Tag Archives: Birds

Belted Kingfisher on Water Gate

Water levels in the large pond at Magnolia Cemetery are controlled with this screw mechanism connected to a gate that allows water to drain off into the marsh. I’ve often seen Belted Kingfishers that work the pond for food use it as a perch.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

The Belted Kingfisher’s loud rattling call often helps you locate one, and I had watched one make several zippy trips across the pond without even getting to lift my camera. I took these from the car as we were leaving.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

I got a little closer before another car came and captured this head on view showing off the Kingfisher’s top knot.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

I last photographed a Yellow-billed Cuckoo about two years ago. I spotted one last week and recognized him in flight immediately due to his long, thin body.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo

They prefer woodland and the trees he found most appealing were shiny with highlighted leaves behind him.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo

He eventually moved to the other side of the path so the sun was shining on him, but didn’t quite get his head out into the light.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo

He watched patiently presumably for food, often looking up above him, but I didn’t see him even try to catch anything. After a couple minutes in this spot he moved higher and deeper into the tree line.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo

 

Bye-bye Birds

This is an image from early July which at the time didn’t seem so interesting, being mostly bird butts. Now that we’ve spent several weeks seeing almost no birds this appeals to me more.

Wading Birds in Flight
Wading Birds in Flight

This is just a small part of what I estimated to be at least a thousand birds in the shallow water at the marsh edge. I could not get closer due to a huge alligator blocking the trail.

Wood Stork Take Off

Wood Storks take a few hops before they get into the air when taking off from water.

Wood Stork Taking Off
Wood Stork Taking Off

Then they lift their legs up behind them and give a few strong beats of their wings.

Wood Stork Taking Off
Wood Stork Taking Off

And away they go.

Wood Stork Taking Off
Wood Stork Taking Off

If I have the opportunity to see this again I’ll have a better idea of what is going to happen and maybe get an image of the hop.

Boat-tailed Grackle

At least I think it is a Boat-tailed Grackle, not a Common Grackle.  This is another pair of birds that All About Birds uses a size comparison to help tell them part. Useful if you see them together, not so much on their own. They did seem to have a big tail.

Boat-tailed Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle

These images were taken at the pond near the rookery and swamp I frequent. A group of 8 or 10 was working its way along the edge, hopping along limbs that have fallen in the water.

Boat-tailed Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle

Both kinds are noisy, with constant calling, like their Red-winged Black bird relative.  It was the iridescence that attracted me, and their repeated trips to the water. They will eat frogs, lizards, and turtles and did poke around a little in this water that has all  of these but it was a bit deep for them to jump in.

Boat-tailed Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle

American Avocets

We arrived at Bear Island Wildlife Management area just before the sun came up this morning. A few American Avocets were sitting in the shallow water and reflected the sun’s first glow.

American Avocet
American Avocet

As we progressed around the impoundments throughout the morning there were several other areas with feeding Avocets. There were a few groups but they mostly fed on their own.

American Avocet
American Avocet

This pair in flight shows off the Avocet’s gorgeous colors and their upturned beak.

American Avocets in Flight
American Avocet Pair in Flight

Click on any photo for larger view.

Sandhill Crane

Ted and I returned to Florida for five days at the end of February and went to most of the same places I photographed in late January. On my first trip I heard Sandhill Cranes calling at Vierra Wetlands but never saw them. I was delighted to see a pair on the second trip.

Sandhill Crane Pair
Sandhill Crane Pair

When we first saw the pair they were calling repeatedly and appeared to be looking for something. Unfortunately there was nothing nearby to include in the image to indicate their size. Sandhill Cranes are larger than Great Blue Herons, and can weight up to 10 pounds (4.75 KG). Great Blues top out at 5.5 pounds (2.5 KG).

Sandhill Crane Pair
Sandhill Crane Pair

We looped around the wildlife drive and about an hour later found them in about the same spot. They had stopped calling and their attention had turned to preening.

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

Click on any image for larger view.

Vierra Wetlands, Florida, 2/21/18.

Sanderlings

I spotted this group of Sanderlings driving along Indian River Lagoon in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. The immediately took off, but returned with a flourish in just a few minutes.

Sanderlings in Flight
Sanderlings in Flight

I’ve usually seen them running along the surf, but this one loan Sanderling took a dip in water up to his belly.

Sanderling in the Surf
Sanderling in the Surf

Click on either photo for larger view. 

Downy Woodpecker

A Downy Woodpecker right out where you can see her! An advantage to winter is less viewing obstruction of the little birds as they go about their business.

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

This one wasn’t doing much pecking but investigated around this tree trunk.

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

She left me with a perfect profile shot, compete with lichen framing.

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

Click any photo for a larger view.