Thursday, April 28, 2011

Great-crested Flycatcher at Palm Cemetery

Another lunch break, another visit to Palm Cemetery. Not much flying around except a very active Great-crested Flycatcher.

I'll take it.

Great-Crested Flycatcher

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chimney Swifts Coming Home To Roost

Tonight was a very enjoyable evening as we attended the oldest's Jazz Band concert outside at the school. Everyone played excellently for two sets.

Almost immediately after we sat down, Chimney Swifts began circling above us under cloudy skies. Sometimes really low over our heads. I remembered seeing swifts leaving the old chimney in the mornings years ago so they must still be using it.

Chimney Swift

Night was quickly falling a the band took 5. I headed over toward the chimney to see if they were ready to go into it yet. The number of birds had grown to at least 100 birds and they circled closer to the structure. Think getting a shot of a swift in the daytime is difficult? Try it near dark!

Chimney Swift

Sometimes it would be 1 bird and other times it was 2-3 but they all began swooping into the chimney little by little.

Chimney Swift

I have never had a good view of Chimney Swifts heading to the roost. It was awesome to see it so close and from start to finish, all the while hearing the loud chipping go from so loud and slowing fading into silence.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Earth Day at Lake Lotus

We didn't catch a lot of birds but at least we caught them when the crowds were there.

Always a fun day to be outside celebrating Earth Day at Lake Lotus. You can view the blog post with a lot of photos on my other site at that link.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Searching for a Chat

After we set net poles at Lake Lotus for Earth Day tomorrow I decided to swing by Mead Garden to see if anything was happening there. Lotus sure was quiet. As soon as I arrived I noticed the entire Orange Audubon crew was there staring at something. I spoke to them and they had found a hummingbird nest up in the oaks. I was more interested in the other bit of news.

Seems a Yellow-breasted Chat was down the stream. Off I go. Chats have been a nemesis bird for years. I was told it was singing like crazy. Can't miss the song. When I got to the spot I was met with resounding silence. All I could find was a few Chimney Swifts.

Chimney Swift

10 minutes hanging out and nothing. Finally some movement! Nope. Catbird.

Gray Catbird

Eventually did spot something. Friends of mine. They said it was there somewhere and just decided to stop singing. Great. I waited an hour. Eventually, I got the bird. For all of 2 seconds. But it counts.

Headed to the cemetery to check on the young eagles and they were out and about, flying freely and waiting for lunch.

Bald Eagle

Busy day. Tomorrow will be even busier. If we can catch some birds.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kraft Great Egret Rookery

I had been worrying about the Great Egret rookery at Kraft Azalea Park after our big storms recently but when I went to check on it the roads were closed due to construction. I finally made my way through by now opened side streets. Babies galore!

Previous visits were a bit frustrating since the branches of the oaks were blocking most good shots of the birds. I was greeted by the sounds of many Great Egret chicks sounding off and right near the parking lot I got my first view of a Great Egret. After watching for about 30 seconds I noticed some movement under the adult in front of me.

Great Egret

A step stool may have helped me get a better view (which I may try tomorrow) but I was glad to get a view of my first chick sighting! In the tree to the right of that nest was another nest with two chicks. One was climbing on the edge of the nest and I had to maneuver around to get a clear shot.

Great Egret

Another nest provided another good view.

Great Egret

In a nest with two chicks I found them panting under the Florida sun and then nipping at each other's bills.

Great Egret

Unfortunately, I did find some carnage. There were several pilfered egg shells under some nest sites and one chick that apparently fell out and died.

Great Egret

Life in the big jungle.

I will definitely head back for more photo ops as the chicks fledge. I can't help but wonder how the neighbors like the cacophony of all of these chicks calling non-stop.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Baby Brown Thrasher

Yeah, slacking. Not really. Most birding is confined to my banding project. You can see the results for the last few weeks here. Then, just when I was beginning to think I wouldn't have anything new for the regular blog for a while...

We have a high pressure system sitting on top of us here in Florida. Which means we are now 10 degrees above normal on temperatures. Today was forecast at 92. Still, I have nothing better to do at lunch than to check the cemetery nearby and see if anything is moving. Didn't look, or sound promising.

As I drove to my usual spot where I park I noticed a Brown Thrasher taking off to my right. They live here so it was nice to verify it but I thought nothing more of it.

I stepped out of the car and looked and listened. Not much calling or moving. I walked a bit farther and noticed a pair of birds under a small shrub. One was definitely a Brown Thrasher but the other seemed like a thrush. It suddenly dawned on me that this was a baby Brown Thrasher. Soon confirmed when the adult turned and started feeding the youngster.

Brown Thrasher

I tried to creep around the other side of the headstones for better light but the young bird spotted me and headed back into the shade. Soon, an adult spotted me, too, and flew over to check me out and to make sure I was not a threat.

Brown Thrasher

First baby Thrasher for me but I band older ones at Lake Lotus all the time. Four yesterday, in fact!

Definitely baby time in the area.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Great-Crested Flycatcher

At least 2 weeks have passed since I was surprised by the return of the familiar Great-Crested Flycatcher 'weep!' from down the street. Since then it has been very vocal from dawn until mid-afternoon. Problem is, it is hard to get a look at since the trees are getting leafy again.

I was trying to get a shot of the Indigo Bunting this morning but heard the flycatcher getting closer. So I waited. Though in shadow, I got my first Great-Crested Flycatcher shot of the year.

Great-Crested Flycatcher

Now the mate should return and hopefully they will raise another brood here as they have over the past couple of years.