I've learned my lesson, I don't wear shorts anymore on cold mornings. But it seems someone has yet to learn his. It was cold, but 6 of us braved the weather to get our fix of birds for the day. It was a bit slow at first, but as the sun warmed the tops of the trees, a mix of birds appeared.
Ken Spilios took the photo to the left. His caption goes like this: Fred: Where did you see an Anhinga? Tim: Ahh.......right here.....
We had seen a Snail Kite, but knew of more at La Chua Trail. They didn't disappoint. There were more than 10 flying over the water on the boardwalk. We spent quite a lot of time getting good photos.
Love is in the air. A Great Blue was busy adding sticks to her nest Actually there were two different blue's building nests in the same small cluster of trees.
We spent about 15 minutes watching as this Northern Harrier had an altercation with a Limpkin. We really couldn't figure out the reason the Harrier would dive down and a Limpkin would jump at the Harrier. This went on for quite some time until the Harrier decided that it wasn't getting any results and decided to take to the skies in search of an easier meal. The total species for Sweetwater was 43.
This patch of water plants was striking in that the sun seemed to have just beamed down to make them a bright spot in the darkness.
It was a perfect morning at Wallace Brooks Park in Inverness. Seven of us gathered there and had an enjoyable time birding north along the Withlacoochee State Trail. After making our way along the adjacent lakeside boardwalk, we arrived at Liberty Park where Fred Hileman took a group photo. The junction of the bike trail and North Apopka Ave. was active. A female Pileated Woodpecker worked a wooden telephone pole for insects. Bluebirds were on the wires. Yellow-rumped Warblers were just north of the crossing.
We stopped along the lake edge to observe a 10" baby alligator cross in front of us. Our first question was, where is mamma? After getting the photo op, we hurriedly left the area in case mamma was nearby.
About 30 yards before the first green bench on the left, an opening in the brush on the left led to a lake overlook. There was a short tree sticking out of the water. A Great Blue Heron nest was clearly visible with binoculars. A pair reared two young there last January and February. Although no adults were there when we were, they are known to visit that nest daily. January 1st or so may well find a female sitting on eggs.
Farther along the trail two of our group were checking an area of the lake for movement when just beside them the Great Egret appeared and seemed to say, "Can you see me now?" They seem to be totally unaware of the egret's presence. The 150 yards from the bench to the bridge was alive with birds. Ruby- crowned Kinglets hovered like hummingbirds looking for insects on outer edges of bushes. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers mewed and gave us good looks. A Black and White Warbler was seen by most as it worked its way along a tree branch. A kingfisher rattled as it flew across the trail.
After returning to our cars, we drove a short distance to Cooter Pond. The boardwalk there yielded three more species. They were Black Vulture, White Ibis, and Snowy Egret. We learned there that Snowiness sometimes spew poo while flying. One does not know if or when this newly discovered fact might become useful all of a sudden…….
In all, 45 species were identified .Photos Courtesy of Fred Hileman & Bob Ross. Blog by Rey Wells.
“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get." -Forrest Gump
Field trips are like a box of chocolates, we never know what we are going to get. The Carney Island field trip started out with blustery weather and hopes for better weather looked bleak. Looking out over Little Lake Weir did not show us any birds on or over the water. The shoreline was not much better. We did have a number of birds in the trees surrounding the parking lot. Gnatcatchers, Chickadees, Phoebes, and a few warblers were seen. Mostly Yellow-rumped warblers in the trees and Palm warblers on the ground. The skies turned darker as we drove over to the boat ramp area. It turned out that Hurricanes Ian and Nicole had done extensive damage to the pier and boat ramp. We were not able to walk out on the pier and the skies over the lake showed a line of dark clouds coming our way. The winds hit about that time, too, and Fred and Tim had enough. They did see a flock of Turkeys on the way out of the park, though. We remaining six headed over to the trail to be out of the wind. The rains never did come. A few more Yellow-rumped warblers, Kinglet sand Chickadees came out to see what we were up to, and the group did get to see a nice Prairie Warbler in the trees near the picnic area. The trail was not any better for birds and after a half mile Rey said enough and headed back. He did get a few more bird on the way back. The rest of us hiked on. The good news is persistence pays off. The weather cleared, the winds died, and we started to see birds. A Bald Eagle flew over us and a Kestrel flew to a nearby treetop. We hiked to the end of the point and headed back and after 3.5 miles the group was claiming it felt like a military forced march but what a beautiful march it was. The day turned out lovely and we did tally 27 species. Don’t ever be afraid of what is in the box of chocolates, you never know what you’ll get.