Sunday, November 13, 2016

Polk County Kingbird Roost, 11/12/2016

Western Kingbird
Western Kingbird
Yesterday afternoon I drove out to Polk County to a kingbird roost about 1.5 hours from my house. Both Western Kingbirds and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers have been regularly reported there over the last few weeks.  I arrived around 4:30 and within about 10 minutes or so, the Western Kingbirds started flying in. I counted about 8 of them before a kestrel came by and dispersed them.  As it got close to 5pm, I started to worry that the  Scissor-tailed Flycatchers may be perching on a set of wires outside of my field of view, so I started driving around the area, and sure enough, 4 of them were with another group of about 10 Western Kingbirds. I'm uncertain how many of those kingbirds I'd seen before the kestrel dispersed the first group I saw, but I believe there were at least 12 in all. Pretty easy and fun birding.  And I must say, that area of Polk County is quite beautiful.

Western Kingbird
Western Kingbird
The first group of Western Kingbirds I saw had the decency to pose in some pretty nice afternoon light,but the Scissor-tailed Flycatchers were perched on wires facing east,and I had to shoot towards the west to get my photos. There's only one photo that I feel comfortable sharing. But they're such pretty birds, just watching them was reward enough.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Lark Sparrow at Lake Apopka, 11/5/2016

Lark Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
On Saturday I drove out to the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive to see a Lark Sparrow that had been found there the day before.  It was seen near the gate area, so I didn't do the whole drive. I just walked up and down Lust Rd until I finally saw the Lark Sparrow.

Lark Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
While waiting for the Lark Sparrow to show up, I also saw a Field Sparrow, which also is a bit unusual in Central Florida. To my knowledge, neither bird was seen the next day, though people did photograph a Clay-colored Sparrow in the same general area.

Field Sparrow
Field Sparrow
 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Swamp Sunflowers at Marl Bed Flats

Swamp Sunflowers
Swamp Sunflowers
Shortly after I moved down to Florida, I heard about the beautiful Swamp Sunflowers that bloom in Late September and Early October at Marl Bed Flats.  However, I've never remembered to go visit while they were blooming. I'm always too early, too late, or I forget all together.  Earlier this week, however, I made it there while they were still blooming.

Swamp Sunflowers
Swamp Sunflowers
Swamp Sunflowers
Swamp Sunflowers
Swamp Sunflowers
Swamp Sunflowers

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Anhinga with Fish

Anhinga and a Fish Having a Bad Day
Anhinga with Fish
Back in August I visited Lake Apopka and found an Anhinga right after it speared a fish, giving me lots of opportunities for photos.  This one is my favorites because the fish looks completely surprised to be having such a bad day.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Baltimore's Inner Harbor

Baltimore Harbor
Baltimore Inner Harbor
At the end of August I was in Baltimore, and I stayed in the Marriott. My window overlooked the inner harbor. I love photographing the Baltimore skyline, and I've never been able to photograph it from this angle.  I arrived at night and took a few pictures before going to bed. Then the next morning I took a few more in the daytime.

Baltimore Harbor
Baltimore Inner Harber
Baltimore City

Friday, September 30, 2016

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler
Yellow Warbler
During late August and September, Yellow Warblers come through Lake Apopka in huge numbers. It's not terribly unusual to conservatively estimate 30 or more individuals along the lake shore.  I suspect this is largely because there are so many willows near the lake shore, and the drive takes you right between the willows and the lake. I think they're beautiful birds.  A few weeks ago, I was driving along the drive next to the lake, and I saw a few all in one tree. I pished a little bit, and then all of the sudden there were at least 10 there. I don't know that I've ever seen so many Yellow Warblers in any one place. This was my best photograph from that time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Common Myna

Common Myna
Common Myna
Florida City Cracker Barrel
I had a meeting in Miami last week, and I've never seen a Common Myna.  So I decided to drive a half-hour farther south than my meeting to visit the Cracker Barrel at the end of the Florida Turnpike. I'd been told that's pretty much a guaranteed spot to find them.  It took about 15 minutes before I saw about 15 of them on the power lines behind the Cracker Barrel. That was a lifer for me; well worth the extra hour of driving to locate the bird.  On my way back home, I dropped by some of my favorite South Florida birding locations to see what I might be able to add to my Florida year list. I ended the day with 8 new Florida year birds, including 2 lifers: one countable (Common Myna) and one not (Mitred Parakeet). I was slightly irritated that, on my way back through Miami, I stopped to get gas. Guess what bird I saw fly right by me? Common Myna. Figures. But I wouldn't have been able to get a photo of that bird like the one I got at the Cracker Barrel, so I guess I won't complain.

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