Saturday, February 15, 2014

2014 Orlando Wetlands Festival

Where the last few weeks go? Past me too quickly, that's where. Finally, our first off-site banding for the year out at the Orlando Wetlands Festival. I have a whole other post over at the banding blog that focuses more on the visitor interaction if you are interested and you can see that by clicking here.

I also wanted to show some shots that were not on that post by adding them to my regular birding blog. I didn't take many shots as I was busy banding birds and giving info to the visiting public and thought I would share here. So...

For many years, we have been doing banding demonstrations at the Orlando Wetlands for their festival. The wetlands are a pretty amazing spot between Orlando and Titusville and is primarily used to treat waste water as it leaves residential homes around the area and is cleaned up before it reaches the St. John's River. It is a wide expansion of land and marsh and draws many bird species throughout the year. This year, they are modifying some of the ponds and a large amount of new birds are feeding throughout the property.

Orlando Wetlands Palms

The forecast was for ZERO rain for the day but wind. By mid-morning a ranger reported a storm coming in. Great. We had to close the nets for a while and I took the opportunity to do a little walking about for bird watching. I was very happy to see large numbers of Blue and Green-winged Teal near the shoreline. I have a bad track record of getting good shots of these birds as it always seems that when I see them it is when there is poor lighting. I tried anyway.

Green-winged Teal

Even worse, when I got back to look at the photos I realized that I had neglected to reset my camera from when I was taking indoor shots of my oldest during a concert. Tons of noise. Blech.

Green-winged Teal

The storm began to clear and the winds picked up in earnest and led to Black Vultures taking wing in the gloom.

Black Vulture

Black Skimmers rested along a bank out in the pond. They are not often seen this far inland.

Black Skimmer

Just to their right were some terns. Royal and Forster's loafed along the other birds.


Just in front of the Terns and Skimmers were several Dowitchers, Long-billed, I think.


As I was watching the ducks and other species American Coots began to go crazy and call out in alarm and spooked most other lake birds. What? A shadow drifted overhead and I was greeted with the sight of a Bald Eagle on the hunt.

Bald Eagle

While the ducks and Coots headed for cover the other species didn't take much notice. The Sandhill Cranes continued to forage out in the marsh.

Sandhill Crane

White Pelicans were seen way out in the waters beyond the Cranes and ducks.

White Pelican

With the water levels down, up to 200 Roseate Spoonbills have been seen in the area. I only found a few and got only one shot on my trek.

Roseate Spoonbill

Hunkering down in the growing wind, a Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Nearby, a Great Egret hopes for the increasing crowds to move along.

Great Egret

I noticed a different kind of Ibis out in the distance. A White-faced Ibis was sitting calmly out on the flats. A rare bird from year to year.

White-faced Ibis

The sunshine began to work its way in and I tried for some more shots of the Green-winged Teals.

Green-winged Teal

If only I had the setting correctly set. I love to see Green-winged Teals, especially so close by.

Green-winged Teal

I did a bit more searching and found some Gadwall and even a Northern Shoveler trying to stay hidden from prying eyes.

Northern Shoveler

Later in the morning, a huge flock of White Pelicans soared overhead.

White Pelican

Finally, an American Robin stopped by the banding table for a quick view before we had to leave for the day.

American Robin

The festival is always an interesting day but I hope that next year we have less wind and more captures during our stay. Time to get all the poles back for the next banding day next Sunday.

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