Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Feeder, Same Birds

Time for a new feeder experiment. Got a few shots from the original feeder. Still dove-filled.

Mourning Dove

So let's get that new feeder in place. Survey says...doves...

Mourning Dove

Maybe there is hope. In the bad afternoon light I do see that a Titmouse stopped by.

Tufted Titmouse

Spring migration is not far off so I may just have to wait another month for a change of birds.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Shiny Dove

Since I have to stare at so many dove images I might as well pick one that is a little more interesting.

I always like seeing the iridescence that shines from the necks of males when the sun hits them right.

Mourning Dove

Maybe a new feeder will change my luck and will bring in some new species.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Some Surprise BirdCam Shots in a New Location

A while ago I noticed a nice little bird out by the frog-themed tray feeder. An Indigo Bunting. That was what promted me to try the BirdCam over there in the first place. Hoped to get it. No luck as the dove dominate.

Then I noticed the Bunting by the kitchen window. So, I moved the cam over there. More doves. However, today a dove seems like someone else approaches.

Mourning Dove

I waded through the 598 shots from the day. Dove, dove, dove, two doves, dove...boring. Wait! Is there some speck on this image? Need to zoom in.

Mourning Dove

Amazing! That speck turns out to be the Bunting! Success! Not where I wanted it but the doves wouldn't budge and the Bunting gave up after a few more frames and moved back into the bushes.

Indigo Bunting

The doves did leave later in the day making room for a couple other species. Like the Blue Jays.

Blue Jay

Then the quick stop by one of our resident Carolina Wrens.

Carolina Wren

Still, these dove images are all looking the same.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hunting for a White-faced Ibis

Sit back for a longer-than-usual post but tons of photos...

Visitors to Orlando Wetlands Park near the city Christmas found a White-faced Ibis the other day. I grabbed my one shot to get out there today and found many exciting things to photograph. One the drive in down Wheeler Road I caught a glimpse of a bird in the trees. I ground to a halt and hit reverse, scrambling for the camera as I did so.

A nice light-morph Red-shouldered Hawk! Awesome view from the car window.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Once I parked, I headed down the berm paths toward the Ibis location. Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers were criss-crossing back and forth as they always do this time of year. As the sun warmed the air, Turkey Vultures took flight right over the trees and into my view.

Turkey Vulture

Some even relaxed on the snags as I passed.

Turkey Vulture

Looking beyond the vultures I could just make out a circling mass far, far overhead. Every now and then their feathers would catch the sunlight. White Pelicans!

White Pelican

I walked on toward the reported Ibis spot, scanning every bird I could out there in the very windy, lily pad covered water. No luck yet. However, a huge flock of birds up ahead. Blackbird? Maybe. But why were they flocking into the Wax Myrtles and back out again?

By the time I got closer, the flock broke up a bit and I could tell they were smaller than Blackbirds. They were thousands of Tree Swallows!

Tree Swallow

They were gathering in this spot, circling around and then swooping into the trees. It seemed to me that they were eating the fruits of the Wax Myrtles. I thought these guys ate bugs exclusively.

Tree Swallow

With the large flock just over my head I felt I could reach out and grab one at any time. It was difficult to get any single bird in the view finder. Thats what cropping is for, I guess.

Tree Swallow

Suddenly, the birds would break off from the trees and dip down to get drinks of water from the surrounding ponds. They would then fan out across the park. After a short while they would begin to regroup again.

Tree Swallow

I like this interesting shot. Note the bird in the left center flying with its head rotated all the way around!

Tree Swallow

Then it was back to the foraging. Over and over. I could have stood there all day long. However, I needed to get back to Orlando. This flock transfixed me so much that I had to force myself to keep checking the time. I stopped shooting after almost 300 images.

Tree Swallow

Oh, yeah. I finally got home and checked my images that I took of a couple of ibis way out near the tree line. One of them turned out to be what I was really after today. The White-faced Ibis.

