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Showing posts from October, 2012

Geneva WA, 10/31/2012

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Early this morning I went to the Geneva Wilderness Area, since I was going to be working Oviedo.  I spent a little time there, and as usual, I had a blast. I've had a terrible time photographing Carolina Chickadees. First, they have to be still enough in the open to get a photo. Second, they have to give you a pretty, clean back ground, and third you want to be able to see the eye. The third part is a real challenge because of their black caps--those little eyes want to disappear into their caps so you can't pick them out. I don't use a flash, so I have to wait for them to turn their heads just right to get "catch light" in the eye. This morning I photographed a couple Chickadees with the eye visible. I'd still like a better background, but I'll take what I can get.

This morning I also found Brown-headed Nuthatches, many Palm Warblers, a few Yellow-rumped Warblers, one Pine Warbler, one Yellow-throated Warbler, and my first American Robin of the fa…

Lake Concord Park, 10/30/2012

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This morning I decided to try some place new.  There's a park in Casselberry called Lake Concord Park, and it's little more than a stones throw from my office.  There's not much to it: just a playground, some trees, a small lake and a boardwalk.  The birding at Central Winds and Mead Gardens has been extremely slow the last couple days, though, so I figured I'd give it a shot.  I didn't find anything there that you wouldn't expect, but it's a pretty park with a nice boardwalk, and the lighting was good, so it was a good morning.  Highlights were a Little Blue Heron, Anhinga, several Palm Warblers and a Red-bellied Woodpecker.


When I arrived at work, I noticed that 9 Ring-necked Ducks have returned to Grassy Lake by the parking lot of my office. The lighting was pretty poor, but the photograph should be good enough for an ID.

Savannah Sparrow

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Sparrows are coming into Central Florida.  This past week I've seen my first Savannah and Swamp Sparrows of the Fall, and earlier this month I found my first ever Clay-colored Sparrow.  So I thought it would be fun to commemorate this momentous occasion in my galleries.  I'll start with the Savannah Sparrow.

Tricolored Heron at Mead Gardens

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Mead Gardens was pretty slow this morning--that is, unless you were hoping to see some grackles.  The place was overrun with Common Grackles.  I'm guessing at least 100 of them were there.  You could also find a Belted Kingfisher, several Eastern Phoebes, Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers and other regulars.  Photographically, my best moment was finding a Tricolored Heron in my favorite little corner of the park.  Right near the concrete bridge, there are some submerged branches that wading birds and turtles often use.  The lighting can often be pretty nice here, and I love finding animals perched on these branches.  This morning a Tricolored Heron was there looking awful nice.  The lake level must he high, and fewer of the branches were exposed, but this heron flew to three of the exposed branches in search of food.

Oh, and there was a Palm Warbler that posed nicely for me as well, so I'll add this photo just for kicks.

Econ River WA, 10/28/2012

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This morning I went to Econ River WA for about an hour.  It a very pretty place, though I didn't have time to go all the way to the back to the river.  It was fun to see a couple House Wrens, several Eastern Towhee, and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  There was also a Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly there that, well, has seen better days.

Bay-breasted Warbler

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Normally when I find a new bird, my first photographs are pretty bad.  It's pretty rare for me to get a photo I really like from my first photographs.  But when I took these, not only did I get ones that I like, these are some of my favorite bird photographs.

American Redstart

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American Redstarts are one of the more common warblers that I see during migration, but for some reason I have a terrible time getting shots where the composition isn't cluttered with tree limbs and leaves.  So far these are the best I've been able to capture.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

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The first Yellow-rumped Warblers just migrated into our area, and I saw them for the first time this fall on Tuesday.  Pretty soon they'll be everywhere.  As you could probably guess from their name, these warblers have a bright yellow patch on their rumps, but I find that they are more quickly identified by two yellow patches on the sides of their chests, since their rumps are sometimes covered with their wings. 
This past July I went to Dallas, and they were there in there in full breeding plumage by the hundreds.  Most of these were of the "Myrtle" subspecies, like we get here in Florida. But I did find one "Audubon's" subspecies there, which was kind of nice.  The Audubon's Warblers have yellow throats, and the Myrtles have white throats without a white eyebrow.

Palm Warbler

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Palm Warblers have arrived in force here over the last few weeks.  Some of my favorite birding places are now seemingly overrun with them.  They are pretty birds, so I try not to get annoyed with this--after all, it's not their fault that I have to look through about ten of these to find any other species.  Thankfully, these warblers are also one of the easiest to identify with their yellow under tail coverts and tail-wagging. An eye-stripe and two white spots on an otherwise dark tail can also help.  I often do not need my binoculars to say, "just another Palm Warbler."

Mead Gardens and Geneva WA, 10/23/2012

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Mead Gardens
Mead Gardens was fun this morning.  We saw nothing out of the ordinary, and there were many Eastern Phoebes there, which is always fun.  I saw my first fall Yellow-rumped Warblers there this morning too.  Warbler migration seems to be winding down.

Geneva Wilderness Area
This evening I went to Geneva Wilderness Area in search of an Eastern Whip-Poor-Will.  I got there around 6pm when it was still light out.  It was fun to see an American Kestrel before the sun went down.  Shortly after the sun went down, I found what I was looking for.  The Whip-Poor-Will flew up onto a perch and let me get a silhouette photo.  I had to shoot this at ISO 6400 and under expose by about a stop to get sharp photos, but since I didn't need any detail, I just ramped up the noise reduction all the way.

Cape May Warbler

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Cape May Warblers are always a special treat to see.  I find them in Mead Gardens, Lake Lotus Park, and Central Winds Park during migration. The last photo below is of a fall female at Lake Lotus - the bird seems to be having a "bad hair" day.

Marsh Wren at Lake Jesup

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I had a soggy but fun hour at Lake Jesup Park (on Sanford Ave) this morning. I walked the wet, grassy path to the row of palm trees, and then walked along those trees for a few minutes before turning back. It was fun to see/hear an American Bittern, Sedge Wren and two Swamp Sparrows (all too far away or hidden for photos), but a Marsh Wren came very close to me, and I was able to get some of my best photos of this species.  The first two photos here are actually two different crops of the same image. I couldn't decide which I liked better, so I decided to show them both.

This third image illustrates the benefit watching the background while photographing.  In the shot below, the bird is at a slightly different position, and the background is a little more cluttered than I would like. He's also facing the "wrong" way, so that the branch is nearly "touching" the wren's bill in the photo.  In the images above, the wren is in a slightly different position …