Tag Archives: Birds

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.

White Ibis

Ibis always make me smile. They chatter, a lot, in an “unmusical” way according to All About Birds. There is no mistaking them for something else, by sound or sight with that big beakA small group took off as we rounded the corner of the rice field and this one landed in a tree hanging over the path, nicely framed by the turning leaves.

White Ibis
White Ibis Staring Down

He didn’t stay in the tree long, spotting some of the others who had landed in some open water at the edge of the marsh.

White Ibis
White Ibis in Flight

He touched down gently on the other side of the path showing off his black wing tips.

White Ibis
White Ibis Landing

Click on any photo for larger view.

Belted Kingfisher

I’ve posted photos of a Belted Kingfisher at this location before, posing on the beams of the re-purposed bridge. This visit did not disappoint as I spotted this female posing on a rotting piling, first squawking at a passing Snowy Egret.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

She was then content to turn this way, then that way.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

The afternoon sun lit her and the post up.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

Then she was done. The tide was going out so we hoped that she was fishing and would return with a snack as we have seen her do. We waited for about five minutes and presumed she moved on to another of her favorite spots.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

The Nest Tree

You’ve seen this tree before, its a nesting spot for Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets. I’ve photographed nest building, chicks growing up and territorial spats here.

Late yesterday afternoon a King Fisher used the center trunk between dives.

King Fisher
King Fisher

When the King Fisher was gone an Ibis and juvenile Little Blue Heron used it for a resting spot, mutually ignoring each other.

Ibis and Little Blue Heron
Ibis and Little Blue Heron

The top nest area was surprisingly intact after our recent storms. The lower area where the Great Egrets nested suffered some damage, but come spring they may fix it up.

Ibis and Little Blue Heron
Ibis and Little Blue Heron

Hairy Woodpeckers

On a recent trip to Maine a  family of Hairy Woodpeckers entertained me as they investigated this tree. The tree wasn’t too healthy looking but the lack of full boughs and the lichen made for good woodpecker props.

Hairy Woodpeckers
Hairy Woodpeckers

I couldn’t resist photographing them even though the tree was very tall, the birds were in the higher reaches and I had left my long lens at home.

Hairy Woodpeckers
Hairy Woodpeckers

Click either photo for larger view. 

Belted Kingfisher Passing Through

The old Pitt Street Bridge at Pickett Park in Mount Pleasant is known locally as a hang out for Belted Kingfisher. Often they oblige bird watchers by fishing just off the pier and then posing on the old bridge beams.  (See my December post,  Belted Kingfisher.)

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher – click on photo for larger view

Yesterday a female made just one  pass, impressing us with her flying skill, paused for less than 15 seconds on the beam, then flew out over the marsh.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher – click on photo for larger view

At low tide there isn’t much water near the bridge for a diving bird to hunt in and at over 90 degrees it was too warm to hang out waiting for the tide to turn. We didn’t stay much longer, either.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher – click on photo for larger view

Making A Hole

I’ve watched a Red-bellied Woodpecker on this tree on several visits to this area. It is a neck-craning experience due to surrounding trees, but I can’t resist following the sound of the tap-tap-tapping.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

The tree he is working on is dead and if you put your hand on the trunk you can feel the vibration as the woodpecker does his thing. I think nesting season is over and doesn’t appear to be finding food, but there must be something attracting him.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Not a great shot, but standing way back and peaking through the leaves there is a view of the large hole being worked on. He puts his entire top half in the hole to tap-tap-tap.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker – click photo for larger view.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher…

…I think. Or maybe a Vireo.

It looks a lot like the Gnatchatcher drawing in the Peterson Field Guide and less like the photos on Cornell’s All About Birds website. The eye ring points to a Vireo.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Either way, it was a perky energetic bird that mostly stayed hidden by branches of the trees he was inspecting. A dead limb let me get a few clear shots.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

A flash of the tail and he was gone.

I’ve been calling these small birds “Song Birds” but have learned while trying to identify this bird that as members of the order Passeriformes they are “Perching Birds.” The arrangement of their toes, with three pointing forward and one backward, facilitates perching. Somehow I’ve been skipping over that in my bird ID activities.

 

Wading Bird Extravaganza

We found the mother lode today. Of wading birds, that is. A state managed wildlife area near us controls the water depth in these impoundments to “provide quality habitat” for various bird species. Some days you go here and see nothing. Today was nothing short of amazing.

Wading Birds
Wading Birds spread across the impoundment – click photo for larger view

At this time of year the water is kept low in various spots and the wading birds get access to an ample supply of easily obtainable food. There were so many birds it was hard to get a good shot of the group. In addition to those seen here Roseate Spoonbills, Tri-color Heron, Skimmers, and Great Blue Heron were well represented and all mixed in together.

Wading Birds
Wading Birds: Wood Stork, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Glossy Ibis, Black Necked Stilt  – click photo for larger view

Over the course of the three hours we watched this morning groups moved around to various areas of the pond or left, perhaps full and looking for a cooler spot to spend the rest of the day.

Wading Birds
Wading Birds – Snowy Egrets taking flight – click photo for larger view