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Showing posts from September, 2013

Central Winds Park, 9/28/2013

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I went to Mead Gardens yesterday, and it was really slow.  After I found only two warbler species, I decided to go where I knew things would be good.  I was not disappointed.  Between a couple other birders and me, we had 17 warblers on the morning:  Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Black-and-white Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Palm Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, and two I didn't see: Prothonotary Warbler and Worm-eating Warbler.  This Black-throated Green Warbler is the first of the Fall for me.  The other photographic highlight was a Black-and-white Warbler.

Central Winds Park, 9/26/2013

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It was yet another great morning at Central Winds with 15 warbler species, much the same as yesterday but I had a Blackpoll Warbler.  This morning it was a female Black-throated Blue, a male American Redstart, and a Worm-eating Warbler that decided to pose for photographs.  I've been trying for years to get presentable photos of Worm-eating Warblers. They never seem to cooperate with me. Now there have been two cooperative warblers in two days. Today I found the Worm-eating Warbler in a palm tree, a different kind of setting from what I'm used to.

Worm-eating Warbler at Central Winds Park

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I had a great morning at Central Winds; I saw 15 warblers, my highest total of the Fall so far.  The biggest highlight for me was my first Magnolia Warbler of the year.  Here's my list: Ovenbird, Worm-eating Warbler, Northern, Waterthrush, Black-and-white Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Pine Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, and Prairie Warbler.  I also had one Swainson's Thrush that perched long enough for an ID; others flew by with it, but they were too quick.

This Worm-eating Warbler was the photographic highlight for me.  It was actively foraging right along the trail, and often it was near eye-level.  On occasion, I was able to get sharp images of it with relatively clean backgrounds.  There was very little light, so I shot these at 3200 ISO.  But these are by far my best Worm-eating Warbler photos. It decided to pose with a mouth …

Chestnut-sided Warbler at Central Winds Park

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I had another really fun morning at Central Winds.  I found almost the exact same set of warblers as yesterday, but instead of a Palm Warbler, I found a couple Chestnut-sided Warblers.  In my book that's an upgrade for sure. It was very dark and cloudy, though, so I had to shoot this at 2500 ISO (I don't use flash). But there's a lot of green here and not a lot of blue, so it's not as terrible as it could be.  I did some work on the background to make this look moderately presentable.

Swainson's Thrush at Central Winds Park

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It was a banner day at Central Winds this morning. I found my first Swainson's Thrush of the year, and I also had a Gray-cheeked Thrush. I heard an Eastern Wood-Pewee a couple times (I'm pretty sure it's the same bird). I also ended up with 12 warblers on the day: Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Black-and-white Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Prairie Warbler, and a Palm Warbler in the afternoon.

Mead Gardens, 9/21/2013

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Today I joined the Orange Audubon Society's bird walk for Mead Gardens.  Normally this time of year, the park is just hopping with migrants.  I checked the eBird reports from last year at this time, and there were some really nice sightings in the park.  However, this fall has been extremely slow, so I've only visited a couple times.  I hoped for some surprises this morning, but I think this was the slowest September day at Mead that I can remember.  We had five species of warbler: Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Prairie Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, and Northern Parula.  We had a few Red-eyed Vireos to liven things up a bit, and several of us had the chance to see a couple Baltimore Orioles.  Those that stayed past 11:00 am were rewarded with nice views of three Eastern Kingbirds.  Those were the first I've seen in the park, so that's something.  There were still the normal residents to enjoy, though, and a bad day birding at Mead is still pretty nice bec…

Barred Owl at Central Winds Park

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Today at Central Winds a Barred Owl decided to perch right in front of us. It stayed perched here for a couple minutes while a friend and I took pictures. These are some of my best Barred Owl photos from the park.

Central Winds Park, 9/17/2013

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It was a slower morning today; I didn't see a lot of warblers, though I did pick up a female Black-throated Blue Warbler that I didn't see yesterday.  The Veery I found yesterday was still in the same spot, and this time it was more cooperative for photos. And I finally found a Baltimore Oriole in the park. This is my first of the fall, and the first I've ever seen at Central Winds.  That made my day.  This one is a young one, and it was preening the whole time I saw it.

Central Winds Park, 9/16/2013

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I had a good morning at Central Winds.  I visited there for a little bit in the morning and on the way home. Between my two visits I had 11 warblers: Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush (late arrival), Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler and Prairie Warbler in the morning. I added a Blackburnian and Common Yellowthroat in the evening.  I also found my first Veery of the fall, an Eastern Wood-Pewee and possibly two Acadian Flycatchers (I saw one in the morning and one in a different location in the evening). It's really nice to see thrushes coming back.
I figure this Common Yellowthroat thinks she's in heaven.  I saw her grab several spiders in these webs.
This Veery just would not behave.  First it was behind a branch so I could only see its head.  Then it moved into clear view, but it only looked up like this. Then it flew off.

