Friday, August 31, 2007

Skimmers

Carol Miller writes....

We were treated to a flock of Black Skimmers doing their thing Tuesday evening; we were down at St.Mark's on one of Andy's walks. Besides all the birds,there were two rats, three raccoons, an otter, a bobcat, and two deer.

Carol also captured this great action shot of a feeding skimmer.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Wood Storks

There has been approximately 50 Wood Storks on Headquarters Pond, St Marks NWR recently. Yesterday there were 5 Roseate Spoonbills mixed in with them plus about 100 Snowy Egrets and 50 Great Egrets. Other highlights on the refuge included 3 Wilson's Phalaropes and a bunch of Yellow Warblers.


video

Andy

Not Gonna Share!

Glenda Simmons writes.....

This Dove was in the feeder first, minding his business, when the Red-bellied Woodpecker blasted in, claiming the feeder. He started yelling at the dove to get out, and after a few moments, the dove had had enough and left the selfish Woodpecker to pig-out...or Bird-Out!


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Empty Nest Syndrome!

Glenda Simmons sent us a summary of her Bluebird nesting season, as well as a selection of beautiful photographs. She writes...

I've had such an incredible nesting season with my Resident Bluebird pair. The highlights were witnessing the first two fledge; having the first one land on my head!! Another very special moment was holding the "Little Red Wagon" at arms distance and having Dad and a couple of the fledglings land on it for a mealworm treat. Twelve fledglings and thousands of mealworms later....I now have EMPTY NEST SYNDROME!









Monday, August 20, 2007

Sandhill Cranes

a story and pictures from Carol Miller......

Last week, when I was over in Palatka, I went birding at the Welaka National Fish Hatchery, on the Eastern section of the Great Florida Birding Trail. As I was taking pictures of the usual suspects, I heard a horrible commotion coming from one of the other ponds...a pair of Sandhill Cranes coming in for landing. What a treat! They bowed and danced and posed their way down the edge of the pond so I could get a good look. WOW!





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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Mississippi Kite

Bonnie Nielsen emailed us a couple of great pictures she took recently of a Mississippi Kite, which paid a visit to her backyard. Mississippi Kites nest in our area and will soon be heading south for the winter. They are typically here between early-April and mid-September.







Tuesday, August 14, 2007

male Ruby-throated Hummingbird


This beautiful male defended 2 of our 6 hummingbird feeders today with his life! It was extremely funny to see him chase a Blue Jay away! We have at least a dozen hummingbirds visiting our feeders at the moment!


Andy

Monday, August 13, 2007

Box Turtle


It isn't just birds that live in our yard, we also have all kinds of other wildlife including a family of Box Turtles! Every once in a while one will come onto our porch looking for a handout. Apples and lettuce seem to be their favorite. We tend to see them more in the summer when it is hot.

Andy

Friday, August 10, 2007

"Night Crawlers" and more...

As we were leaving St Marks one evening we had to stop several times to avoid snakes that were resting on the road. When we approached the first two snakes they obliged us and wriggled away ino the woods. However, the third and biggest snake refused to budge! Mary dared me to get out and take a photograph....it was a beautiful but large Florida Water Snake. These snakes feed on fish and amphibians and are non-venomous; when disturbed, they flatten their bodies and their heads appear triangular like members of the viper family such as the Eastern Diamondback Rattler. After two photos my water snake suddenly reared up and backed into the roadside vegetation. Continuing down the lighthouse road, we also saw 3 Great Horned Owls, one of which had a snake for supper...thus the circle of life goes on.
Our evening trip to the refuge was filled with many other exciting encounters. Black Skimmers, Roseate Spoonbills, Common Nighthawk, Black-crowned Night Heron, American White Pelicans and Black-necked Stilts all obliged and gave us great looks.

Susan

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Serendipity




Carol Miller sent us this story and pics from her recent birding trip to St. Pete.....


While visiting in St. Petersburg last month, I went in search of Monk Parakeets that I knew used to nest in a local substation. After locating their nests, my husband and I went across the Pinellas Bayway to Ft.Desoto. On the way, we came to a quick stop when I spied Magnificent Frigatebirds flying over a pond. I saw some more parakeets on a wire when I got out to snap the Frigatebirds. I didn't notice that the parakeets were Black-Hooded until I looked at the pictures on the camera. What a great find!












Wednesday, August 8, 2007

St Marks NWR


You know you love birds and being a birder when you brave 100 degree heat, 85% humidity and Yellow Flies as big as hummingbirds! The birds were truly terrific today at the refuge. We saw 19 species of shorebird including many Black-necked Stilts and Wilson's Plovers. The Roseate Spoonbills and American White Pelicans are still present. We also saw a River Otter out on Stoney Bayou. The Yellow Warblers are migrating thru, we saw 3.
Hopefully it will get cooler sooner rather than later but it won't stop me from birding!
happy birding
Andy

Monday, August 6, 2007

Urban Birding

Driving north on busy Monroe St. Saturday afternoon...hot, hungry....slight motion above the windshield...I glance up to see a lovely Swallowtail Kite gliding overhead. AHA!

I immediately pull into the drive-thru at DQ and order a medium vanilla cone dipped in chocolate to celebrate my luck!

Urban Birding from Michele

Friday, August 3, 2007

Eastern Kingbirds

the really great thing about being a birder is that you can pretty much have an exciting encounter with a bird almost anywhere. Last night after dinner we needed to pick up something at our nearby Winn Dixie. I got out of the truck and noticed an Eastern Kingbird singing and flying around above our heads like a bat! Male birds will often do this when there is a territorial rival nearby. Well, there was another kingbird and he was over by the store doing his bat dance too. We watched both male kingbirds flutter back and forth singing and calling until one gave up and flew back into his own territory on the other side of the carpark. Visits to pick up groceries are normally very dull but last nights was great!

Happy birding

Andy

Barred Owl


We often hear Barred Owls in our neighborhood but we rarely see them, so when this beautiful bird suddenly appeared in our backyard we were both really excited. He even posed for pictures.
Barred Owls are common in Tallahassee and they sing at night. "Who cooks for you, who cooks for y'all".
Happy Birding
Mary