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Showing posts from 2017

Butterflies at Central Winds Park, 4/24/2017

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On April 24, I visited Central Winds Park to look for migrants. It was really slow. So I decided to turn my attention to butterflies.  However, since they removed the butterfly garden, the park was pretty slow for butterflies as well. I did see a couple Red Admirals flying around, and an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, but that was about it. Then I decided to go to the dog park next to see what might be there. I found a couple small butterflies around a little area with flowers, and I photographed both of them. One was a Red-banded Hairstreak; unfortunately, I couldn't quite get to the right angle for this guy, so he's facing a little bit away from me. The other was a Dainty Sulphur, and I got my best photos of this species nectaring on dogfruit.  


Black-throated Blue Warbler

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On April 21, I drove to Maitland Community Park after work. It was pretty slow, but along the boardwalk I found 2 Black-throated Blue Warblers. One of them flew into the bushes right in front of me and started foraging along the leaves. Every once in a while, he would stay put in the sun long enough for me to get photos. I've been trying for years to get presentable photos of this species. Unfortunately, his bill is partially obscured in some of the photos, but I'll take it. I'm amazed at the detail in some of these photos.







Song Sparrow on Canal St.

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Song Sparrows are tough in Central Florida. A little farther north and they're pretty common, but around here, I only see perhaps 1-2 in a winter.  And then they rarely cooperate. They often stay low in their favorite brushy habitat and keep to themselves--they aren't really interested in singing in the winter time. So on Feb 27, I was surprised to see this guy perched up on top of the brush in full view. Finally I have presentable photos of a Song Sparrow in Seminole County.



Marl Bed Flats, 4/17/2017

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On April 17th, I visited Marl Bed Flats, and I did something I haven't done in years. I took my 180 mm macro lens and not my 400 mm telephoto lens. My bet was that I wouldn't see any birds that needed photographing but I would see bugs that needed photographing. Thankfully, I was right. I walked out to Lake Jesup looking for birds, and walked back looking for bugs. There were lots of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies that took a good deal of my attention. I got my first presentable photos of a Southern Skipperling and my first ever photos of a Big Bluet. Here are the dragonflies and damselflies I'd seen.




Here are some more of the butterflies I saw.  Including the Southern Skipperling above, I only saw three species, though there were several of each, especially Little Yellows.


Central Winds Park, 4/18/2017

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On April 18, I walked around Central Winds Park looking for birds and bugs. I didn't see many of either, but I did find a few bugs worth photographing, in particular a Rambur's Forktail and a very cool-looking spider, which I believe is Leucauge argyra.

Little Big Econ WMA (Kilbee Tract), 4/19/2017

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On April 19, I got up early and drove to the Kilbee Tract of the Little Big Econ WMA. I was hoping to find shorebirds, and my biggest hope was to find an Upland Sandpiper, which I've never seen before. There's plenty of dry grass there, and it just seems like the perfect place to find one. I got there before sunrise walked the 1.3 mile road to the flats. The first thing I noticed was a Coyote sitting among the cattle. When it saw me, it stood up, looked at me, and then trotted off. That was my first photo of a Coyote.



Once out there, I was a bit surprised at how few shorebirds there were. There were three Long-billed Dowitchers along the Econ River, as well as a few Least Sandpipers and yellowlegs, but not much else. Then as I walked a little farther south I saw a very small pond that was nearly full of shorebirds--mostly yellowlegs, but a few Black-necked Stilts and a Black-bellied Plover. I was still pretty far away, so I decided to photograph the flock just in case they fl…

Tosohatchee WMA, 4/12/2017 (Part 2)

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About a week ago I shared the fun experience I had with Jeff Cagle at Tosohatchee WMA. We found about 30 butterflies, and more than half of them were new to me. Especially the skippers. I'm finding out that skippers can be extraordinarily difficult to identify. Some of them are like the empids of the butterfly world. Perhaps I'll feel differently once I get to know them more, but right now, that's how I feel.


But skippers are kind of fun as well, and their small size makes them somewhat of a challenge to photograph. But often they don't mind me getting close to them if I move slowly enough, and that left me with some half-way decent photos of these guys. And that makes for some exciting time.



With my colorblind eyes, I think of these skippers in groups of "orange" and "brown." The orange ones can be really hard to tell apart from each other, and the brown ones can be equally hard to tell apart. But with Jeff's help (and the expertise of the goo…

Oakland Nature Preserve, 4/20/2017

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I decided to visit Oakland Nature Preserve for the first time in February after someone reported a Golden-crowned Kinglet there. There were actually 3 of them there, and they stayed round there for more than month. The park is wonderful. There's a very nice boardwalk that takes you to the southern shore of Lake Apopka, and the first time I was there, I found about 11 species of wintering warblers there--an almost unheard of total for the winter.  I decided that day that I needed to visit more often this Spring.


So this morning I visited hoping to find migrating warblers. I walked the boardwalk and then some of the trails that take you through the pines. I was surprised at how slow it was. I tallied just three warbler species on the morning: Northern Parula, Common Yellowthroat and Pine Warbler. There were lots of birds around, but warblers were really scarce. The biggest boardwalk highlight was a calling Yellow-billed Cuckoo, though even that bird wasn't kind enough to come s…

Eastern Pygmy Blue

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On April 15th, I drove out to Merritt Island to look for birds. I didn't find much. It's been so dry that much of the mudflats are all dried up, and Biolab Rd is still closed. It would have been nearly a complete loss were it not for this Eastern Pygmy Blue that showed up at the pumphouse. It took a while for the butterfly to cooperate with the limitations of my 400mm lens. I almost went and got my macro and came back, but I decided I didn't have enough time. Anyway, it's a pretty little blue.

Spring Hammock Preserve, 4/6/2017

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On April 6, I visited Spring Hammock Preserve. I go there frequently this time of year because it's a good place to get Prothonotary Warblers and Yellow-billed Cuckoos (found the former, not the latter). While walking the trails, though, I enjoyed seeing the dragonflies and other insects that were dancing in and out of the lit areas of the trail.  Most of the dragonflies were either Great Blue Skimmers or Blue Dashers (there may have been others that escaped my notice).


There was also a very interesting bee working on some of the flowers in the shade. The wings of the bee look like they have blue iridescence. So far I've been completely unable to find the name of this bee. Should I get an update from Bug Guide, I'll update this post.






Sunset at Marl Bed Flats, 4/7/2017

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On April 7, I visited Marl Bed Flats to view the sunset. I also wanted to see what shorebirds might be present, and a number of them flew in to the area right at dusk (about 100 Least Sandpipers, several dowitchers and yellowlegs, 2 Stilt Sandpipers, and about 5 Black-necked Stilts). But the sunset turned out to be the highlight of the evening.  We don't have anything resembling topography here in Central Florida, and the highest point in this whole park may be only about 5 ft above sea level (Lake Jesup is below 3 ft about sea level). So to make a sunset interesting, you have to use trees. There's a row of trees marking the "trail" out int he flats, so I decided to use those trees for the foreground.


Before sunset, I played around with photographing solitary trees in the flats--one alive and one dead. It gave me a sense of solitude that mirrored my own experience out there. There was no one within perhaps 2 miles of me that evening.