Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Moss Park

It took me awhile to get through the photos from last weekend so this is posted a few days after the event, but...done. My wife's company picnic was scheduled for this past Saturday and the event was held in Moss Park. Nice place. We have camped there before. Only problem is that it is like dropping a kid in a candy store. Birds are always around here so socializing becomes more of a formality for me once I start seeing and hearing birds. Selfish? Yes. I am working on it.

As soon as we got out of the car I could see scores of birds flying around the lake. I was already twitching. Once we made introductions and had lunch I went off for a little hike. As soon as I neared the edge of the lake the bird sound was raucous. The main species flying by were Wood Storks.

Wood Stork

Turns out that the small island just across from the shoreline was teaming with wading birds nesting. A lot of Wood Storks were there but the edges of the island were covered with White Ibis nests.


There were also Anhinga and Double-crested Cormorants but I was more pleased to see a Black-crowned Night Heron join in with the crowd. I do recall seeing a lot of these birds the last time we were out here.

Black-crowned Night Heron

I came off the dock and began to head to the North, following the sounds of Boat-tailed Grackles. They would not stay in good light for me but flowers were more accommodating. Right next to the dock was a nice spread of Rhexia.


Just around the bend were a scattering of Yellow-eyed Grass swaying in the light breeze.

Yellow-eyed Grass

Tucked next to the reeds I spotted a clump of Bog Buttons. I did not relocate the Sun Dews I remember from years ago.

Bog Buttons

Standing higher were shocks of a variety of St. John's Wort.

St. John's Wort

Another yellow flower was there but I can't recall the name as of yet.

Yellow flower

Back to the birds! My next goal was to find where the birds from the island were heading for food. They were going to a shallower part of the lake to the North. The storks and Ibis were flying over to gather food for chicks...

Wood Stork

...and then head back in short order.

Wood Stork

The White Ibis are in full breeding plumage and are just as active.

White Ibis

One of the birds we always remembered from our previous camping trip was the Sandhill Cranes that can be quite bold in searches for food. They even try to steal food from your picnic tables! This family was wandering around a large gathering leading their new colt through the pavilions.

Sandhill Crane

The colt took it all in stride as kids tried to follow it around the campgrounds.

Sandhill Crane

I headed back to the company event hearing Pine Warblers near the gathering. I kept seeing them flying high in the pines and finally had a closer look as an adult brought some food down to a juvenile.

Pine Warbler

Once the meal was consumed, the adult Pine Warbler flew off for more and the juvenile fluttered its wings and called for more.

Pine Warbler

Near he table, a family of Tufted Titmouse swooped in and began calling loudly. Was I in the way of something or were they warning of some other danger? I never found out.

Tufted Titmouse

As I was about to put the camera away I noticed another bird flitting through the branches. I couldn't tell exactly what it was immediately but by the time I went through photos and asked for thoughts from a friend I can only conclude that this is a late 1st Spring Blackburnian Warbler! Not a common sight here this time of year.

Blackburnian Warbler

I made one more walk near the parking lot to see what was in a fenced in area and had a pair of Great-Crested Flycatchers hunting around the moss. It is called Moss Park, after all.

Great-Crested Flycatcher

A nice morning of discovery today. Next time, have the company event indoors and I will be all full of meaningful conversation. Until I spot something outside the windows...

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