Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lake Lotus Banding, May 31st, 2009

A new volunteer joined us as we were chock full of Carolina Wren chicks and a skeletal find peaks our interest.

Head to the Wekiva blog here to see the whole report.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lake Lotus Banding, May 24th

We took a week off while the family camped with a Cub Scout crew but returned for more as soon as possible.

Heavy rains have fallen across the area for a while, erasing our drought, and it has brought the waters up. Way up! The Little Wekiva River overflowed its banks near the lake and prevented the opening of all 15 nets.

It was still a fun day and we enjoyed finding plants and sloshing through the other exploding vegetative growth.

Head to the Wekiva blog here to see the whole report.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Greenwood Cemetery Fox

Volunteer day in preparation for the upcoming Memorial Day event at Greenwood Cemetery yielded a pleasant surprise.

I drove the oldest in while making a swing around the left curve to see if we could find any fox sightings as the den is located there. No luck.

We drove on and circled the area where we would soon straighten headstones to make the remembrance ceremonies more visually pleasing. During the last drive around the edge of the cemetery, we spotted the animal we were after earlier.

Red Fox

It stayed for a bit to watch us. Apparently, we were in its line of travel and instead of going around us it decided to wait for us to move on.

We did. It did.

Beautiful animal.

Monday, May 18, 2009

White-winged Dove and Woodpeckers

Another day of much-needed rain. Another day of a White-winged Dove sighting. This time waiting up in the dripping trees.

White-winged Dove

Over at the tray feeder, a Red-winged Blackbird scooped up wet seed to carry back to the lake down the road. No sign of chicks yet but they usually start joining the adults after they leave the nest.

Red-winged Blackbird

In the middle of the yard, the dove came down to feed and to caution the Red-bellied Woodpecker adult that has become very bold. It even flies down right next to me as I fill feeders in the morning.

White-winged Dove and Red-bellied Woodpecker

The colors are just wonderful this time of year.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

The reason for the boldness is due, in large part, to the demands put on it by this very hungry chick which is also getting bolder day by day.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Gotta love baby time in the yard.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

White-winged Dove Return

The rains have opened up all over the place, hopefully taking a bite out of the drought. They also have seen the return of a species not seen here for a while. A White-winged Dove!

White-winged Dove

Nice to see something slightly different than the abundant Mourning Doves. This bird could be a young one based on visual observations through the rain.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cub Scout Campout

We had a camping trip with the Cub Scout group of families at Camp La No Che. The prospect of a few days in the heat of Florida usually weighs heavily but the thought of doing a little birding along the way softens the blow a bit. Plus, it is good to get a chance to spread some birding knowledge with the young ones.

There were a pair of Sandhill Cranes at the entrance to the camping grounds which was a nice start. By the time we made it to the tents the bird song was clear and I planned to explore a bit at least by morning.

The most vocal of birds around us were Northern Parula which were feeding everywhere overhead. Joining the calls of the males was another call. Young chicks were chasing the adults around begging for food. Every now and then an adult would venture down lower to provide a photo op.

Northern Parula

Glancing through the treetops while tracking the Parula I noticed a Swallow-tailed Kite soaring across the strong breeze.

Swallow-tailed Kite

We had planned a nature hike up to the sulphur spring to give the kids a chance to look for some things found in nature nearby. It was such a hit that we went back a couple more times.

Sulphur Springs

On the way back from the first hike I heard a song up in the pines. Finally, I found the Summer Tanager near the top of one tree.

Summer Tanager

Near the tent, a squirrel competes for food along with the Parulas.


As did a few Tufted Titmice.

Tufted Titmouse

Foraging for ants, a Six-lined Racer scampered back and forth.

Six-lined Racer

Despite the ticks, all had a great time. We all headed home just as the rains moved in. Always fun at La No Che.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Remaining Mallard Youngsters

The remaining 5 ducklings from the clutch I have been watching are still around. No more losses so far. They are growing fast and hanging tight to mom.


While Mom makes sure that they do so.



Monday, May 11, 2009

Killdeer Begin Again

Seems like after the (apparent) failure of the last brood the Killdeer are trying to start at a new nesting site along the banks of Lake Davis.

I walked down to see where they were seen a day ago and found one of the birds bathing in the water.


A closer search led to the discovery of the other of the pair seemingly sitting on a new nest spot.


The bathing bird noticed my discovery and quickly ran up to tell me to back the heck off.


The other bird held its ground and made an alarm call. I snapped a couple of shots (all of these using the zoom so I wasn't THAT close) and let them be and wished them luck.


Wishing them well. Another watch begins.

UPDATE: A couple days later I drove by to discover that the city ground workers were in full bore trimming and mowing down near the shore. This pretty much destroyed the nesting area. Great. Maybe next year...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lake Lotus, May 10th

Owls are still wandering around the lanes looking for food to feed baby. Other things were discovered along the way such as some more migrants and interesting flowers. We also got our first baby Carolina Wren for the season!

Head to the Wekiva blog here to see the whole report.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Young Bald Eagle Spreads its Wings

Seems the Bald Eagle pair has produced only one chick this year but it is already getting big and preparing to fledge. There is now a daily contingent of photographers huddling around the nest tree at the cemetery. I remember to good old days of it only being me wandering around the graves and bird watching.


Anyway, here is the healthy chick posed on the edge of the nest.

Bald Eagle

A little while later, the bird stretches.

Bald Eagle

I later found it on another branch so it has begun to fly a bit already.

One more fledged and we will wait until next season to see more Eagle production.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Lake Davis Birds Recap

Still no rain and the lake continues to get lower with each passing day. For now, this is OK as it still keeps a few shorebirds around including Black-necked Stilts and a couple Lesser Yellow Legs.

Lesser Yellowlegs

We also have a few Least Sandpipers combing the nearby lake edges.

Least Sandpiper

Still nice to see the female Green-winged Teal cruising the lake.

Green-winged Teal

Though the biggest flock of young Mallard ducklings have dropped from 15 to 5, the older groups seem to be holding there own, traveling from the 'bird island' to the shore to find food.


A fun day to watch the lake but we really need rain.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Green-winged Teal Still Around

My youngest boy decided he want to take a scooter ride around Lake Davis. Right when the temps began to hit 90. Sigh.

Oh, well. Think of the boy. Plus, he knows I am going to drag the camera along so, let's go.

Not a lot out right now as migration winds down but I did want to count some shorebirds and see if the Green-winged Teal might still be around. A pair of Lesser Yellowlegs are still there making this the longest that shorebirds have stuck here. I am sure that the low lake level is contributing to it, somewhat.

We were almost all the way around when I, indeed, spotted the teal. I like how the light shifts and sometimes makes the green patch on the wing appear blue.

Green-winged Teal

She really is a pretty thing.

Green-winged Teal

Here you can see the green really well.

Green-winged Teal

The lady who lives across the street threw out some corn but no other ducks really seemed interested. Even though the teal appeared to nibble, she was more interested in shifting things from the mud.

Green-winged Teal

Check out one of the many Mallard ducklings. Really growing fast!


Then this little one decided to leave the water and walk right up to me.


An all-around 'ducky' little stroll.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Yellow House Finch

The baby House Finches are growing up fast, Their little 'horns' are gone and they are begging less and less.

So, I thought I would share one of the shots of our yellow variant finch.

House Finch

Pretty, no?