Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More Birds at Lake Davis

Back to look for that Bittern. Just catching up on these photos since we has so many things to do before an adventure in a while.

So, I did see the Bittern as it flew in right past me but, again, it flew to the far side of the reeds. Sigh. Oh, well. Baby ducks still amuse. The Mallard family actually swam right to me as I got to the shoreline.


The juvenile male Wood Ducks also decided to visit me. They are looking so handsome.

Wood Duck

"Hey, what is with the big eye staring at us?"

Wood Duck

To my left a Common Moorhen drifted in for a break in feeding.

Common Moorhen

It was fun to watch as it preened and splashed around in the water.

Common Moorhen

Time for a big splash!

Common Moorhen

Over where the Bittern has been hiding, a family of Boat-tailed Grackles chatter and sometimes the juvenile fly out for a look around.

Boat-tailed Grackle

I might get back down for another look before we deal with our other plans. However, don't expect a new post until the first of the month. Then, get ready for a major set of fun shots if all goes as planned!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lake Davis Tour

It has been a rough two weeks since I had to send my binoculars in for repairs. I was really itchy for the first few days but managed to survive. Just picked them up this morning so I decided to see what I could find at the lake. It was fairly interesting.

Noticed some Moorhens down by the shore. One adult and 2 chicks but this female Anhinga got a bit noisy and made approaching the Moorhens move into the reeds.


That's OK. I knew that there were more babies around the way so I moved along. I found the Wood Duck family right where they were yesterday when I planned this visit. Mama herded the young ones toward the lake while keeping a watch out for predators.

Wood Duck

Out on the lake there was an older juvenile male swimming around.

Wood Duck

I spotted something walking around in the reeds. A Least Bittern! The first I have ever seen at Lake Davis. Unfortunately, I could not get a shot as it quickly hid on the far side toward the lake. Dang.

Suddenly, a flock of Fish Crows began vocalizing just down the way. They were flying around wildly and then I saw one fly out towards me with what appeared to be an egg in its beak! More crows were flocking around where that crow came from so I moved over there to see if they were raiding some bird's nest. Once at the party, I saw a couple of crows actually digging in the soil. Seems they had found a turtle nest and were digging them out for a snack.

Fish Crow

Interesting. Wish I could have caught one of them removing an egg but they were not so brave when I was closer to the action. I noticed movement behind me near the road. It was a Mallard family! Really cute ducklings and Mama.


They took little notice of me and I soon found out why. They were all chasing midges they were resting in the grass. The little ones were snapping away like mad, all the while getting closer to me. They were moving so fast I could barely keep them in focus.


At one point they were almost on my feet.


Here is a cropped shot highlighting the midge which was about to become lunch.


I still had the Bittern stuck in my head so I headed back down to try for a shot. I did see it again but it moved away once more. Just around the reeds was a pair of resting young Wood Ducks at the shore.

Wood Duck

I also liked this one showing a bit more wing color.

Wood Duck

The first family was emerging back from the water and began to preen. This time they didn't care if I was there or not. Mama often shook out her feathers between cleanings.

Wood Duck

It was really cute to watch the ducklings run underneath Mama whenever she would move to a new spot.

Wood Duck

Nearby, a Tri-colored Heron fed in the swallow waters.

Tri-colored Heron

Time to head home. One the way back to the van I had a Rock Pigeon drop down and show off its amazing plumage.

Rock Dove

I will have to stop back soon to see if I can get a shot of that Bittern.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Goodbye to Palm Cemetery

Goodbye, Palm Cemetery. It has been fun.

While at school these past 9 months I have been spending most of my lunch breaks just down the road at Palm Cemetery which is situated between the public golf course in Winter Park. It was fun to track migrating birds as they worked the oaks and grounds of the place.

Cemetery Lane

Almost every time I visited I parked in the same spot, only seeing the occasional grounds keeper or visitor. Cemeteries are great for bird watching as it is almost always free of the living humans circling around the perimeter.


Goodbye, Baptist church! Always looming across the 5th fairway, it was a good focal point for larger birds drifting toward Lake Maitland.


The Spanish Moss hanging from the trees hides all kinds of food for the birds and they traveled in rather large flocks moving through on some days.


Turning back from the fairway you are greeted with a rather attractive view heading back to the van.


Though I don't know most of the names listed on the headstones, there are a few notables such as former Senators, famous local artists, and some of the names you find on local streets.


So, I end my tenure watching the cemetery nearly everyday since last September. I will just have to trust the angels to take over.


Maybe, someday, I will make it back. All depends on where I land in this wonderful economy. I will probably make a post featuring birds I have found engraved in the headstones over the months. We shall see.