Sunday, July 13, 2014

2014 Jay Watch, Part 2

This was the second and finally day of the Jay Watch activities for this year and today was back where I began years ago at the Lake Monroe Conservation Area. Our first stop yielded the only Florida Scrub Jays on our route. Actually, it was kind of just off of our points but the birds flew over to investigate once we were getting ready to head to the next point. Still, I needed to try for some shots.

Florida Scrub Jay

Following that first Jay back into the scrub I realized that I was back where I found many juveniles last year but the vegetation had really gown since last year. I only found a few Jays this time, all adults.

Florida Scrub Jay

Knowing that the remaining points would be clear of Jays (but we still have to look) I spent more time focused on the surrounding landscape for flowers and other critters. Just before the next point check was completed I stepped back onto the road and noticed something scurrying away from me. I could tell it was some sort of Funnel Spider so I waited until it emerged from the hole to get a shot.

Funnel Spider

When I got home I looked at the shots and was surprised by something I could not see in the field. A tiny spider on the back of the larger one! Perhaps it is a baby or a male. In the spider world the females are often many times larger than the males. If I can pinpoint the species at some point I can make a decision.

Funnel Spider

The next stop put me in front of a field that at times is flooded. Flowers spring up in between the wet periods and I got some species shots before completing the 10 minute stay. Again, when I got home I found another surprise. Sitting on a wort flower was a Yellow Crab Spider. I get so busy trying to focus that I never notice these other tiny details.

Yellow Crab Spider

Our next stop was in an open scrub plain and I knew there would be no chance for a Scrub Jay here. Eastern Towhees were calling all over and I walked toward a pine to try for a shot. As I got close to the Towhees a Ruby-throated Hummingbird flew straight toward me. I hoped it would stop closer to me but it flew over to a distant bush to rest.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The hummingbird seemed to be flying to where the Eastern Towhee was moving. Suddenly, the Towhee flew back to my right and landed in another pine where I could get a better view.

Eastern Towhee

Another point to check and this time was a tandem job with one of the other volunteers. Once we began to play the Jay calls I noticed a butterfly speeding past us. A Zebra Swallowtail! I only see them when I am out at these remote locations.

Zebra Swallowtail

One of my other favorites to find are the Six-lined Racers.

Six-lined Racer

I always try to get a shot of the Tarflower when I am out at these events. Can't miss them as you drive around. Hummingbirds feed on them and capture other bugs that linger too close.


Around the Tarflowers and palmetto, dragonflies hunt and rest. This one seemed to just stare at me and say, "What?".


Nearby, another species of dragonfly tried to take over the territory.


We finished all of our points and headed home. Another year, another few Jays in the record books. The final count results will be delivered by the end of the year. Can't wait to hear if we have some good results.

No comments: