Friday, January 02, 2015

2015 New Year's Day Hike, Part 2

Having already walked at least 10 miles, I rounded the bend and still had a little over a couple miles to go. At least I knew the car was way down that road and to the left. Somewhere down that road was a bird I would like to see so I kept moving and watched the bushes in hopes of finding it.


I got to a promising spot but all I could find was a small bird in the gloom. Once I was closer I could tell it was a Chipping Sparrow.

Chipping Sparrow

Pretty little birds. I wish I would get more closer to home.

Chipping Sparrow

A bit further up the road, a Swamp Sparrow darted out for a look around before heading back into the vegetation. I was hearing them all through the morning but they don't pop out that often.

Swamp Sparrow

Up ahead in the distance, I spotted a black bird perched in a tree. Could this be my bird? I walked slower and searched through my binoculars. It could be. Closer still and, yep, that was the Groove-billed Ani that was being reported.

Groove-billed Ani

Groove-billed Ani breed in South Texas and are mostly found through Mexico to northern South America so it is a rare treat to have them visit Florida. I had photos of Groove-billed Anis from years ago but that was still in the film days. They were very skittish back then but this bird was totally fine with me walking pretty close and snapping digitals.

Groove-billed Ani

I inched closer and was probably no more than 20 feet from the Ani.

Groove-billed Ani

I never noticed those beautiful feathers the last time I saw this species. It is actually in the Cuckoo family of birds. A gorgeous little dinosaur posing in the overcast morning. A nice experience added to my long hike.

Groove-billed Ani

Almost back to the car and there was not a lot of bird activity. Perhaps the American Kestrel looking for a meal played a part.

American Kestrel

Exhausted, I climbed back in the car and prepared for the long drive home. A ton of exercise on the first day of 2015. Heres to a bunch of good trips and bird photos in the new year.

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