Friday, October 31, 2014

Lark Sparrow on Canal St.

Canal St.
Lark Sparrow
This morning before work I decided to drive around some road-side sparrow habitat to see what I could find. I checked the Black Hammock area south of Lake Jesup, and I wasn't finding anything. I was hoping for Grasshopper Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows, but I was having a hard time finding any sparrow at all--not even a Savannah Sparrow. But the last place I checked turned out to make out for a slow morning. I was checking some bushes next to the road on Canal Street, and there were several birds on the back side of the bush that I couldn't make out. As I was waiting for better looks, a Lark Sparrow popped out into full view and sat on a perch for several minutes. Then it disappeared for a minute or two, but then I saw it fly across Canal Street to perch on a palm tree for me. It was one of the most cooperative sparrows I've ever photographed. This bird made my week.

Canal St.
Lark Sparrow

Florida's Ammodramus Sparrows

Canal St.
Grasshopper Sparrow
There are six Ammodramus sparrows that occur in Florida, and now I have presentable photos of all of them. This may be my favorite group of birds in the world. I know the Henslow's Sparrow photo below is terrible, but I'm not complaining. I suspect I won't get a better photo unless I see one up north in the summer.  Full disclosure, though: my Seaside Sparrow Photo was not taken in Florida; it's from South Carolina.  But I have seen them here in FL too--just too far away for photos.  Would someone please send a Baird's Sparrow here please?

Merritt Island NWR, Shiloh Area
Saltmarsh Sparrow
Merritt Island NWR, Shiloh Marsh
Nelson's Sparrow
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Seaside Sparrow
Mullet Lake Park
Le Conte's Sparrow
Tiger Bay Forest WMA
Henslow's Sparrow

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Saltmarsh Sparrow

Merritt Island NWR, Shiloh Area
Saltmarsh Sparrow
Ammodramus Sparrows are beautiful sparrows.  It's my favorite genus of sparrows, and perhaps my favorite of any group of birds.  I think they're absolutely gorgeous birds, and many of them are tough to find.  Saltmarsh Sparrows are the last Ammodramus sparrow that occurs in Florida that I've photographed. Such beautiful birds!

Merritt Island NWR, Shiloh Area
Saltmarsh Sparrow
The easiest place I know of to find this species is at Shiloh Marsh, which is the northern part of Merritt Island NWR in Volusia County.  They occur here along with Nelson's Sparrows. Two of the most beautiful sparrows I've ever seen in the same spot.

Merritt Island NWR, Shiloh Area
Saltmarsh Sparrow
Merritt Island NWR, Shiloh Area
Saltmarsh Sparrow

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Painted Bunting

Central Winds Park
Painted Bunting
It's not uncommon to see Painted Buntings during migration, and even throughout the winter, but for some reason I almost always see females. I see adult males around feeders pretty frequently too, but they don't seem to want to pose for photos away from feeders.  But this particular individual was very cooperative, and there were no feeders around.

Central Winds Park
Painted Bunting
Central Winds Park
Painted Bunting

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
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