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Showing posts from February, 2014

Mead Gardens, 2/28/2014

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During lunch today I had to get a crown replaced on one of my teeth.  Not fun at all.  But my dentist's office is right near Mead Gardens, so after my crown was placed I decided to briefly walk through the park.  If you don't stop too much, you can see most of the park inside of a half-hour or so.  There were three birds I was hoping to see, and thankfully I found them all.  First, Northern Parula are coming back here to breed, and I wanted to get one on my Orange County list for this year; one was singing practically as I got out of the car. Second, I wanted a Hermit Thrush; there are a few places here that are good for finding them, and I've missed them a couple times before this year, but this time one did oblige me with a brief look (though it was always behind tree limbs, so I couldn't get a clean view for photos).  Then I walked over to one of the places a Red-headed Woodpecker has been seen.  It was right out on a tree branch and required very little effort to …

Caspian Terns on Lake Monroe

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Ugh! It's been two full weeks since I've done a blog post! I've been busy at home and work, but I've also had a little bit of a photographic lull. Weather conditions have made for relatively poor lighting, but mostly I'm just behind in editing photos.  Well, this morning I went to the marina on Lake Monroe.  It's a pretty nice marina, for the most part, and a friend of mine found a Royal Tern there yesterday, so I thought I'd see if it was sticking around.  Unfortunately, it wasn't there today when I was.  But there were about 10 Forster's Terns and 12 Caspian Terns around, and several of them were pretty actively flying near the edge of the marina in decent light.  So I took a few Caspian Tern pictures.  For some reason I have a tougher time with Caspian Terns than with others.  I believe it's the eyes.  It seems far more difficult to get catch light in them, and so they often look sunken into the head and less attractive. So this morning I co…

Le Conte's Sparrow at Mullet Lake Park

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I found this park around November of last year, and the first time I visited I thought it might be a great place for some fun sparrows to show up.  However, despite many visits, until this morning I've only seen Savannah and Swamp Sparrows here.  But this morning I got to add a third sparrow species to the list--Le Conte's Sparrow! I'm still hoping there may be more treasures to be found in this wonderful little park, but I'm really happy with this one.  This is the prettiest sparrow I've ever seen. When I first saw the sparrow, I had my ISO set at 1600, since it had been pretty dark. The sparrow popped up when the lighting was starting to improve. But after a few minutes the lighting was better I decided to lower my ISO to 125 and try again. The sparrow was up as I walked back to the area, and I took the above photo. The photos below were the first ones I took. They aren't nearly as good, but they let you see different views of this beautiful sparrow!

Orlando Wetlands Park, 2/2/2014

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What a fantastic morning at Orlando Wetlands Park!  The area was just filled with birds.  Of course, top on my list was seeing a Vermilion Flycatcher. It was right where has been--in the cypress trees in cell #17.  But the area was also filled with other birds.  Lots of Blue-winged Teal and Green-winged Teal, as well as a Gadwall, a few Northern Shovelers and American Wigeon.  There were also at least 40 Roseate Spoonbills, and I suspect many more. I didn't attempt to count them, but a friend of mine counted over 100 in the afternoon. There were also at least 45 American White Pelicans that flew over the park.  Perhaps the biggest surprise was seeing over 120 Long-billed Dowitchers, with a few Dunlin mixed in with them.  And in reality, the photograph below shows closer to 150 I believe. There were many wading birds there, including on American Bittern and 2 Least Bitterns (heard only), and a couple Purple Gallinules. In all we saw 72 species on the morning--pretty fun.