It’s Been A Great (Red)Start So Far

The start of my birding in the Outer Banks has me already on cloud nine.

Not only did I see two Redstarts minutes apart, they were also both lifers for me.

I worked hard trying to stay with a female American Redstart foraging in the thicket.  I thought I’d lost her and was about to give up, when she popped out of the thicket and posed for me.

Welcome to my bird lifer list, #209 American Redstart!

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American Redstart (female)

Now let me back up a bit on my Redstart story. 

Since arriving to the Outer Banks, my first place to explore for birds was at Pea Island NWR on Cape Hatteras National Seashore. 

When I arrived and began walking the trail, I ran into a lady who asked if I was looking for the Redstart.  I said I didn’t know what she was talking about and quickly learned a Painted Redstart was spotted just hours earlier but had since disappeared.  She was hanging to see if it would come back.  All the ‘other birders’ had given up and left. 

What was the buzz with this bird?  A bird that breeds in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas, before migrating to Mexico and Central America for the winter, the Painted Redstart would be an extremely rare sighting for North Carolina.  The sighting of this lone fella had just made his species become bird #400 for the state! 

Okay, so I quickly became game. 😊  I hung that area a bit, photographing other birds.  After no sighting, I took off alone to seek more birds.  I returned a half hour later, and the lady and three others were still looking and waiting, but no Painted Redstart. 

It was then that I saw the American Redstart above.  That in itself had me really excited with the new lifer. I had to laugh, the others didn’t seem so excited.  But that was okay.

Minutes later walking a little further around the thickets as the others were, I saw a flash of red land on a branch.  Lens on the bird to enlarge, and there he was.  I shouted (I hope not too loud lol), “There he is!  There he is!”  

And so began an awesome 30-minute photo session of the Painted Redstart as he foraged for bugs, even flying within three feet of us.  We were indeed five birders giddy over the show!

Welcome to my bird lifer list, #210 Painted Redstart!

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Painted Redstart (male)

I can’t help but share four more shots. 

Painted Redstart (male)

What a cool, cool couple hours at Pea Island NWR. 

And you can be sure, there are more birds to come…..  😊 

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