Royal Tern - Good catch!! (Oak Island
Late in June, off to Hilton Head, SC - a usual haunt - to enjoy a week with family and, perhaps, a few birds! A ritual part of these trips is stopping at the wonderful Cypress Wetlands in Port Royal, SC (across the bridge from Beaufort).
Green Heron (juvenile)
Night Heron babes
Hilton Head was mostly about fishing - pelicans that cruise and dive-bomb to fish, humans who stand in the surf and cast their lines and osprey who are always looking for that perfect fish:
An end-July road trip to upstate New York and New Hampshire was to see old friends and places - always a delight! Photography was not a priority but it's always difficult to pass up a beautiful sunset, hungry ducks or especially a colorful unicorn!
And, finally, a last, restorative outing to eastern NC. Here, I climbed the Jockeys Ridge dunes for the first time, revisited the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and then spent a morning at my favorite Pocosin NWR where the fall colors were spectacular at every turn...
Jockeys Ridge winds 25 mph
Cotton fields everywhere
Bird migrations still bring knots and flocks
Fall colors at Pocosin
Juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker hard at work