Friday, October 17, 2014

American Crow

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American Crow
For some reason, I have had a hard time getting a good photograph of an American Crow.  Part of the reason why is that it's notoriously difficult to distinguish them from Fish Crows if they're not calling. In fact, it's pretty much impossible.  So I have to see the bird call to know which species I'm photographing.  Well this one cooperated.  I wish it had found a perch instead of walking on a mown lawn, but I'll take it. Sometime ago I actually found out that there's one good field mark for telling the two species apart, though the field mark almost completely useless.  Fish Crows generally raise their throat feathers while calling, while American Crows do not.  Of course, if you're there to watch this happen, you're also likely hearing the bird call, and you can identify it by call instead of by this field mark. So the field mark is pretty much useless unless you're trying to identify a photo of a calling crow.

Lake Monroe Marina
Fish Crow

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Poor Little Guy

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Tree Frog
This past weekend I went out with my daughter to hide a geocache.  We were hunting around a butterfly garden and found this cute little treefrog.  Unfortunately, this one is missing an eye. I feel sorry for the frog, but I confess I'm also disappointed that its missing eye cost me a better photo. I took these photos with my point and shoot camera, Canon Powershot S100 HS.  I think it's a Squirrel Tree Frog, but I'm not sure.  Anyone out there know?

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Tree Frog

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dragonfly 1, Merlin 0

Canal St.
Merlin and the Dragonfly
About a week ago, I drove to Canal St in search of a Least Flycatcher that was seen the day before. I didn't find it (it did show up a few days later), but I did see a Merlin fly by.  I photographed it as it flew by, and when I looked at the photos, I noticed that it attempted to grab a dragonfly. I'm really surprised that both the dragonfly was relatively sharp, so even though the photos aren't all that great, I thought they were worth sharing.

Canal St.
Merlin and the Dragonfly
Canal St.
Merlin and the Dragonfly
Canal St.
Merlin and the Dragonfly

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ovenbird, 10/7/2014

Central Winds Park
Ovenbird
This morning I found an Ovenbird at Central Winds.  It was in pretty deep cover, but it was pretty close, so I decided to set my camera to 6400 ISO and take a bunch of shots, hoping a couple might be sharp.  Thankfully a couple did, and here are the couple photos that turned out. My shutter speed was only 1/60 sec or so, so I was a bit lucky I think.

Central Winds Park
Ovenbird

Monday, October 6, 2014

Boat-tailed Grackle, 10/1/2014

Central Winds Park
Boat-tailed Grackle
The other day I was checking the ball fields at Central Winds Park to see if there might be any unusual birds there.  No surprises, but I did see this striking Boat-tailed Grackle. In this part of Florida we have quite a luxury because Boat-tailed Grackles have brown eyes here.  This makes them rather easy to separate from Common Grackles, which have yellow eyes.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Green Heron, 9/27/2014

Viera Wetlands
Green Heron
About a week ago I drove down to Viera Wetlands, hopefully to find a Lark Sparrow that had been seen a couple days earlier.  We missed that, and we hardly saw anything else either. And the wetlands were closed off.  However, there were many Green Herons there, and one in particular posed for photos.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pelagic Birding, 9/28/2014

Atlantic Ocean
Sunrise Over the Atlantic Ocean
Last week I went on a pelagic trip into the Atlantic Ocean. We left Ponce Inlet at 4 am in search of a sunrise and some pelagic birds. We were not disappointed. The sunrise was spectacular, and we had a chance to see some nice pelagic birds. We didn't see anything rare, but it was fun nonetheless.

Atlantic Ocean
Cory's Shearwater
Atlantic Ocean
Great Shearwater
Atlantic Ocean
Audubon's Shearwater
Shortly after sunrise, we saw our first pelagic bird--a Cory's Shearwater. Soon we were in the midst of the Gulf Stream (about 40 miles off shore), and we began to see more Cory's Shearwaters (a couple were Scopoli type), one Great Shearwater, several Audubon Shearwaters, and both Sooty and Bridled Terns. We had at least one Parasitic Jaeger (my only lifer on the day), one likely Pomarine Jaeger, and a few Brown Boobies.

Atlantic Ocean
Sooty Tern
Atlantic Ocean
Bridled Tern
We went out 65 miles to the western edge of a canyon that was about 2,500 ft deep about half way across the Gulf Stream. At about 60 miles out, we began to see a few Black-capped Petrels

Atlantic Ocean
Black-capped Petrels
I was hoping we'd see some phalaropes; we found one; a Red-necked Phalarope. It allowed our boat to get pretty close a couple times for photos.

Atlantic Ocean
Red-necked Phalarope
Throughout the day we encountered lots of migrants, at least one Merlin, one Barn Swallow, one Bobolink and several species of warbler, including many American Redstarts, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warblers, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Black-and-White Warlbers and several Common Yellowthroats. Two even landed on the boat, and with one I suspect we saved its life.

Atlantic Ocean
Common Yellowthroat
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