Saturday, June 30, 2007

Backyard Flurry

We have had a pretty good year for young birds around the house this season though no nests were actually found on the property. In fact, there seems to have been a second clutch of Cardinal babies this year as I remember when the first were actively feeding at the feeders and for a few weeks now there are a couple of other youngsters fighting for space.

The count so far is the Cardinals, some Tufted Titmice, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downey Woodpeckers, Mourning Dove (the all too approachable chick from a couple of months ago was taken by the Cooper's Hawk), and a new Blue Jay.

Today, there was a flurry of activty all through the backyard and the adjoining yard which featured many House Finches and a very curious Brown Thrasher. I have banded many Thrashers at Wekiva and this one seemed much younger than any I have previously held over the years. It foraged in several spots as I watched into the afternoon.

On one check on the side yard after I filled the kitchen-side feeder, this female Downey Woodpecker was too busy searching for food to care much about my wanderings.

Downey Woodpecker

At one point, around noon, we had Grackles, Mourning Doves, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Titmice, and House Finches all trying to claim a space on the three feeders there.

Just across the yard, Great Creasted Flycatchers worked the oaks and Turk's Turbans. One was definitely a newly fledged bird.

Not a bad way to end the month of June.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Smiling Bird Finally Photographed

A story from National Geographic. A bird that looks like it is smiling was rediscovered and finally photographed.

Read on.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Our Very Own Screech Owl

The day began with an interesting visitor. A rather larger rodent was inpecting the squirrel feeder. In broad daylight!

I headed out, grabbing a broom handle I keep just outside the backdoor that I use to move the squirrels along if they are hogging the feeders from the birds. The rodent bolted as soon as I hit the back deck and I could not relocate it.

I vowed to buy a trap on the way home and take care of the situation.

As night fell, I armed the trap and decided to set it up near the squirrel feeder. Just after I laid it down I stood up and glanced to ward the backyard. There was a shape sitting atop the tray feeder pole. It seemed about Mourning Dove size and color in the dim light. Doves? Awake at this hour?

I turned to head in for a camera just in case it was what I was starting to figure out. I pre-focused inside the house knowing my small digital wouldn't get a look in the near total darkness and headed back out out. I took one shot but it was horribly out of focus. I needed a flashlight to try and add to my chance of a shot. I headed back.

My wife had now gotten to the backdoor following my excited footsteps. When I tried to point out the bird behind me I turned and the shape was gone. I asked for a flashlight.

Moving down toward the tray feeder I could barely make out the shape now in the laurel tree just past the deck. Yep. A Screech Owl! I tried a couple of shots but the best I could manage was this.

Screech Owl

Seems I might not need that trap after all. I had a much better one right here. This was the first time I have ever seen a Screech Owl in this area. Farthest south in town at all.

Let the hunting begin, little owl. Eat up!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Spoonbills Visit Orlando

Yesterday, I stopped by Lake Davis to snap some shots to combine to make a panorama-type composite to show the low lake level. Today we started to get some rain storms move through so on the way home I decided to swing around and see if I could notice any rise in the waters.

It was still raining lightly and nearly dark as I arrived at the lake but out on 'bird island' I could make out some larger shapes congregating there. I got the binoculars out and pulled closer.

Beside the black and white Woodstorks there was a slightly smaller bird and definitely PINK! Really?!?

By the time I was able to park just past a stand of cypress trees the bird had begun to forage. Indeed, it was a Roseatte Spoonbill right here in the backyard neighborhood!

Roseatte Spoonbill

Lake Davis continues to surprise this year.

Spoonbills generally hang out around the coasts and rarely make a stop this far inland. A nice addition to the color palette during this quiet beginning to Summer.

Let it rain...

NOTE: I am a bit behind on my posts, though I have a few drafts still waiting in the wings that date back to the start of June. Be sure to check back later and scroll down for any other June sighting I haven't entered yet. Hopefully, I can catch up before the end of the month!