North Carolina county #10 J. Morgan Futch Game Land
In the afternoon on Friday, I went with a group to J.Morgan Futch Game Land in Tyrrell County. The group was led by some very knowledgeable young birders (18 and 16 years old) who let us know that Tyrrell County is the least populated county in North Carolina. Futch Game Land is popular for both bird watching and duck hunting, and we could hear shots going off nearby.
There was a nice observation deck, and paths between flooded areas where there were many waterfowl of various types.
Among the one hundred fifty or so White Ibis I saw, there was a large contingent of maybe forty juveniles, which you can see above.
I had some excellent viewing here. At one point, one of the young birders was nice enough to put on rubber boots and walk through a marshy, grassy area, hoping to scare up various types of sparrows. We were very lucky enough to instead get great views of two American Bittern, one at a time – another lifer for me. It is an astonishingly large bird to be able to hide so well in short grass. Although I was close by, I saw nothing until it came up and took flight. When it landed again, it was immediately invisible. Both birds were great moments for me.
Another good viewing was of six Eastern Meadowlarks flying in a field nearby. I had seen one earlier in the day for the first time, but six together was a great novelty. They are a good-looking bird.
I logged twenty species in this spot, before we headed out to take a look at a Short-eared Owl – but that doesn’t count for this entry since it was back in Dare County.