attention to detail, attitude adjustments, backyard visitors, birds, Florida wildlife, fun, in the neighborhood, nature, Natures little dramas, perseverance, photography

Gender issues…

Perhaps it’s not the correct political climate to be trying to figure out who the mated pairs of our backyard birds may be. We have our funny immature somebody in the feature photo. But what got me thinking about this again was the appearance of the female red-winged blackbird yesterday.

I think I saw this bird at the Celery Fields, and I was so surprised to find out it was a female red-winged blackbird. So now I wondered if other bird couples had been visiting.
Her Mr. announces his arrival to be sure you notice him.
The other day Bernie was enjoying all the birds out there when this bird showed up and started sounding off. The two doves who were scavenging on the ground popped their heads up, and all the birds scattered immediately, just as a hawk swooped in through the yard, and only a few feet from the lanai. But the hawk must have found his dinner elsewhere.
So I wondered if the female red-bellied woodpecker had ever shown up, and guess what, this is the female. She has a red nape, while the male has a full crown of red on the top of his head also. I looked though my photos and I think I’ve only seen the female, so far at least. And yes, her first stop is to check out the post before she chows down on the woodpecker cylinder.
This guy’s potential confusion may extend to his pretending to be a woodpecker.
I bought the little cup feeder to hold the meal worms which only attracted the crows to the feeder. So I replaced the meal worms with ‘butter buds’ and they are a hit with everybody, including the crows.
My experiments with ‘precapture’ from the other day were less than successful. But all the gnashing of teeth that I did over the technology must have worked because this photo showed up in Lightroom today. So my efforts the other day weren’t a total waste of time.
Any scattered seeds don’t have a chance to sprout with this grounds crew on duty.

The tufted titmouse has been too fast for me to get pictures lately. But I looked up the male/female identification issue and they are identical. You have to watch their behavior as the males are more territorial than the females. I will keep an eye out when they visit next time. As you have seen it’s been a lot of fun watching the goings on at the feeders. And such nice timing since the action is best at ‘happy hour.’

a second look, birds, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, Natures little dramas, nesting, perseverance, photography

Mayhem at the rookery…

Maybe I exaggerate. No un-natural mayhem, just the ‘normal’ mayhem when mom shows up and her two ‘kids’, who are as big as she is, demand to be fed. I’m seeing pictures like this from all the photographers who stalk the photo ops in this area, but we aren’t all there at the same time. We don’t have to be, this particular mayhem occurs over and over again all day long. Poor mom, and so close to Mother’s Day.

Mom can only take so much. And when she exits to a higher branch the ‘babies’ are left wondering where they went wrong.
The tricolor heron babies have been a popular subject lately also.
Finding the tricolor babies is a lot easier when they do their ‘up periscope’ thing. I’m wondering how I never saw them before this year since this rookery is a fairly common stop for us.
You don’t always catch a glossy ibis out in the open when the sun can bring out his beautiful colors.
The natural frame around these wood storks was what got me to take this picture.
Woodstork chicks are some of the first, and noisiest chicks we see in the spring. But now it seems the mayhem in the trees, and the photographers on the shore, aren’t a cause for concern as this guy seems quite above it all.
attitude adjustments, backyard visitors, birds, brainstorms, facing facts, Florida wildlife, nature, Natures little dramas, perseverance, photography, unintended consequences

Unintended consequences…

My complaint, when I returned to Wild Birds Unlimited, was that the cardinals had taken over the Bird Buddy. I never imagined that I wouldn’t be thrilled to see cardinals anywhere, but I was getting essentially the same photos and videos every day. So the advice they gave me was to add a little cup feeder and fill it with dried mealworms. I’d attract lots of other backyard birds, they said. But what I got was crows! They announce themselves loudly, knock the little cup feeder onto the ground where the squirrels enjoy a treat, and all the other birds lay low when they are around. Even the cardinals. These pictures were taken through the (dirty) sliding glass door and the screening on the lanai. But you get the idea.

He was making a racket out there.
I didn’t realize he was also sampling the gourmet bird seed in the Bird Buddy. Which didn’t take his picture.
Mealworms do seem to be his preferred food however. And I’ll keep using them until I run out, but that’ll be the end of that.

