Showing posts from November, 2014


Lately I've been considering why it is I find birding so continuously fascinating, and even addicting. Of course there's the beauty of the birds, the thrill of finding them (especially rarities), and the challenge of learning to identify them.  I also have great interest in learning about their behavior--why they act the way they do.  It's a fascinating endeavor.  But recently I've become more aware of another reason why I'm fascinated by birding--the rhythms of nature.

I'm growing in my appreciation and understanding of this aspect of birding--I certainly have not arrived.  But year after year, I'm starting to at least appreciate the rhythms of nature in Florida and how it affects my birding.

Peninsular Florida has a rainy and a dry season.  We talk about the four seasons, and I suppose you could say we experience them to some degree, but  October to May is our dry season and June to September is rainy.  So our summers as hot and wet and our winters are r…

Dark-eyed Junco

This past week I was in St.Louis, and I had no time for any birding, but I did walk around the campus where I was working looking to see what may be lurking around.  I didn't see anything unusual, but it was nice to see many White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos, which we don't get to see much in Central Florida. So these are my first photos of the "slate-colored" subspecies of Dark-eyed Juncos.

Last November I visited my sister in Seattle, and there I photographed my first "Oregon" subspecies as well.

Great Cormorant at Port Orange

Yesterday I saw my first Great Cormorant, a lifer for me. Aside from the fact it was having a bad feather day, it's a beautiful bird.  This bird was found over  a week ago about a half mile south of where I saw it yesterday.  We spent about an hour looking for it there; then we gave up and decided to cross the Halifax River and head over to the beach. As we got onto the bridge, I saw some cormorants north of it; we pulled over at the Port Orange Causeway Park, and sure enough, one was the Great Cormorant.  We watched it on its perch for a while, but then an Osprey knocked it off its perch, and it began to work its way south. At one point it caught a large fish, though it dropped it.  I'm thankful for that Osprey. Were it not for that bird, the cormorant would not have given us any better photos than the last photo below.

White-crowned Sparrow on Canal St.

Fun Sparrows are continuing to arrive here in Central Florida; the latest I've seen is this young White-crowned Sparrow.  This one appeared in one of my favorite sparrow spots in Seminole County; they seem to come here every year. Last Fall, I saw one here a couple times, but the area was disturbed when the road was paved early this year, and I couldn't find any here since then.  I was hoping I'd get the chance to see one this Fall here, and thankfully one showed up.  I also found my first Vesper Sparrow of the Fall, but it was too far away for photos.

Two Subspecies of Yellow-throated Warbler

Yellow-throated Warblers are one of my favorite warblers. They are one of our more common warblers here in Florida during Spring and Fall migration, but some can be found all winter long, and a few even breed here in the summer. We have two subspecies of Yellow-throated Warbler that occur here in Florida.

Dominica Subspecies (Yellow-lored)
Most of our Yellow-throated Warblers have a little bit of yellow on front of their eyebrows or supercilium and long bills. Up north they prefer Loblolly Pines on their northern breeding grounds, though when I see them here, I frequently see them in palm trees.

Albilora Subspecies (White-lored)
But on rare occasions we see some with all white on their supercilium and shorter bills. They prefer breeding grounds among sycamore trees, but I haven't seen enough of them here in Florida to guess what they prefer as they pass through.

It can be tempting to dismiss Yellow-throated Warblers in search of rarer birds.  But I still like to take an interest in…