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Showing posts from 2017

Gull-billed Terns at Orlando Wetlands Park, 11/24/2017

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I decided to wander around Orlando Wetlands Park this morning and found a wonderful surprise. Two Gull-billed Terns were parked together right next to the main trail. I've never been happy with my photos of this species before, and I think today's photographs were my favorite.




Ducks are increasing in numbers with every visit. This morning there were bunches of both Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, lots of Northern Pintail, one Northern Shoveler, one Wigeon, a Gadwall, many Ring-necked Ducks, and a few Lesser Scaup, not to mention Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks everywhere.

Baird's Sandpiper at Orlando Wetlands Park, 9/25/2017

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Two days ago, one of my friends found a Baird's Sandpiper at Orlando Wetlands Park, and several of us saw it yesterday (and it's still being seen today). I drove out to it during my lunch break and came back to the office all excited. Of course, my friends at work thought I was nerding out over a bird that "looks just like any other sandpiper."  The bird was on Wetlands Blvd between Limpkin and Bobcat Rds.  It was very kind to us because it was hanging out with both a Pectoral Sandpiper and a Least Sandpiper, so we could compare sizes. It's a beautiful bird.


There were only a few other shorebirds there: about 12 Least Sandpipers, 1 Pectoral, 1 Semipalmated, 4 Limpkin and 6 Lesser Yellowlegs.



Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, 7/15/2017

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A couple weeks ago I visited the wildlife drive at Lake Apopka. I decided to use my macro lens and see if I could go my whole time just photographing insects and spiders. I made it all the way until the sod fields near the end of the drive, when I had to put my 400 mm lens back on.


I saw two species of spiders, a Black and Yellow Argiope and a Larinia species orbweaver. These were probably the most challenging to photograph. The Lavinia sp. was pretty small, and it had become quite windy, so just getting a sharp photo was a bit of a challenge. I photographed two odes, a Rambur's Forktail and an Eastern Amberwing.



I also had some fun photos of butterflies and moths, in particular, a Southern Skipperling, a Fiery Skipper, and a Yellow-collared Scape Moth. The scape moth was probably the most fun find of the morning for me.




And last but not least, I found a really cool hoverfly and another really cool beefly.


After I made it to the sod fields, there were about 400 or so Swallow-tai…

Geneva Wilderness Area, 7/27/2017

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After having such a wonderful time this past Saturday at Lake Proctor looking for butterflies and dragonflies, I thought I'd try a different park with a similar habitat. Geneva Wilderness Area is a little closer, but it has three ponds with similar habitat. So I decided I'd check those ponds before work. They are surrounded by pines with grassy fields near them, and from what I'm learning that's a pretty good type of place to look for dragonflies.


I didn't see nearly as many dragonflies as on Saturday, but I did get about 15 species, and two of them were new to me: Carolina Spreadwing and Cherry Bluet. There were several species that were at Lake Proctor as well: Banded Pennant, Golden-winged Skimmer, Halloween Pennant, Little Blue Dragonlet, Atlantic Bluet, and Rambur's Forktail.




On the way out to the ponds, I also saw a Twilight Darner. I'm learning that these are more common here than I had originally thought.




Marl Bed Flats, 7/26/2017

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This morning I decided to head out to Marl Bed Flats to see what birds and bugs I might find. I was pleased to see that the flats aren't nearly as dry as they were the last time I visited. There was standing water near the slough, and that was encouraging to me. I didn't see a lot of birds, but there were bugs everywhere. I saw several species of dragonflies and damselflies. The biggest treat was seeing two mating Rambur's Forktails. They didn't mind me getting close with my camera, so I got my first decent photos of a mated pair.




I only photographed three butterflies: Little Yellow, Southern Skipperling, and Common/White Checkered Skipper.



It was also fun to find a different species of bee fly (I think Poecilanthrax lucifer)  and a new species of assassin bug (I think Acanthocephala terminalis).



Wirz Park, 7/25/2017

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This morning I dropped by Wirz Park to see what kinds of birds and bugs I might find before work. Last time I visited this park I saw several Scarlet Skimmers, which are one of the few (and possibly the only) invasive dragonfly species. My understanding is that they are native to Japan. But they are very pretty, and the males are so brilliantly red that I can pick them out against a green back ground, even with my red-green colorblindness. I was surprised to see several other species here too, including several Pin-tailed Pondhawks, which were new to me this far north.  Several of these dragonflies posed quite nicely for photos, so I thought I'd share them. I'm somewhat amazed that I've made two blog posts in a row with not a single bird or landscape photo. So weird.






Lake Proctor Wilderness Area, 7/22/2017

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This morning a friend and I decided to head out to Lake Proctor Wilderness Area to do some birding and look for dragonflies. The habitat here seemed like it might be good for a Purple Skimmer, and we wanted to see if we could find any here.  Lake Proctor is pretty low right now, and really it amounts to several ponds, but the whole area is surrounded by pine trees, and parts of it appear to have a sandy bottom, and that's a good area for Purple Skimmer. We didn't see any, but we did see about the same number of odonata species as we saw bird species, about 20 each.


I'm pretty much a novice at dragonflies, and I don't think I've ever seen so many different species on one place. I saw 8 new species: Seepage Dancer, Atlantic Bluet, Lilypad Forktail, Comet Darner, Wandering Glider, Amanda's Pennant, Ornate Pennant, and Banded Pennant.





There were also some other insects that posed nicely for photos. My favorite is a little grasshopper that I  haven't yet identi…