I do need more bird seed, but I’m asking myself if I need another pole? To hold another feeder or two? With some other bird seed mix? Hmmm…

a second look, birds, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, life, life goes on, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, Natures little dramas, nesting, perseverance, photography, Uncategorized

Excitement at the rookery…

A friend recently commented that she went by the rookery and not a lot was going on. But that was a few days ago, and the action is picking up at this point. The birds are flying in and out, building their nests. Once most of the nests have eggs there will be a lot of birds on nests, and that is a lot quieter. Until the chicks hatch and the decibel level goes up. Way up.

I wonder what these guys are up to?
A little hanky-panky going on. Actually there was a lot of it going on.
This spot is a small outcropping at the edge of the bigger island that the birds nest on. I’ve watched the birds for years and this area is usually where the anhingas nest, along with a great white egret also. But not the wood storks. So when this wood stork invaded the area the anhingas let him know that they weren’t going to stand for it.
It was three against one at this point.
I love the look on Mrs. Anhinga’s face in this one. I think she called for help.
I’ve always noticed that as close together the nests are the birds seem to coexist quite peacefully.
But this argument continued and I kept shooting since it seemed like new behavior to me.
Maybe flapping his wings would back the anhingas off.
But the face off was still in full swing.
At this point it seems the anhinga is backing off. But I took many, many more pictures and this standoff continued as we were leaving.
If the war nearby was alarming to any of the other birds it wasn’t obvious. The egrets were more interested in finding a partner, so they carried on as usual.
So there was lots of posing going on also.

Once they have eggs the birds will be laying in the nest, only getting up to reposition themselves. After a couple of weeks you begin to hear the babies calling out to be fed. You hope that they will be bobbing up and down in a nest that you have a view of from the sidewalk, and eventually that will be true. The cycle of life.

adventure, birds, exploring new places, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, Natures little dramas, pelicans, perseverance, photography

Pelican Paradise…

Looking at my pictures from Homosassa Springs I had to think that it really does appear to be a pelican paradise…

This is a brown pelican.
And this is a white pelican, and the bumps on his bill means that he/she is in breeding plumage.
Here we have a Black Crowned Night Heron. He is a wild bird, living here by choice. Smart bird.
Here we have an immature Black Crowned Night Heron with an adult in the background.
They aren’t afraid of people. This one was on a branch close to the walking path.
And here is more proof that they aren’t afraid of people. The woman in the glasses is getting ready to feed the pelicans. She said that they try not to feed the wild birds but these three look pretty hopeful to me.
The pelican in the center was the winner this time.
That little immature night heron looks a bit disappointed to me.
This is a Crested Caracara, who looks too pretty to be a raptor who will chase off vultures in order to feast on their left overs.
This is a little Burrowing Owl, who finally opened one eye to peek at what was going on. We are planning to take a trip to Cape Coral to see them in their natural habitat soon.
When ever I see a pretty view like this I grab my iPhone to take a picture.
Doesn’t he look flirty?
Did you know that the flamingos have black -tipped feathers? I sure didn’t.

I don’t know what drives us to go out and take pictures as often as we do. But it is especially fun to have friends who love to be out there taking pictures together. And what a beautiful place to live to be out with our cameras.

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, nature, Natures little dramas, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

A fish out of water…

The splash that you see in the feature photo is usually the first thing that catches your eye whenever you are out by a body of water taking pictures. The jumping fish are called mullet, and the fishermen catch them by throwing nets off a pier and gathering them up. I think I assumed that they jump for the fun of it, but one day when we saw dolphins along the fishing pier at Anclote Gulf Park people said that they were chasing the mullet, and quite a fun (for us) episode ensued. Life and death was at stake. We were at Homosassa Springs park on this particular day when we saw a splash across the water. Since then I have always tried to get a picture of a ‘fish out of water,’ but it has proven to be an elusive shot. My new camera with its burst mode gave me some shots, finally, but what I got wasn’t what I expected.

In this case it was a cormorant who was gazing on the water looking for lunch that started the excitement,
You can barely see any of their body, just their neck and head, as they swim. And his potential lunch is that ripple ahead of him.
And there he is, my first fish out of water. I don’t know what I expected exactly, but not two googly eyes looking at me.
I had to laugh as I looked at the pictures, I think the fish looks like a cartoon.
You get the idea. I’ll spare you the rest of the series since he stays in this same position throughout, just rising higher until he is up in front of the greenery, and then comes back down exactly as he went up. I have no idea if he managed to escape his fate on this day. But I was rooting for him.

It’s an adventure to go out for pictures, not knowing what you may find that day. And it’s also fun to click through your pictures later on the computer and find out what exactly you did get.