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Showing posts from November, 2012

Western Kingbird at Mt. Dora, 11/30/2012

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This morning I got up early and drove out to Mt. Dora to find a Western Kingbird that was found there a couple days ago. I arrived at the the location on Britt Rd just south of Horse Ranch Rd right at sunrise, and after about 15 minutes, the kingbird popped up east of Britt Rd on top of some telephone lines.  The telephone lines are on the southern border of an orange grove and the northern border of a field with lots of sprinklers.  The lighting was terrible, as I had to look into the sun, and I could not ID the bird with my binoculars.  I had to take photos of the bird overexposed by 3+ stops just to get enough detail to confirm that I'd found the kingbird.  After about 20 minutes, however, it flew to the west side of Britt Rd and landed on the top of an orange tree.  This provided much better light for a much better look and much better photos.  The bird was still a pretty long way off, but I don't mind.  This is the first Western Kingbird I've seen in Florida.

American Goldfinches at Mead Gardens, 11/29/2012

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This morning I dropped by Mead Gardens, and while there were many birds there, there was nothing out of the ordinary.  My best find was a Blue-headed Vireo that decided not to let me get his photo.  But the American Goldfinches are still hanging around here, perhaps because there are a couple feeders up.  I found several goldfinches there today, and one perched on top of one of the feeders for a while.  I don't normally photograph birds a feeders. I enjoy going and finding my subjects more.  But when these guys land so close to me, well, I have nothing against the practice either.

American Avocet

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American Avocets are wonderful shorebirds that really are a model of elegance.  They have long upturned bills, and during their breading season, the heads and necks can turn a rusty color.  At Merritt Island, you can often find them feeding in large groups.

Willet

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At first glance, Willets may seem drab and boring.  But instead, I think they personify subtle beauty.  These are relatively large shorebirds and they don't seem too skittish about people, so you can often get a pretty good look at them.  And when they fly you get to see that distinctive black and white pattern on their wings, which make them all the more interesting to watch.

Wilson's Phalarope

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This past August I had the opportunity to photograph a Wilson's Phalarope that was found on Bio Lab Rd on Merritt Island.  I loved watching it forage.  The bugs all tried to keep a safe distance from the bird, but the phalarope was just too quick to let that stop him.  These photos are from my first sighting of the species.

Bald Eagles at Marl Bed Flats, 11/26/2012

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Other than finding Grasshoppers Sparrows and an American Pipit this morning at Marl Bed Flats, it was fun to watch a pair of Bald Eagles flying overhead.  At times, they flew very close to each other and almost in unison. They made one pass over my head flying west to east, and then a few minutes they came back again. They were not engaged in their famous diving/falling mating ritual, but it was a beautiful sight to see nonetheless.

Grasshopper Sparrow at Marl Bed Flats, 11/26/2012

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This morning I drove to Marl Bed Flats for a few minutes before work hoping to find a Grasshopper Sparrow.  Last time I was here, I got a very poor look at what I thought might be one, and I wanted to see if I could get a good look at one.  Well, this morning, I found at least two, and one posed for a photo.  He was a long way off, so these images are heavily cropped, but I'm very happy to come home with some photos of this bird.  These are the first Grasshopper Sparrows I've found in my home county.

Ash-throated Flycatcher at Lake Apopka, 11/24/2012

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Yesterday on the Lake Apopka Loop Trail, I found my first Ash-throated Flycatcher. I wasn't sure what kind of flycatcher it was, and I was only really convinced it was a Myiarchus flycatcher of some sort. But some others who are more familiar with this group of flycatchers tell me it's much more likely to be an Ash-throated Flycatcher. So that's pretty cool, I think.

Lake Apopka, 11/24/2012

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This morning I walked the Lake Apopka Loop Trail.  It's a 4 mile walk from Magnolia Park to the end of phase 1 of the trail.  I was hoping to see something for my year list, but I didn't.  It was a pretty fun morning, though, despite my sore feet after an 8 mile walk.  There were some nice photographic highlights: a Black-crowned Night Heron, an American Bittern, a Little Blue Heron, and a Great Blue Heron.  The trail was crawling with Eastern Phoebes. They were everywhere. Along with many Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers, it was fun to see one Prairie Warbler with a catch.

Wekiwa Springs SP, 11/23/2012

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I went to Wekiwa Springs State Park this morning hoping to find some Pine Siskins.  I didn't find any (at least none that I could be sure of), but the morning was still fun.  I found dozens of American Goldfinches, especially in the sand hill areas with pines and taller grasses.  Also numerous were Pine Warblers and Eastern Bluebirds.  It was fun to find my first Brown-headed Nuthatches in the park (and in fact, Orange County).  I was looking more for Red-breasted Nuthatches, but these will do for now.  I walked the wet-to-dry boardwalk trail a couple times, and I found a variety of warblers I haven't seen since October: Palm, Yellow-rumped, Orange-crowned, Pine, Black-and-white, Yellow-throated, and an American Redstart.