Thursday, December 30, 2010

Eagles in St. Petersburg - Skywatch Friday

What da ya want? I'm scratchin!

She says "It's about time you got home." He says "Stop nagging."

"Let's kiss and makeup."

King on his throne.

Hopefully, she's counting her eggs.

Going fishing.

Last spring I had heard about an eagle couple that was living in a cemetery in St. Petersburg. I never did make it down there but when I heard they were back this winter I had to go and see them. It's an older cemetery but nicely kept. I think the old tree he was sitting on was the only one in the place so you couldn't miss it. I'm guessing they don't want to cut it down so the eagles have a place to hang out. The nest is nearby in a large pine tree. I took all of the above with my Sigma 500mm and they were cropped up so they are not as close as they look.  It's a strange place to find eagles but there are bays and inlets close by for fish. I'm going to check back in a month or so to see if there are babies.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hanging with the hoodies.

My hubby came home from the gym one Saturday afternoon recently and said "There are hoodies down at the pond. Bring your camera and let's run down there and get some pictures." Usually, there are only a few mallards there. So off we went, to the small pond down the street.  We found two hooded merganser couples hanging out there. It was an overcast day and the reflection of the trees on the pond made the pond seem red and green.

Hooded mergansers are short distance migratory ducks. They are probably coming from somewhere in New England and hang out in Florida during the winter. They are diving ducks which dive under water to catch their food. They won't hang around to be fed like mallards so they are usually pretty skittish. I sat on the edge of the pond for about half an hour and watched them swim around and preen. There was a couple in the channel behind our house for about two weeks but I haven't seen them recently. I wonder if one of these were the same couple.

The below is a moorhen couple that was hanging out with the hoodies as well.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The usual backyard visitors - My World Tuesday

The above juvenile red shouldered hawk has been hanging around our backyard for a couple of weeks now. He found a piece of fish that the osprey left on the dock.

Sitting in our neighbor's back yard.

The resident female kingfisher was sitting on a pole sticking out of the water near our seawall.

The resident blue heron that I don't see that often showed up for a couple of hours.

She started coughing up a piece of fish she had eaten earlier. Yuk!

After the rain stopped, the hawk was drying his wings on our neighbor's sailboat mast.

I didn't see her catch the fish but she showed up a couple of docks down with a fish in her mouth.

I woke up a couple of weekends ago to a rainy day. It rained on and off all day so I stayed in and did chores. We got a lot of the usual visitors during the day to our backyard. I kept peeking out the back sliding glass doors every half hour and was able to take the above pictures over the course of the day.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Kapok Park - Wilson's Snipe

Wilson's snipe. A fairly rare bird in west central Florida area that shows up in winter. This was the first time I had seen one.

The snipe digging for food.

Just your average mockingbird but it looked so pretty posing for me on the top of that little tree.

Ibis reflections in the lake.

Limpkin standing on a small tree.

Snowy egret.

The weather called for rain. I woke up last Saturday morning and the sun was out. I checked the radar on my laptop and there was a nasty looking band of rain coming but not until later that morning. I rushed and got ready and headed out the door. Since I didn't have too much time I stopped by Kapok Park which is not too far from my house. I was able to get in a good hour and a half walk around the park before the sky got dark.  As I was heading for the boardwalk I saw several people with cameras and binoculars leaning over the railing.  I snuck up behind them and peeked over the railing. Everyone was so excited. I didn't see it at first until they pointed the snipe out in the reeds. I thought to myself "That little bird? It looks like any other shorebird." Apparently he's a rare find in Pinellas county.  So the first picture is my prized snipe picture.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from Atlanta

I'm spending Christmas weekend in Atlanta with the in-laws. I managed to sneak out for a few hours on Christmas eve to walk around the neighborhood and found a few birds hanging around in the cold. Lots of cardinals up here. I also saw my first cedar waxwing, but more on that after the holidays.

I want to thank everyone who stopped by this past year and hope you stop by again in the next year. I've got more pictures to come. Have a great Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Visit to Circle B Bar Reserve - Skywatch Friday

Great blue heron with a small snake. He eventually gulped it down.

Black bellied whistling ducks flying by.

One of the resident glossy ibis.

Another blue-gray gnatcatcher. These guys are everywhere this fall.

Cattle egret on the trail. He seems lost. He should be hanging out in the cow pastures that are close by.

Not sure what this little bird is.  It looks like it's got some yellow under the tail.

The infamous "Bubba" that lives at Circle B.

The first Saturday in December turned out to be nice and warm, high of 70 degrees by 10am. I started out with a sweatshirt on but soon had just the tshirt on. I hadn't been in a while. The white pelicans hadn't arrived yet so that was a disappointment. I've heard they are there now so I'll have to head back there in the next week or so. Last December it was amazing to see the large flocks of white pelicans flying back and forth between the marsh ponds and the big lake.

I spent most of the morning walking the trails with Klaus ( who has this amazing ability to see every tiny animal that is hiding. He spotted the otters but we weren't able to get a good picture from where they were hiding. We did not find the bittern he was looking for but he showed me where it had been before so I'll keep my eye out for it on the next trip.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chesnut Park November visit.

Two anhingas were fighting over something. I took this picture into the sun. They eventually took off following each other.

The usual blue-gray gnatcatcher. One of the tinies birds around.

I have no idea what this is. Looks like a type of warbler but the yellow on the sides is throwing me off. I couldn't find anything with yellow there.

I think this is a yellow palm warbler in non-breeding colors. Seen testing out the crumbs on the road.

No post about a Florida park would be complete without an alligator in it. There are tons at Chesnut Park. This one seemed to look up and smile at me. And yes, I took this with my zoom lens.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hanging out with a great egret - My World Tuesday

These pictures of the great egret were taken in early November. Back when it was warm (meaning over 70 degrees). I was at Fort Desoto and came across this egret that kept hopping and flying around the north beach marsh. He kept me entertained for quite a while. You can almost always find egrets hanging around the marsh but I don't know if it's always the same ones. Do they live in one place or move around from park to beach a lot? If any of you up north are already tired of the snow then come down to Florida for a visit. It's cold here but not as cold as it is up there!

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hooded merganser couple

The male hooded merganser was swimming in the channel behind our house over Thanksgiving weekend. I didn't see the female that weekend. Well, this past weekend they were both there. It was right before the sun went down and they came fairly close to our dock. The female is the one without the white circle on her head. She does have a nice mohawk though. The last picture is the only time they were close together and it was almost dark. Last year they only stayed for a couple of weeks. I wish I knew where they moved on to. I guess they felt like our channel was too populated since there are houses all along the channels.