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NC Culture was asked to put together a “points of interest” collection for a rare motorcycle club that will be visiting Sanford this week..one of our favorite contributors on the page,  Donald Pardue, suggested several of these, a few we added in, and there are several not even mentioned here, due to page constraints.  We hope, though, that this list will help, and are also posting it for our Piedmont newsletter this week..please feel free to add your comments, and any link you think might be appropriate, also..we love input!

House in the Horseshoe

House in the Horseshoe: Photographer: George Bair

House in the Horseshoe: Photographer: George Bair

special note: this is one of the historic sites scheduled for changes due to budget cuts…a very beautiful spot, and a lovely drive

Raven Rock State Park

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Gilliam Mill

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NC Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill

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Occoneechee Mountain

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Pedestrian Bridge for Bynum over the Haw River

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Sanford North Carolina Potteries

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Railroad Depot in Sanford

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Buckhorn Dam

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Jordan Lake Dam

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Pisgah covered bridge

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Airborne Museum in Fayetteville

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Morrow Mountain

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Published on Tue - Apr 30th, 2013, by in Coastal.

When NC Culture contacted Keith Green about doing some shore bird identification, Keith came thru in spades!  Keith is often out hiking and stalking things to photograph in the Southport-Holden Beach areas, and frequently sees things that we may not know about..and a prime example is some of the bird pictures he shared.  We thought it would be nice to kind of do a simple ID guide for folks headed to this beach area soon, and also learned some things in the process: for example,  did you know that Oystercatchers share a quirk with Cowbirds?  Or that Plover groups are sometimes called a “congregation”?

We will be following the shore bird identification with a wading bird identification post in the next few weeks..we hope these extremely clear pictures help you find out which bird you may be enjoying, without a lot of hunt and peck being done..Enjoy!

This basic guide is alphabetical in order of the bird, and we have included a link for Wikepedia for those who might want to learn more.

Dowitchers

The Dowitcher is a migratory bird, of which 2 are found in the United States..the short-billed, and the long-billed.  They are a medium size bird, and are closely related to the snipe (yes, there really IS a snipe!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowitcher

Short Billed Dowitcher: photographer: Keith Green

Short Billed Dowitcher: photographer: Keith Green

 

Long Billed Dowitcher: Wikepedia

Long Billed Dowitcher: Wikepedia

Gulls

Tending to nest in ground colonies, gulls are opportunistic, and have strong scavenging traits…anyone who has ever left out exposed food or bait can attest to this..a gull will snatch food in a second.  One unusual things about gulls?  They are one of the few birds who have exhibited an ability to use tools to achieve their goals, such as supplying bait to entice the more desired fish for their dinner.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulls

Ring Billed Gull: photographer: Keith Green

Ring Billed Gull: photographer: Keith Green

 

Laughing Gull: Photographer: Keith Green

Laughing Gull: Photographer: Keith Green

Killdeer

Primarily existing on insects, the Killdeer is one of our birds that uses distraction to protect its’ nest.  If threatened, the Killdeer will mimic being injured (the broken wing act) to lure predators in a different direction, and as soon as it considers the nest safe, it “heals” and flies away!  They are ground nesters, and the eggs are speckled to blend with the landscape.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killdeer

Killdeer: Photographer: Keith Green

Killdeer: Photographer: Keith Green

 

 

Killdeer Eggs: Wikepedia

Killdeer Eggs: Wikepedia

 

Oystercatchers

These particular birds are “plover-like”, and have an unfortunate trait they share with the cowbird..they will dump their eggs in another species’ nest for hatching.  This is not a common practice, as they do build their own nests on the ground, and also have speckled eggs similar to the speckling found on Killdeer eggs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher: Photographer: Keith Green

