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Showing posts from April, 2013

Long-Billed Dowitcher

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While at Merritt Island's Blackpoint Drive Saturday, we had the opportunity to see a few dowitchers, and this Long-billed Dowitcher was in some pretty nice reflective light.  And the bird was kind enough to let a drop of water fall from its bill just as I was clicking the shutter.

Black-necked Stilt Walking

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On Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, at the same pool where we had seen the Tricolored Herons, Reddish Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills and Willets in my previous posts, we also found several Black-necked Stilts.  Several walked pretty close by while we were parked.  These birds can be a little bit of a challenge to photograph--the problem is they eye.  Without catch light in the eye, it sometimes seems like they simply don't have eyes.  The black feathers surrounding the eye cause it to disappear.  So I'm always glad when the stilt turns in such a way to give me that little catch light that makes all the difference.

Willets in Flight

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We had yet one more fun moment at Blackpoint Wildlife Drive this past Saturday.  Three Willets flew by, making a half-circle around us before landing in the water.  When they were far away, I was able to get all three in the frame.  When they were closer, I was only able to get one. When standing, you might be tempted to think these are drab and boring shorebirds; but when they take flight, everything changes.  That distinctive wing pattern brings out their subtle beauty.  I was struck by the way the light shined through the wings of the three Willets in flight.

Mead Gardens, 4/27/2013

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Yesterday my father and I went to Mead Gardens hoping to find migrants.  It was strangely and eerily quiet, though.  Resident and breeding birds were there in abundance--Wood Ducks were there, which is always nice; Carolina Wrens were seemingly everywhere, and in a couple places you could see fledglings.  Northern Parulas and Common Yellowthroats were frequently heard and seen.  But it was a while before we actually saw birds that were just passing through.  We saw one Northern Waterthrush, one Black-throated Blue Warbler and one American Redstart.  So we turned out attention to some other fine friends.   A Box Turtle was out in beautiful colors and a Crab-like Spiny Orbweaver spun a web where we could frustrate ourselves trying to get a picture in a slight breeze.  As we were leaving a friend told me that a White-winged Dove was over by the feeders, so we marched back to get photos of this interesting species.  White-winged Doves were introduced to south Florida in 1959, and even th…

Reddish Egret Feeding

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Reddish Egrets are one of my favorite birds. There was one feeding on Blackpoint Wildlife Drive this past Saturday.  He put on quite a show.  The best thing about watching these birds is their "canopy feeding."  They dart around like they're crazy, and then they lift their wings over their heads and jab their bills in the water to catch prey.  They spread their wings to create shadows, allowing them to better see the fish.  I like this a lot because it gives them beautiful poses for photos.  I watched him do this for about 15 minutes or so on Saturday, to the delight of my shutter.

Tricolored Heron Preening

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You gotta love the way wading birds can contort their bodies to preen.  Every once in a while, the poses they strike just strike me as fun and amazing.  This Tricolored Heron decided to put on a preening show on Saturday when I was at Merritt Island. Pretty fun.

There, now he's all settled again.

Time to get back to work.

Roseate Spoonbill Landing

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Yesterday my father and I went out to Merritt Island.  We saw nothing terribly unusual (we went in part to find a Neotropic Cormorant that was seen the day before, but we never located it), but there were several photographic moments.  We went first to Black Point Wildlife Drive, and the lighting was pretty good.  There was one pool with many wading birds and shorebirds close together.  Rather than just giving a simple photographic overview of what we saw, I thought it would be fun do a series of posts of some of my favorite photographic moments from the hour we spent at this pool.  Here's a series of photos of a Roseate Spoonbill coming in to land.  There must have been 15 or so spoonbills here, and over the course of the morning, I suspect we saw close to 50.  But this one landing caught my attention.

Wekiwa Springs SP, 4/23/2013

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We had a pretty fun morning at Wekiwa Springs State Park.  My dad wanted to find Bachman's Sparrows, I wanted Red-headed Woodpeckers, and we both wanted to find Short-tailed Hawks.  We went home photographing two out of three.  We found two Red-headed Woodpeckers, and one landed  not too far from us and put on quite a display.

A couple Bachman's Sparrows showed up right nearby, which was very convenient.  One landed on a branch close to my father but far away from me, so my photos are pretty heavily cropped.

But we also had saw some other fun birds.  In particular, a Yellow-throated Vireo and a Prairie Warbler.

And we didn't just find birds. Other animals were also there just waiting to be photographed.  A Zebra Swallowtail and a White-tailed Deer both made an appearance.

Central Winds Park, 4/22/2013

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This morning my father and I went to Central Winds Park; with the threat of rain, we decided not to go somewhere that required us to walk far from the car.  Central Winds has been pretty slow lately, and I was not expecting much, but with the weather last night, I had the best morning there since this past Fall.  In all I found 11 warblers there: Louisiana Waterthrush, Black-and-white Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Cape May Warbler, Northern Parula, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Palm Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Prairie Warbler, and Black-throated Green Warbler.  Three of these were the first I've seen in the park this year, and the Black-throated Green Warbler would have been a lifer if I'd seen it yesterday.

Photographically, though, things were difficult.  It was very cloudy and dark for most of the morning,  so I didn't bother to take many photographs of the warblers in the trees.  I did find a Barred Owl and a Snowy Egret that didn't mind me p…

Fort De Soto, 4/21/2013

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My father and I had a fantastic time at Fort De Soto this morning.  We went hoping for some nice migrants, and we came home with twelve species of warbler, including my first Black-throated Green.  Here's a list of all the warblers we saw in the park: Black-and-white Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, American Redstart, Cape May Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Palm Warbler, and Black-throated Green Warbler.

On top of these we saw two Eastern Kingbirds, one Veery, several Indigo Buntings, a Painted Bunting, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a Blue Grosbeak. We found both a Scarlet and Summer Tanager.

But the biggest surprise was seeing two Whimbrel.  One was pretty far a way near the Least Tern breeding platforms.  The second landed about 15 feet away from me farther north on North Beach, then after a couple seconds it took off and flew around me allowing me to get some good looks and photos.  It…

Three Lakes WMA, 4/20/2013

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This morning I joined the Orange Audubon Society at the Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area.  My biggest hope was to see a Red-cockaded Woodpecker.  It was wonderful to see two of them.  We also found a Summer Tanager, the first I've seen this year. Other highlights were many Eastern Bluebirds, Carolina Chickadees, Pine Warblers, Eastern Towhees, about three Bachman's Sparrows, several Northern Bobwhites,  and a Crested Caracara. The Red-cockaded Woodpecker was a life bird for me.

Orlando Wetlands Park, 4/19/2013

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We had a pretty good morning at Orlando Wetlands Park. We didn't see anything terribly unusual, but there were some fun photographic moments.  Well, not so fun for rabbits.  One of the first sights we saw was a Red-shouldered Hawk with a rabbit (perhaps a Marsh Hare).  We also saw several Purple Gallinules, and one was pretty close, allowing me to get some photos.  On the way back, we saw a Sora and a Sandhill Crane fledgling walking with his parents near by.