Showing posts from March, 2017

Henslow's Sparrows at Hal Scott Preserve, 3/25/2017

A few days ago a friend of mine visited Hal Scott to monitor the Red-cockaded Woodpeckers that breed on the grounds. As he walked through the wiregrass, he flushed about 3 Henslow's Sparrows.  There is so much good habitat for this species in this park, but I've never really gone searching for them because they're so hard to find. But it seems this Spring, they've started singing, and they even pop up onto branches to be seen.

So a group of us set out yesterday morning to find these sparrows. The spot was about 4 miles away from the parking area, and we needed to be there around sunrise, so we rode bikes to get to the spot. It didn't take long, but my bike was woefully unprepared for the journey. I only have a road bike with thin tires, and the bike is over 20 years old. It's a very good bike, but I found out it's in disrepair. Tires are dry rotted, and as I rode out there, the rear tire frayed on one side--it was literally shredded, exposing the tube. How…

Tall Timbers After a Burn

On my way back from Dothan, AL on March 19, I decided to drop by Tall Timbers on my way home. As I drove up to the entrance, I realized I had made a crucial planning error. They had a controlled burn the day before, and it was still smoldering when I arrived. In fact, some trees still had some flames on them. I asked a man who worked there if it would be okay to walk the trail, and he said it was. So I walked down to the pond. It was great to see several Red-headed Woodpeckers, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, a White-throated Sparrow, and a White-breasted Nuthatch. But I most entranced by the smoldering fire. I was somewhat impressed with the control they can use. The pathway was largely unburned, and you could see the brown path cutting through the charred ground on either side. I thought that was pretty fun, which inspired the photos.

Field Sparrow at My Feeder

Yesterday morning I checked my feeder as I was heading out for work and I saw a strange-looking sparrow on the ground under my feeder. I pulled out my binoculars and saw it was a Field Sparrow. What a surprise! I put out my feeder just after Christmas, and over the weeks since then, the number of birds coming to my feeder has steadily increased. I've now seen 11 species at my feeder, but this one is by far my favorite. I never thought of Field Sparrows as feeder birds, but there it was, along with about 8 Chipping Sparrows, which have been regulars at my feeders. I guess this one was passing through, saw the chippies and decided to rest here on its migration north.  I opened my window and fired off a couple shots before heading off for work.  That afternoon, it was gone.

Yellow-headed Blackbird

I've been chasing sightings of Yellow-headed Blackbirds in Florida for years. I've gone to Palm Beach County, where they are regular in the winter time, I've gone up to Alachua County, where they've been seen the day before and the day after I was there. I've chased them around Lake Apopka, where they've always eluded me. One showed up in a Wal-Mart parking lot a few weeks ago about a half-hour from my house, but it wasn't kind enough to wait around until I could get there. So when someone reported one on March 16th at a small park in Orange Co. I'd never even heard of before, I was a bit skeptical that I'd actually find the bird. I had to drive up to Alabama the next morning, but I decided to take an hour to look for it.

But once I found the spot, the bird was easy to find. And it was an incredibly cooperative adult male. He spent a lot of time throwing his head back calling. I found this behavior very entertaining and fascinating. The male is so…