Saturday, March 16, 2013

Unofficial Event - Blue Cypress

While we were at the festival today, David mentioned to Dr. Baker from Pelican Island Audubon that he needed to survey Blue Cypress for the breeding bird atlas. It just so happens that Dr. Baker was doing a boat trip out there tonight and very kindly let David and I tag along. It was amazing! We went out of Middleton Fish Camp, rode out to the stick marsh, had an incredible dinner (including wine, brie, dessert... sorry, Alison, if you are reading this:-), then came back looking into a magnificent sun set. There were dozens of nesting ospreys. Here are the pictures, click to enlarge:

This is a female osprey. You can tell she is female cause the girls always wear a brown necklace. It is a fashion thing. 

This is a male osprey. Note he is not wearing a necklace, and is smaller than the female.

A female eating the lover offering from her boyfriend. I love the psychotic look in her eye.

Another female osprey.

Funny story here that explains why I am a terrible birder. See that little white dot on the horizon? Dr. Baker pointed out that it is the water tower less than a mile from my house. I have lived in Fellsmere for about 6-7 years now, and I swear I have never seen that water tower before ever. I think I might have a problem with observation. 

I'm not a good birder, but I can take a decent picture now and then. I really liked this one.

This is a red-shouldered hawk nomming on a lizard.

The exposure on this photo is awful, but it shows the contrast between the male (top, smaller,  no necklace) and the female (bottom, larger, wearing necklace.)

The classic view of a blue cypress sunset on our way back to shore. It's a rough job to live in Florida, but someone has to do it. Thanks to Dr. Baker for a fantastic evening!

Pelican Island

We had an awesome walk out at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge today. Joined by HFC David (who was the leader of the walk), and a group of terrific local birders, we saw a whole bunch of cool stuff. If you didn't GOYB and join us today, here's what you missed! (As always, click to enlarge.)

A very strange, LARGE bird flew
over us to welcome us to the
refuge. I'm really really glad he
didn't poop on my car. Or me.

It was a little chilly start to the day,
but the skies were crystal clear
and there were lots of duckies.
This is a White-cheeked Pintail duck. It was a lifer for me!

Gaillaridia, one of my favorite Florida wildflowers.
Some Green-wing Teal.

One of our neatest critters in FL.
This is an Antlion trap. There is an
antlion in the bottom of the hole
waiting for something crawl into the
hole and get trapped. This was the first
time I have ever seen a bug actually
fall in, it was very cool.

Me and Teddy Roosevelt at the festival after the bird walk.