Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lake Lotus Recon

I headed over to Lake Lotus to do a little recon before tomorrow's Earth Day event to make sure we had clear areas for the mist nets and to get in some plain old bird watching in the park for once. It didn't disappoint. On my walk from the tram lot I happened upon a Mexican Poppy in a disturbed spot along the way. These poppies are not originally natives but do occur from time to time and are in most Florida flower guides.

Mexican Poppy

Along the boardwalk I found a caterpillar. It looked pure white in the overcast light but when I got home the photos definitely show a more green cast. Anyone have a clue?

Caterpillar

As I made it out to the lake, I found a Great-blue Heron in an interesting pose.

Great-blue Heron

The lone American Coot is still near the pier. Not really 'lone'. I found 5 more on the far side of the lake later on.

American Coot

I had heard that the Limpkins had a successful brood and found them near the heron. First Mom and a chick.

Limpkin

Then I heard another sounding off a few yards away.

Limpkin

When I took that shot I did not realize that there were actually a small group of alligators a few feet away! I heard from another birder that momma Limpkin was busy pecking at the baby gators after one made a move toward one of the chicks.

Limpkin

But Ms. Limpkin should take care. 20 yards away was Ms. Gator.

American Alligator

On the other side of the pier, a Common Gallinule wades through the vegetation.

Common Gallinule

Just before I exited the pier, I noticed a white figure soaring behind the treetops. Moments later, a Swallow-tail Kite came into view against the darkening skies.

Swallow-tail Kite

Making my way around the boardwalk I made a surprise discovery near the "Window on the Lake' observation area. A big female gator resting on the shore.

American Alligator

Time for a close-up! Probably the most beautiful gator I have seen in a long while.

American Alligator

Farther along, at the entrance to the back cove, Purple Gallinules foraged through the lily pads across the way.

Purple Gallinule

Leaving the boardwalk I found a Northern Parula singing and preening near the parking lot.

Northern Parula

I made a few more detours on the way home and found a few more birds. Near a restaurant, I found a Common Grackle but it was not too ready for a good shot.

Common Grackle

Around the corner, a Fish Crow posed for one of the best shots of this species I have ever gotten. Nice.

Fish Crow

Finally, a family of Mallards feeds in Lake Mendsen. I was looking for some other surprises, but...

Mallard

Not bad. Storms are on the horizon and hopefully we can get the Earth Day events in without a wash out!

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