Thursday, April 28, 2016

Least Terns

It is this time of the year when the Least Tern return to our area and are now entering into their courtship. They may be our smallest tern but don't let that fool you - they are quite vocal and if you go too close to their nesting ground - you better be prepared - or else!
I was out on the beach today and watched this pair doing their courtship - come along and take a look....

The male initially presents and feeds the fish to the waiting female.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A young Osprey photo shoot

A walk along the Lighthouse of Sanibel brought me to observe a young Osprey that recently fledged the nest. It landed on this piece of driftwood and seemed undisturbed by all the beachgoers and apparently not ready to leave this perch for the time being.

It was practicing using its wings - getting a feel on how it all works.

Getting ready to leave this stick for another...

Check those talons - ready to latch on.

"Oh baby, it's hot out here!"

 Soon, this will become a favorite fishing hole. Good luck little fellow.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Lighthouse for possible migrants

I've been watching the e-bird reports on what has been seen and where, I usually plan my days around those sightings if possible.
The Lighthouse had great reports of an Acadian Flycatcher (would be a lifer for me), a Swainson Thrush and a Tennessee Warbler - so, I studied my bird guide and headed to the Lighthouse this morning with Elaine S.
After watching a Hooded Warbler, we switched attention to this little guy - we had ample views and enough clues to conclude after a while that we were looking at a Blackpoll Warbler - probably an adult female, first year, spring.

Then a very sweet view of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

Talk about being lucky to have it in full sight

What a beautiful bird - its feathers look luxuriously soft and the colors/patterns are very crisp - like a young man in a tux.

Our local Palms warblers have left already and we are now seeing the Palms that are traveling through as they head north. It's nice to see those breeding colors and rusty cap.

After spending 3 hours at the Lighthouse patiently and failing to see our target birds, we decided to head out and make a stop at the Snowy Plover sight. Two beautiful eggs have been laid in this spot - just out in the open - soon a third egg will be deposited and the Snowy will actively begin the incubation process.

We wondered how such a little bird could pass such a plump egg!

Notice how the shells have been carefully lined up within the nest cavity.

Not too far away, a pair of Willet were resting side by side by the ocean side - not a bad way to spend the day, hey?

As we made our way out of the beach, we couldn't help but watch with awe this beautiful Bald Eagle - most likely a 3 year old still sporting some brown feathers in its cap. I wondered what it was watching so intently.

I just wanted to close this blog today with a photo from a couple of years ago - a striking Hooded Warbler - just like the one we saw today. I look forward to my next sighting. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Bailey on Sunday

My home away from home is definitely the Bailey Tract - as soon as I set foot on the trail, it just feels right and today was no exception. I had a great time listening to all the songs surrounding me....the chuck-will's-widow for one and the Common Yellow-throat - oh, how I love his spring tune.
I was glad that I had enough light to see him.

The sun is coming up and my favorite color is aglow.

Along the Middle Dike, the Common Gallinule family was awake and ready for the day.

Oh my! What a nice surprise! An American Bittern in the tall reeds - somewhat blending in with its surrounding...

I was far enough away to observe it without disturbing it. I later reported my bird list to e-bird and I was surprised to get a 'rare' box, supposedly this fellow should have left to northern grounds by now.

Not too far away, a Prairie Warbler alerted me to its presence by singing - what a bright sunshine they are!

A skip over to the Sanibel Garden Preserve provided me with great views of the Swallow-tailed Kites.

How lovely to have them sitting still and preening away!

And here's another sweet surprise - a Cape May Warbler in its breeding plumage - most likely on its way north.

And the lovely Killdeer family - sweet!

I was going to delete this photo until I saw the smiley face - do you see it?

I'm smiling as I look at these Sabatia and thinking about my friend Elaine Jacobson, her spirit lives on.

A Dragonfly hanging on and seemingly floating in the golden air.

Peek-a-boo from a Common Buckeye

A lovely Peacock Butterfly stealing the 'star' show.

My last sighting - a Blackpoll along the Bailey Tract - a nice treat that will go on my 'Bailey' list. Another great outing - now I'm ready to face the day.