Monday, July 27, 2009

Jay Watch, 2009

Checking my files I realize that I have been remiss on posting about this year's Jay Watch in the area. Yikes!

Every year, volunteers assist the biologists all over the state of Florida in trying to count Florida Scrub Jay populations in all of their known habitats. This year I once again helped out at the Lake Monroe Conservation Area between Sanford and Osteen.

It is performed every year after the Jay chicks are out of the nests so counts can be done of any new birds entering the population. I didn't get as many shots as in past years but still managed to get a few interesting photos.

The main family group we observed on both days was very evident and the juveniles often popped up to see what these humans were doing in their house. In this shot, an adult puts itself in between me and the baby.

Florida Scrub Jay

Rules state that we cannot call up Jay when predators are about and there are plenty at some times. Such as the Swallow-tail Kites that take wing once the thermals pick up.

Swallow-tail Kite

Standing in designated spots playing Jay recordings also lends one to view other wildlife such as the resident Six-lined Racers chasing ants under the brush.

Six-lined Racer

Our second day found us chasing the same family by the end of the day. They were all confined to one small area and seemed to prefer the viewing from this one large pine tree by the road. Here is one of the juveniles.

Florida Scrub Jay

From time to time, the young birds would fly over to this dead tree in the scrub. The open mouths were due to the heat and the birds were not actually calling at the time.

Florida Scrub Jay

Our main focus was trying to record birds already banded to gauge their movements. Lack of bands, besides birds in juvenile plumage, would reveal new birds either added to the family or new additions. The color combination on this adult are only on this particular female of the family.

Note the differences of color on the nape of these birds. The adult is blue while the juvenile is grey.

Florida Scrub Jay

Always a joy to help out and see these remarkable birds. Though the days are grueling, it is good to head out knowing we are helping our endemic bird species. I have been participating for 3 years and will be back again in years to come.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

White-winged Dove Feeding

Yet another appearance of our visiting White-winged Dove. This time near dark. The bird swooped down as clouds moved in and began to feed all alone. Though this photo suggests that the bird wasn't sure it was alone.

White-winged Dove

I have never seen more than one White-winged Dove in the yard at the same time but I still get very excited when I see one at all.

White-winged Dove

Breaks up that usual Mourning Dove crowd we have every day. It also doesn't seem to gorge like its smaller cousins do.

White-winged Dove

Kind of glad I haven't found any Eurasian Collared-Doves here for some reason, though they have been seen not too far away from time to time.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I Thought We Were Done With Babies?

We have had a few Northern Cardinal chicks around through the Spring and when I heard a young bird calling a couple weeks ago I noticed an adult feeding a begging older chick. So when I heard another young Cardinal begging I figured it was the same one.

However, this new bird flew over to the kitchen feeders and revealed itself as a brand new chick!

Today, I managed to get a shot of our new arrival in between feedings by the back deck.

Northern Cardinal

A bit more new life before migration gets underway.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Young Woodstorks

Taking the boys to a Summer Camp and something caught my eye as we swung past Lake Davis. A young Wood Stork was hanging out near the eastern drain.

Hoping it would remain until I returned, I sped back for a few shots. Luckily, it was still there in good light.

Wood Stork

As I was trying to get shots, a slightly older bird flew in to give another set of shots.

Wood Stork

A good way to get ready for a day of web research and I always love to see the increase of these once endangered birds.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Backyard in the Morning

Just the usual birds today but I did notice a couple of things.

First, glinting in the early sunlight, I noticed an emerging Cicada nestled down in the vegetation. Haven't seen that in a while.


Next, I am noticing that the squirrel families are getting less and less concerned about my rambling walks. Take a look at Mr. Casual here.


At least it is sticking to the appropriate feeder. For once...

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Happy 4th, 2009!

We had no time for birds. But there was an ominous face in the sky last night.

Firework Face

Happy Birthday, America!