Thursday, January 24, 2013

Not Your Typical...

American Robin.....On Sunday, I saw the normal winter mass of American Robins feeding on the Brazilian Pepper berries at the ponds. As I was scanning the mass, I noticed one particular Robin stood out from the group. It was this leucistic Robin whose very light coloring stood out against the dark leaves. This was the first time I've seen a Robin with this condition.

White Ibis...On Monday morning, the not so typically hued bird sightings continued. I was pulling out of a parking lot, 7-11 of all places, when a brightly colored bird among a group of White Ibis caught my eye. My view was somewhat obstructed and my first thought was what in the world is a Spoonbill doing foraging in the mulch???

I decided to go back and take a closer look. It turned out to be a "Pink" Ibis, a White Ibis with some Scarlet mixed in there somewhere. I had never seen one these before, but it turns out these are seen around Florida from time to time.

The Ibis with the lizard cracked me up. There was actually a little lizard tug-a-war going on between an adult and juvi before I took this photo,  but I didn't have my camera out of the bag yet.

Well, Tuesday came along and it was back to work and back to the normally hued birds!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jetty Park 1/20/13

We went to Jetty Park early Sunday morning to see if the Razorbill reported Saturday afternoon was still around. I felt hopeful as we pulled up and saw a small crowd of people checking out some action in the channel. It turned out to be a submarine navigating its way out of the port, which was pretty cool to see, but not quite as cool as a Razorbill would have been...

Gulls never seem to let any birds (or people) eat in peace. If a bird is brave enough to return to the beach with its catch, they can be sure a hot pursuit is imminent. As we walked out on the jetty, we saw this Ring-billed Gull getting a taste of its own medicine as it was relentlessly tagged teamed  by a Great Black-backed Gull and immature Herring Gull (I think).

The Ring-billed Gull didn't seem intimidated and held on to its meal.  I lost sight of them after a few minutes, so I missed the final outcome.

I saw this Bonaparte's Gull floating close to the rocks along the jetty. These handsome birds look similar to the Laughing Gulls that heavily populate the area year round.

This Royal Tern didn't seem to the Sanderling that was foraging underneath him.

There is always a large group of Skimmers at Jetty Park. The flock can usually be seen resting on the beach. A few of the Skimmers decided it was feeding time, and put on quite a show as they skimmed back and forth along the beach.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Viera Wetlands & "Click" Ponds 1/18/13

Friday afternoon I enjoyed a quiet 2 hour drive around the Click Ponds & Viera Wetlands as my nap-rebelling toddler slept soundly in his car seat (a very rare occurrence). I didn't even care that it starting raining when I arrived. 

Lots of birds enjoy hanging out deep in the reeds, but I don't usually see Cardinals in there. He didn't quite blend in as most of the other species do.

The trees surrounds the ponds were packed with birds. Masses of American Robins were flying every direction. There were numerous Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers.

Most of us don't equate Forster's Terns with terror, however, that apparently is not the case for this Coot.

Great Blue Heron mating season is in full swing at the wetlands. I stopped to watch this pair for a few minutes. As I sat there, this male flew down and landed a few feet from my car.

The female looked a little impatient as she waited for the male to return with a stick. Maybe their construction has fallen behind schedule.

The male was relieved that the female approved of his choosen stick.

This refreshing drive resulted in smiles for all!

Monday, January 14, 2013

You Got Mud on Your Face...

Not a whole lot of excitement of the birding kind this past week....but I did see....

An Ibis rockin' out in the mud.

A beautiful pair of Common Loons in the Indian River at a small park in Titusville.

One tired Loon.

Surely this Banded Water Snake was good to the last bite!

This young Hawk was in a neighbor's tree...Cooper's Hawk???

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ponce Inlet & Smyrna Dunes Park 1/2/13

1/1/13 Sunrise
 Indian River 

I met up with my first bird of the year New Year's morning as I walked out on a dock along the Indian River at sunrise. The Great Blue Heron and I were equally startled by our unexpected encounter.  Brown Pelicans, Cormorants, Laughing and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, hundreds of Lesser Scaups, Belted Kingfisher, and Ospreys were also observed.

Ponce de Leon Lighthouse

My son and I headed out Wednesday morning for a day trip up the coast. Our first stop was at the Ponce Inlet, which is just south of Daytona Beach. We walked out on the fishing pier scanning the calm ocean waters as well as the rocks along the jetty for birds.

Snowy Egret

We saw this Snowy Egret with an injured foot at the entrance of pier. It later made its was to the end of the pier where it tried to get a free hand out from the fishermen. Ruddy Turnstones were the only birds we saw along the rocks. We saw about a dozen Northern Gannets fishing offshore. 

Ring-billed Gull

On the beach there was a large, mixed flock of Terns, Gulls, and Skimmers.

Royal Tern 

Next we headed south to Smyrna Dunes Park, which is on the other side of the inlet.

 We walked along the 2 mile boardwalk that winds through the dunes. We only saw a few birds, Loggerhead Shrikes and Palm Warblers. We saw quite a few Gopher Tortoise burrows, many of which had Tortoises nearby.

We came across this pair that was engaging in some interesting courtship behaviors. They initially stood about 5 five feet part with the male (I think) bobbing his head rapidly up, down, and  sided to side.

He then approached the other tortoise who retreated into her shell.

The male pushed his head into the other tortoise's shell and began pushing her around. The female tried to leave with the male following close by.

They both went tumbling into the burrow.

The male quickly came back out. He then walked around, ate some leaves, and decided to return to the burrow....

And wait....

We walked by about 20 minutes later and he was still waiting.