Oystercatcher: Photographer: Keith Green

Pelicans

It’s a rare NC-er who has not stopped to admire a pelican in our coastal region.  These unusual birds are often seen flying the shore line, or waiting patiently atop a pier pole for someone to drop a fish!  The long, large bill is used for draining their catch before digesting.  The interesting fact we found about pelicans?  Depending on the particular species, the nests can either be found on the ground or up in trees.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelican

shore bird pelican keith green

Plovers

There are several different types of Plovers, including the controversial Piping Plover found on the Outer Banks.  Plovers are often the birds you see running and stopping on the beach as they hunt for food.  An interesting bit of information?  Groups of plovers are called a stand, a wing, or even a congregation!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plovers

Wilson's Plover: Photographer: Keith Green

Wilson’s Plover: Photographer: Keith Green

 Skimmers

Skimmers are unusual in that they actually are able to skim the water, due to the unique shape of their bills.  The lower part of the bill is longer than the upper part, and the skimming allows them to snap up fish unable to quickly dart away.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skimmers

Black Skimmers: Photographer: Keith Green

Black Skimmers: Photographer: Keith Green

shore bird black skimmer Keith Green

 

 Terns

There are many different terns, and they are colony nesters.  Terns rarely swim, although they do have webbed beet.  An interesting note regarding terns?  Although they hunt by diving, it is rare to see a tern glide.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terns

shore bird common tern keith green

 

We hope you have enjoyed this basic guide, and stay tuned for the wading bird guide..we are truly looking forward to sharing this, and hope that these help people who like a quick picture for reference.  Special thanks to Keith Green for the photography!

 
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Pilot Mountain: photographer Sonja Tilley, was our absolute top post for the week, and we thank her for allowing us to share again in our round-up!

 

Pilot Mountain: Photographer: Sonja Tilley

Pilot Mountain: Photographer: Sonja Tilley

 

 

Another top share of the Week!  the Cape Fear River by Keith Green

Keith Green: another top share this week: Cape Fear River

Keith Green: another top share this week: Cape Fear River

 

Runner-up post for the week:

Seeing so many mentions of budget cuts for state historic sites, I decided to do a little checking, as I was curious as to just how many sites are affected.  I did find this, and am going to query our Fb historic site page for NC, and see w…hat they know.  This particular paragraph does not mention Tryon, but I believe they are affected, also..anyone know of any others?
If the North Carolina General Assembly includes the recommendation of Gov. Pat McCrory in its two-year budget starting July 1, Aycock and four other historic sites across the state would close to the general public, keeping just enough staff to maintain buildings and grounds. McCrory estimates the state could save $500,000 a year from shutting down the Aycock Birthplace in Fremont, the Polk Memorial in Pineville, the Vance Birthplace in Weaverville, House in the Horshoe in Sanford and the Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort. McCrory also recommended rolling back hours across the state’s 20 other historic sites to five days a week, for a total estimated savings of $650,000 a year.
culled from this link:
http://www.wral.com/nc-lawmakers-hope-to-keep-historic-sites-running/12340226/

Another runner-up?  Looking Glass Falls from Western North Carolina Happening

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Western-North-Carolina-Happening/461484673911612

 

Looking Glass Falls shared by Western North Carolina Happening

Looking Glass Falls shared by Western North Carolina Happening

“Did You See That?”  by Joe Sledge

 

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Throughout North Carolina, there are these wonderful roadside attractions, either right off the road or farther afield. Did You See That? A GPS Guide to …North Carolina’s Out of the Ordinary Attractions is a collection of over 90 unique attractions across North Carolina, complete with detailed descriptions, photos, and the exact latitude and longitude coordinates of each location contained in the book. Merely put the coordinates into any navigation device or app, and the reader will be led right to the subject of their choice. Also included are rating guides for the oddity of each spot, and how difficult it will be to get to the location. If you want to get out to see more of the Tar Heel state, check out a copy at this link and get exploring!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BXIK5Y4

Other misc top posts and information:

Hummingbird food:

HUMMINGBIRD FOOD ¼ cup sugar to ¾ cups hot water..stir until clear..no need for food coloring. Tip: wasps are attracted to the color yellow, so may want to remove the yellow design on some feeders..the hummers don’t care!

Link for Waterfall app of NC

http://flickinamazing.com/articles/iphone-outdoors/

more info available at: https://www.facebook.com/waterfalls.wnc