Friday, December 31, 2010

A Couple More Banded Birds

Spent another part of a day drying nets and caught a couple more birds.

Got one of our resident Carolina Wrens.

Carolina Wren

Though being quiet lately, the Western Palm Warblers are still around. Pretty bird. You can still see some of the coloration that are more noticeable when they molt for Spring.

Western Palm Warbler

I had to remove a few Mourning Doves, too. I don't bother banding them as they are easily food for predators. Once they all flushed, signaling a predator nearby, I folded the nets for the day so as not to offer an easy meal.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pine Warbler

Had to begin drying out mist nets after we were rained out at the banding site. I wasn't looking to do any real banding but once I caught a Pine Warbler I couldn't resist. Got this beautiful bird halfway through the day.

Pine Warbler

Note: The next morning I noticed this same bird feeding up in the oaks. Could clearly see the band as it went from branch to branch.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

BirdCam Back by the Tray Feeder

Goldfinches are few and far between so I decided to move the cam back to the tray feeder. After sorting through the 300 images I did find a few OK ones.

Of course, there are always Mourning Doves around.

Mourning Dove

Plus the Northern Cardinals. Both males...

Northern Cardinal

...and the females.

Northern Cardinal

The Carolina Wrens bred in the yard this year and are starting to hit the feeders after exploring all of the nooks and crannies around the deck.

Carolina Wren

As usual, most of the discarded photos are of jumping squirrels. Lots of blurred images while they bound in and out of the tray. However, now and then they stop long enough to get a pretty photo shot.

Gray Squirrel

We shall see how long I can stand editing out all of the bad shots. For now, though, I will keep watching this view.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lunar Eclipse

I debated getting up in the middle of the early morning to watch the lunar eclipse. I was tired already. Seen them before.

Oh, alright. Always pretty.


At least with my disabled auto-focus I can still get some OK astronomical shots.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Redhead on Lake Davis

It has been a few years since we had one in downtown Orlando so it was a nice surprise to get a call from a fellow birder who spotted a Redhead duck out on the lake among the hundreds of Ring-necked Ducks that arrived for the Winter.

I have been checking the flock everyday in hopes of finding something different but this is the first different bird spotted. I hurried out but it was getting dark so all I could get was a pretty good ID shot.



Saturday, December 18, 2010

Counting Birds in the Rain for CBC

Well. That was fun. Forecasters were wrong. Again. We were suppose to have a few hours of good weather in the morning and then rain. The rain started just at 7 AM, the time we started searching for birds for the St. Pete Christmas Bird Count.

I met Bill Pranty at Sawgrass Lake Park at dawn. The rain had just started lightly but I stepped out to hear a Great Horned Owl. Good start, but the rain only got harder and the birds were avoiding the rain more than us.

It was so rainy I just left my camera in the car most of the day. Then, at 11 AM, the clouds broke and the Sun streamed forth. Meaning we only had 30 minutes of nice weather before lunch. Some birds began coming out and we eventually racked up 50 species.

At lunch we met up with another group and changed locations and eventually made it towards Roosevelt Wetlands. On the way (after getting lost for a bit) Bill spotted a large Monk Parakeet nest up in the power line structures.

Monk Parakeet Nest

Nothing too spectacular but there was a Blue-winged Teal and this massive alligator across the way.


Little Blue Herons are quiet common but I couldn't resist this shot of one feeding in the grasses.

Little Blue Heron

Next, we moved to "The Wall" which is a mosquito control pond just outside of the landfill area. The water was full of ducks, gulls, and shorebirds. Spotted and Least Sandpipers were present but we saw more birds gathered down along the road. We shuttled down and tried to peek over the edge from the fence to count. Once the birds saw us they flushed but I did get a shot of a Greater Yellowlegs keeping watch.

Greater Yellowlegs

Most of the ducks were Lesser Scaup. Canvasbacks were reported father out through scope views.

Lesser Scaup

One batch of birds hiding beyond the fence was a flock of Northern Shovelers.

Northern Shoveler

Heading off to a vacant spot near the interstate, we counted Killdeer (at least 14 in one small spot!) and other typical birds. I was transfixed by a large flock of Common grackles and tried to get some interesting shots as they streaked past just overhead.

Common Grackle

Dark was fast approaching but we wanted to all get a look at the first pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks recorded for any St. Pete CBC. They were right where they have been seen for the past few days. This species is spreading rapidly all over the state.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

When I look back on the day we actually had more birds than I thought. 72 species for me and Bill. I have compiled a list of things written down and remembered when I was without my notebook. Not a bad total considering the bad weather off and on. Reports after I got home are that we set a record of 167 species in the entire area! Previous high was 163.

Species Count

Others have more counts to do this week but I cannot join them. Hope I can be part of future counts as it is always fun being out with good friends at any time. Next up, Christmas itself...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

American Goldfinch Confirmed

The earlier poop sighting was enough to let me know they were stopping by but now the Birdcam confirms it: Goldfinches are here!

American Goldfinch

Just pictures of a pretty little girl so far but that's a start.

American Goldfinch

Time to get a sock feeder for the newly arriving guests.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Lots of Little Birds Around

They kick up to the curb for lunch at school so I have to find something to do for 45 minutes everyday. My choice is to head to the nearby Palm Cemetery and look for birds. Cemeteries may be for the dead but they are great for finding all kinds of life. Especially bird life. Less human traffic usually equates to more wildlife.

In fact, you can find a ton of shots on this blog that originated in cemeteries.

Right now, there are large feeding flocks moving through the oaks at this spot consisting largely of warblers and a lot of local birds like woodpeckers, Titmice, etc. Today I brought out the camera instead of just the binoculars to see if I could catch anything. Though the auto focus is not working on the big lens right now I did get a fair shot of a Black and White Warbler.

Black and White Warbler

What really made me break out the camera, though, was the large number of Chipping Sparrows I could see as soon as I pulled up. They were everywhere! I finally managed to get a bead on one bird when another dropped in right next to that one.

Chipping Sparrow

Not bad. While I was taking this shot a groundskeeper roared down on a mower and flushed most of the good birds (Pine Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers and more). Wish the Chippies would make their way down the road to our house but I can wait. We have a long Winter ahead.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

We Have Poop!

May not be a big deal to some, but we have signs. Poop under the thistle feeder means that Goldfinches are visiting the feeders for the first time this year.

I haven't seen them directly but the leftovers mean they have been here. Hoping for a bigger season than last year!