Sunday, June 28, 2015

Jay Watch 2015, Part 2

The second morning of my Jay Watch duties found me at the Lake Monroe Conservation area at dawn. Once I signed in and gathered my gear I dod a bit of exploring in the parking lot before we started. One shot I missed since it was so quick was an adult Bald Eagle that flew straight past us on the road about 10 feet off the surface. Then it was gone.

Instead, I had to settle for an illuminated Spiny Orb Weaver and its web.

Spiny Orb Weaver

Gaura is a Florida native but I don't see it too often. It was all over this little lot.


Eastern Towhees are always calling out on this property but I could never get in a good position, lighting-wise.

Eastern Towhee

Once I turned around I did have perfect light for the Rusty Lyonia.


One pf my favorite flowers out in the scrub is the Tar Flower. I always make a point of trying to find the best bloom while I am searching for Jays.

Tar Flower

My point shift was over so I walked up toward the next point. Out in the distance was a single Florida Scrub Jay feeding around the vegetation. I played the Scrub Jay tape quickly and the bird flew our way. Too bad it was the only one I would see today but the photos do prove it is an unbanded bird.

Florida Scrub Jay

At the next count point I found some Lyonia sporting its small white blossoms.


Loblolly Bay flowers are hard to miss. Especially once you get nearer to thicker forest on property.

Loblolly Bay

Out in the more open areas out here we know there are not any Jays here but there are other birds that come through like Great-Crested Flycatchers perching on any high snag. Sometimes we find Blue Birds and we had several Bachman's Sparrows flying by.

Great-Crested Flycatcher

I was putting my clipboard down and prepared to play my Jay calls when I noticed this pink bloom in the middle of some rather barren ground. Not sure of the species yet. Most likely one of the Sabatia family species.


Off in the distance a pair of women on horseback were winding their way through the scrub. A couple of times they halted for a while but I couldn't tell why. By the time they passed me I said Hello and they said, "Wow, they aren't scared of you!" and they rode on. Turns out those pauses before was as they tried to go past the others in my party the horses spooked and would not go directly past the ladies. Go figure.


I was watching a Northern Mockingbird when suddenly a Brown Thrasher emerged from the scrub to pose for a bit.

Brown Thrasher

Several of these large stalked plant came into view. I have know idea what they are but they always intrigue me.


A really close inspection revealed a small batch of purple blooms at the top.


A very large ant came scurrying past me as the morning wore down. It looks kind of like a velvet ant but...not.


My last count point was pretty quiet but there was a very small dragonfly that landed next to me.


As I headed up the trail I was finding much larger dragonflies swaying in the rising breeze.


Around the corner was a plant full of seed heads. Kinda pretty.

Seed Heads

Swaying around with the dragonflies was a small patch of tall Yellow-eyed Grass. My last photo of the day.

Yellow-eyed Grass

We headed back in the truck to the parking lot and said our good-byes. Rain was moving in as I headed home. There are other spots I could have visited but this year I am too tired to stand in the heat any longer. I will be back out to count again next year, after all.

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