White-faced Ibis

Success with a new Life Bird and a morning filled with awe.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another Day at the Frog Tray

I will reposition the BirdCam soon but here are a couple of dove shots to get them out of the way. A typical day has me sifting through 5-600 images. 95% of them are Mourning Doves. Every now and then one comes out pretty.

Mourning Dove

Other times we might get an action shot. Sneak attack!

Mourning Dove

Rarely, the doves clear out for a little while and allow other birds to swoop in for a quick moment like the Northern Cardinals.

Northern Cardinal

Back to sifting through images...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

New BirdCam Bird

Finally! Something other than doves!

One of our resident Blue Jays managed to grab a quick bite when the Mourning Doves weren't looking.

Blue Jay

May have to move the BirdCam. I don't think too many other things are getting a chance over here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Watching for Eagles

Took the boys through the cemetery after school to check on the old Bald Eagle nest. Not disappointed.

Bald Eagle

Will need to stop by from time to time to see if we have more babies this year. The old tree is still hanging in there after years of abuse. Finger's are crossed for a healthy brood.

Friday, February 12, 2010

House Finch and Robin

No, not a new crime fighting team. Just a couple visitors today.

Should be time for the House Finches to start appearing in larger numbers and this male is a welcome sight. It has been difficult to find them the past month or so.

American Robins

Out back, a Robin eyes the birdbath. Sure, now that I moved the BirdCam.

American Robins

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Birdcam Angle

I was hoping to capture some Robin images as they were flocking down to the bird bath but, alas, they did not return. Instead, I got my usual visitors.

One of the many Gray Squirrels...

Gray Squirrel

...and, of course, a Mourning Dove.

Mourning Dove

Oh, well.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Robins and Waxwings

Yet another wave of Robins came through this morning. As usual, they raided the Laurel and Camphor trees and dropped down to get a drink.

American Robins

A couple even managed to grab a quick bath.

American Robins

Even better, they brought down some Waxwings, one of my favorite Winter visitors.

Cedar Waxwing

Maybe I can get some BirdCam shots at the birdbath.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Sparrows and Blackbirds

Had to make yet another trip to Largo and what would a trip over there be without watching the feeders for any interesting birds? We can always count on the House Sparrows. Today, besides just feeding near the feeder, they also stopped by the patio bench to grab a drink from an overturned flower pot.

Maybe it is just me but these sparrows on the coast are more colorful than the ones I see closer to home. Especially the females.

House Sparrow

The males are also a bit brighter than the inland birds.

House Sparrow

I could never find what was spooking the birds from time to time but every now and then they would all take off. Sometimes they would wait in the nearby plants and then return to feeding.

House Sparrow

Another species that has been stopping by has been Red-winged Blackbirds. These females also appear much brighter than others I am use to.

Red-winged Blackbird

Beautiful plumage!

Red-winged Blackbird

Always interesting.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

American Goldfinches Fade Away

Fewer and fewer Goldfinches are being seen. Hardly any caught on the cam. Are they leaving so soon?

American Goldfinch

Hope not.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Black Skimmer Feeding Near Dark

One of the more interesting sights we discovered while watching the Spoonbills was the sudden appearance of a gliding form between the mangrove banks. A Black Skimmer was feeding just before nightfall above the swallow waters.

Here, it makes a grab at the water's surface. A miss.

Black Skimmer

You can get the full view of this image by dragging it to your desktop and then you can probably tell that this grab was a success. There is a tiny fish in the bird's bill!

Black Skimmer

Once a run through this section of water was completed, the Skimmer would make a wide circle back to its starting point and would fly right towards us again and again.

Black Skimmer

I usually only seem to encounter Skimmers while they are resting and have always wanted to get a shot of them feeding because it is such a unique technique.

Black Skimmer

Could have used better light but it was fun to watch and shoot, anyway.

Black Skimmer

I also liked the trails it left on the water as it skimmed along.

Black Skimmer

A very exciting end to a nice stroll at Black Point. Never seems to disappoint me no matter when I visit.