Killing Time at Myrtle Beach

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A week ago, I took my daughter up to Myrtle Beach to spend time with my parents.  Saturday morning when she got up, she wasn't interested in doing much, so we walked around to see what might be hanging around the house.  We found a Viceroy Butterfly, a paper wasp of some sort, and a Carolina Mantis.  The mantis was probably Julianna's favorite, followed by the Viceroy. Julianna told me all about Viceroys, Monarchs and Queens (well as much as you could expect from a 7-year old).  I was impressed with what her school is teaching her. She was not nearly as interested in the wasp as I was for some strange reason. By the way, if you're interested why this butterfly is a Viceroy and not a Monarch, look at the black line on the hind wings that crosses the veins.  Monarchs do not have this line, and that's the easiest way to tell them apart.

Central Winds, 9/13/2013

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I had a great morning at Central Winds. It's always fun to find a Chestnut-sided Warbler, but I ended up with eleven warblers. I got out of my car and had 6 warbler species in the same tree right next to my car, including two early Palm Warblers, a Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, and Yellow-throated Warbler.  The earliest I've seen a fall Palm Warbler at Central Winds is on September 24 in 2012, so these two are pretty early. A walk around the park yielded 5 more species before I left around 9am.  I found several Ovenbirds, a Prothonotary Warbler, a couple Chestnut-sided Warblers, a Pine Warbler, and a few Prairie Warblers.

Mead Gardens, 9/11/2013

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This morning I met a friend of mine at Mead Gardens.  We a very nice time there, though there weren't many birds to speak of there.  We saw or heard five species of warbler: Ovenbird, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Parula, and a Black and White Warbler.  We also had fun watching a Great Egret preening, a couple Great Blue Herons were in the stream and lake shore.  A Cooper's Hawk also made an appearance by the lake shore, swooping down over a couple White Ibises.

Since there weren't a lot of birds, we turned our attention to other wildlife.  We saw a couple non-native species, including a Brown Anole and a Red-eared Slider.

But there were also many Eastern Pondhawk dragonflies there, including this beautiful female. And a Rat Snake fell out a tree near us; I have to say, this is probably the prettiest snake I've ever seen.

Huntington Beach State Park, 9/9/2013

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My daughter and I decided to drive seven hours up to Myrtle Beach to visit my parents who were renting a house there.  We had a fun weekend.  The last morning before we left, we had a couple hours to do some birding.  So my father and I went over to the Huntington Beach State Park. We knew nothing of the park, we found a boardwalk that went out to the middle of a salt marsh.  We thought that might be good for Seaside Sparrows.  We had about an hour to see what we could find before we had to return.  We made it out onto the boardwalk about 15 minutes after sunrise, and we were not disappointed.  The Seaside Sparrows put on a little show for us.  We saw at least 4 at one time, and I conservatively estimated that we saw eight all together.  Three of them came to the vegetation right in front of us--as close as they could be and still have a place to land.  It was really just too easy--just look for gray among the green, and there was a sparrow.

Clapper Rails were also therein abundance.…

Central Winds Park, 9/7/2013

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I think I'm addicted to this place in the Fall. I was planning to go out to Merritt Island today, but at the lat minute I changed my mind and stayed here.  Several other birders had the same idea. It started out a little slow, but we did manage to get 10 warblers during the morning, including Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Black & White, Prothonotary, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Yellow, Yellow-throated, and Prairie Warbler.  The biggest highlight was my first of the year Chestnut-sided Warbler. None of us found the Cerulean Warbler that has been here the past few days.  Photographically the biggest highlight was a Northern Parula--I didn't notice this at the time, but it appears to be checking out a spider web.

I began seeing Belted Kingfishers here yesterday.  Two of them were chasing each other and making a lot of racket, which I find enjoyable.  Today I only saw one, though this photo is from yesterday.

Central Winds Park, 9/4/2013

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I had a pretty good time at Central Winds this morning. I'd seen an Acadian Flycatcher there yesterday, though there was enough yellow on it that I thought it might have been an early Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. My recording of its calls was pretty terrible, but I still think it's an Acadian.  I returned to where I'd seen it yesterday in the hopes of getting a better recording, but I did not see or hear it. So I turned my attention to warblers.  There were at least 9 species in the park: Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush,  Worm-Eating, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Black and White, Yellow, Yellow-throated, and Prairie.  I also thought I heard a Prothonotary Warbler, but I never saw it.  I also found an Eastern Kingbird--my first in Seminole County for the year, and the first I've ever found at Central Winds Park. Here's a picture of the Acadian Flycatcher I found yesterday.

Also last week (August 29th) I found this strange-looking Red-eyed Vireo. It has a thic…

Central Winds Park, 9/2/2013

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A friend of mine found a Hooded Warbler and a Cerulean Warbler at Central Winds yesterday.  Of course, I wasn't there.  I think that all the Hooded Warblers got together and decided to stay away from me whenever I'm in Seminole County--I can't seem to get that one on my Seminole County list.  So of course I trotted off this morning to see if I could find anything there.  I found neither of my target warblers (Hooded and Blue-winged), but I did find 10 others: Ovenbird (at least 7), Northern Waterthrusth, Worm-eating, Northern Parula (at least 20), Black and White, American Redstart, Yellow, Prothonotary (2), Yellow-throated, and Prairie.  It was also fun to find a Limpkin and hear an Eastern Wood-Pewee.

I also found a beautiful Black and Yellow Argiope spider.  Central Winds is crawling with Golden-silk Orbweavers, and they're both beautiful and gigantic.  These argiopes are only slightly smaller, but I think they're just as beautiful.  I was unable to get close t…