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Bell's Vireo on Canal St., 3/17/2018

Over the weekend, a friend of mine found a Bell's Vireo at my favorite sparrow spot in Seminole County. Apparently, it flew into his field of view while he was looking for sparrows. I wish I could be so lucky. This species belongs in Texas and winters along the Pacific Coast in Mexico and Central America. But occasionally one shows up in Florida, and on even rarer occasions, it will winter here.  That's a special treat for me, especially in my home county.

Northern Waterthrush at Lake Apopka, 3/10/18

A few days ago I finally had time to visit the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. Many of the rarities that have been wintering here have made themselves scarce. I didn't see the Long-tailed Duck, the Ash-throated Flycatcher or the Vermilion Flycatcher. There were still lots of birds to see here, though.  There were lots of sparrows at the Lust Rd gate, including a Song Sparrow, two Grasshopper Sparrows, an Eastern Towhee and lots of Savannah and Swamp Sparrows. My favorite photo of the morning, however, was this Northern Waterthrush that I found along the loop trail road north of the pump house. I saw two Northern and one Louisiana Waterthrushes, but I was only able to get a photo of a Northern.

Hal Scott Preserve, 2/17/2018

On Saturday, I visited Hal Scott Preserve to look for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. I found two, which was really nice to see. I also saw several Carolina Satyrs, and I got my best photos of the species. I then went to Tosohatchee, where I saw lots of interesting bugs. I'm playing with the video capabilities of my new Canon 7D mark ii with fluid head, so I put my photos in the above video using ProShow Producer. I also added the photos from the slideshow below.

Orlando Wetlands Park, 2/16/2018

This morning I decided to hike a little bit of Orlando Wetlands Park. My main goal was to try taking some video with my new Canon EOS 7D mark II and Manfrotto MVH500AH fluid head. The head works beautifully, and the 7Dm2 took wonderful video, though the autofocus seems to make a clicking sound while I'm recording. Good practice is to use an external mic for audio anyway, so I'm not too concerned. I put together a short video of some of the footage I collected today. It's nothing special, but I kind of like it, especially since it's the first video I've taken with the camera. But note to self. I need to get rid of the noisiness.

Immature Bald Eagle, 2/10/2018

This past Saturday I walked to the St. John's River from the end of Brumley Rd. It's an eight mile walk to get there and back. On the way, a juvenile Bald Eagle flew right by me, and I thought it would be fun to try out the autofocus system on my new Canon 7D mark II. I registered my C3 setting to Shutter priority mode at 1/1250 sec with the autofocus system set on all focusing points (I may change this later). The camera functioned beautifully and just about all my photos came out sharp. I'm incredibly impressed with how this camera performs.

Gull-billed Terns at Orlando Wetlands Park, 11/24/2017

I decided to wander around Orlando Wetlands Park this morning and found a wonderful surprise. Two Gull-billed Terns were parked together right next to the main trail. I've never been happy with my photos of this species before, and I think today's photographs were my favorite.

Ducks are increasing in numbers with every visit. This morning there were bunches of both Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, lots of Northern Pintail, one Northern Shoveler, one Wigeon, a Gadwall, many Ring-necked Ducks, and a few Lesser Scaup, not to mention Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks everywhere.

Baird's Sandpiper at Orlando Wetlands Park, 9/25/2017

Two days ago, one of my friends found a Baird's Sandpiper at Orlando Wetlands Park, and several of us saw it yesterday (and it's still being seen today). I drove out to it during my lunch break and came back to the office all excited. Of course, my friends at work thought I was nerding out over a bird that "looks just like any other sandpiper."  The bird was on Wetlands Blvd between Limpkin and Bobcat Rds.  It was very kind to us because it was hanging out with both a Pectoral Sandpiper and a Least Sandpiper, so we could compare sizes. It's a beautiful bird.

There were only a few other shorebirds there: about 12 Least Sandpipers, 1 Pectoral, 1 Semipalmated, 4 Limpkin and 6 Lesser Yellowlegs.