Saturday, March 28, 2015

Birding in Largo

We went over to see my sister and niece before they left the state for a new life in Virginia. We had a nice pizza dinner and talked awhile before retiring for the night. The next morning I got to head out for a little birding before we returned to Orlando. My Dad and I went looking for Towhees at Walsingham Park but only heard them so no photos like I was hoping for.

Following the call of an Eastern Phoebe we instead ended up under some oaks with a mall feeding flock of warblers. The branches made for difficult IDs but finally a bright Prothonotary Warbler was in view.

Prothonotary Warbler

Next we headed over to Walsingham Botanical Garden as Dad was searching for some ideas for plants to get that attract pollinators.


The entire collection of Milkweed was being consumed by voracious Monarch caterpillars.


In another part of the gardens we found some adults scattered about flowering trees and shrubs.


I remembered that we were not far from Largo Nature Preserve so we drove over and took a walk through the nature trail that goes through a small forest of oaks and other plants like native Wild Coffee. In a short time we were surrounded by birds. I have never seen so many White-eyed Vireos in a single day ever.

White-eyed Vireo

More Prothonotary Warblers were high in the trees. Previously, I had only seen 3 Prothonotary Warblers in my life. Today we found 4.

Prothonotary Warbler

While we were craning our necks to ID warblers a Gray Catbird popped up directly across the boardwalk railing and then flew off just as quickly.

Gray Catbird

A Pine Warbler grabbed a caterpillar along one of the branches and thrashed it about before stopping to feast.

Pine Warbler

Suddenly, a wave of birds came in near to the ground. By the time they were close enough we could see that they were Hooded Warblers. They were moving so fast it was difficult to get a shot. This female paused on the log for a couple of seconds before heading deeper into the underbrush.

Hooded Warbler

We rushed along the boardwalk in hopes of intercepting them but they stayed just ahead of us and did not make for a sharp image. this male only stopped to enjoy the Crane Fly it snagged.

Hooded Warbler

He gave me a few seconds more of that pose and then was gone into the shadows.

Hooded Warbler

If it weren't for a trip home to make we would have stayed even longer but it was time to move on. As we got to the end of the boardwalk we saw that an Osprey was flushed away from its perch by another visitor. The bird had a large fish in tow and landed on the nest platform ahead of us before flying of again.

Down along the path, pair of Mourning Doves watched us anxiously but didn't fly off.

Mourning Dove

Just as we were about to head to the car I spotted the Osprey making a return. It still had the fish as I saw it dive behind the trees. It seemed like it found a private spot to continue lunch so I quickly hurried over to see if it was in view. Yes!


I got to spend several minutes getting shots as the Osprey fed upon the large bass it had gotten form the pond below. Even with the harsh backlighting (and no flash) I was able to get some nice action photos.


One more species was back near the doves on my way out. A Double-crested Cormorant sat quietly even when I walked pretty close. Smile, Blue-eyes!

Double-crested Cormorant

The boardwalk through the woods was not yet built the last time I was here when the Nature Preserve was first opened years ago. Now I know where to come for migration the next time I am in town.

No comments: