Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hawk Watch

The Audubon of Southwest Florida had their Hawk Watch this morning, its location was on Sanibel Island by the lighthouse. A nice crowd gathered up for the event on this beautiful and clear day. As I waited for things to unfold, I strolled a bit along the path nearby and was able to catch sight of a House Wren - its voice preceding its sight.
There it is singing its heart out.

After a short and sweet welcome by Jim Rodenfels - the field trip coordinator, we were introduced to our one and only birder extraordinaire - Vince McGraph. Vince led us to the base of the Lighthouse where we stood for several hours with our eyes glued to the sky - hoping, waiting and watching some of the hawks that came through - Kestrels, Merlin and Sharpie, as well as many migrants and some of our local feathered friends.

A female Indigo Bunting landed very close to where we were - giving everyone a great view.

An Eastern Wood-Pewee came shortly after, also staying for a bit for everyone to see.

Another Indigo Bunting as well as many others came through where we were - a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher flew by many times and that was probably one of the most favorite from the sound of the crowd - I wish that I had been able to capture it to show you - as it was a gorgeous flycatcher. 
All in all, it was a great morning - what's not to love about birding and being surrounded with friends who love to bird!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ding Darling - and the Roseates

Fall is here - and low tide is happening at Ding - time to make a visit. The gates open at 7:30a.m. and there's always a line waiting for it to open and today was no different. 
A juvenile White Ibis

An adult White Ibis - I love their blue eyes.

The sunrise was casting a special glow on the Roseate Spoonbills, a beautiful sight to greet the day.

A Spotted Sandpiper taking the view in or perhaps just trying to hide from me.

The No-seeums were really bad this morning and after a while I gave up and sought shelter in my car and took photos through my windows - the result was a slightly different tint.....took me a while to figure out why they were looking different.

Ding Darling is such a special place, you just never know what you're going to see - and so many different species hang out together too! Reports of the White Pelicans came in the other day but this morning I couldn't find any.

A quick walk on the Calussa Shell Mound trail before leaving provided me with a Carolina Wren in full view above my head,

A Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher buzzing by and

an Ovenbird checking me out.

Quite the acrobat this Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher, I never tire of watching them.

Make sure to check this little trail, it always holds nice surprises.
My E-Bird List for today

Friday at the B.Tract

Promises of migrants coming through as a result of the wind/weather changes prompted me to return to the Bailey Tract and the Sanibel Garden Preserves.
I could see several groups of small birds overhead, though with my lack of experience, was not able to identify what was going by. Some others however - being larger in size - made it somewhat easier....
such as the Great Blue Heron. I took note of its tail feathers in flight mode and how similar the bird looked like a crane when its neck is extended. The more I get out on the field, the more details I seem to pick up along the way.

This burst of yellow landing on top of the tree turned out to be a Prairie Warbler.

A beautiful female Common Yellowthroat gave me some good looks before departing.

The Palm Warblers are back in full force - dashing from left to write and often leading the way along the trail - nibbling on the insects close to the ground.

The Catbirds can also be heard everywhere I turned to.

Bushes/trees filled with bursts of flowers are attracting the bees making the blooms come alive with buzzing activity.

Holding on and facing north.

Sweet little Blue Grey Gnatcatcher granted me one last look before I left the trail.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bailey Tract - Palms, Eagles and Otters - oh my

Another beautiful day in paradise and today, as a bonus, the air is a bit cooler and breezier - a perfect combo for a late morning/early afternoon stroll at the Bailey Tract.
Since it was nearing midday, I didn't expect to see too many birds, so I turned my attention to smaller these dragonflies mating.

Our local butterflies made an appearance, such as this Gulf Fritillary.

The Tricolored Heron in his spot - I swear he's a stick potato and never leaves his spot. While I was watching him, I could hear eagles in the distance and I finally saw them....

The were circling way up and came closer and closer until they locked talons and began spiraling downward - which is a courtship ritual - talk about taking the plunge!

Once the Eagles were out of sight, I returned my attention to the Mangrove Pond and observed this Snowy Egret - I can tell that he's still young by the yellow stripe behind his legs.

A single Pied-billed Grebe owned the Pond and seemed to play games with me by ducking under as soon as I would raise my camera. He's smiling seemingly saying...I'll let you take this one and with a smile too!

Not too far, a juvenile Little Blue.

Here was the surprise of the day - a family of Otters (3) kept hiding from me and as soon as I would turn, they would pop out and dash across the way - their reactions were much quicker than mine.....youth!!

The last one seemed curious enough to sit for a millisecond before following his family into the dense shrubs.

Toward the end  of the Middle Dike lane, the Great Egret was holding his grounds - always behind the reeds while tending to his hunger.

The Salt bushes are in bloom and they are striking.

A Palm Warbler - one of many along the Bailey Tract, actually they usually lead the way as they feed on insects and stay a few feet ahead of me.

A White Peacock butterfly.

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Next time you are around, make sure to stop by and visit the Bailey Tract, you just never know what you will find along the way. One thing is certain, there is never a boring moment while you are out and about in nature.
My E-Bird List