Monday, December 31, 2012

A Bird Count, the Beach & Happy New Year!

This past weekend I participated in my first Christmas Bird Count with the Space Coast Audubon Society. I had a blast exploring a relatively rural area in the southern end of Brevard County. My group was a lot of fun to work with. We found an average number of species for our area, near 60. American Robins were the most populous species that we saw, noting close to 1,000 of these migrants in the area. 

We saw several different species of raptors, including 2 Bald Eagles, several Red-shouldered Hawks, a Merlin, numerous Kestrel,, Osprey and finally at the end of the day, a Northern Harrier. My favorite sighting of the day was a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a bird I rarely see in this area. We also saw 4 different species of doves. The White-winged Dove was a lifer for me. We saw several dozen of them.

As I hiked along some scrub searching for Scrub-Jays, I saw these really cool looking plants. I'm not sure what they are but they very popular with the insects. I  saw this beautiful Gray Hairstreak, along with a Common Buckeye, a few Queens and numerous bees.

We also spent some time at the beach this week. While there has only been one sighting of a Razorbill at Jetty Park, we made a few hopeful trips to the jetty to see what we could find.

No luck on a Razorbill, but we did see this beautiful Sea Turtle. There are 6 species of Sea Turtles that are found along the beaches and I believe this one is a Green Sea Turtle. Sadly, in Florida these beautiful turtles  are listed as Endangered Species.

The beach was packed with Royal Terns mixed with a few Sandwich and Forster's Terns. There were also Herring, Lesser Black-backed, Ring-billed, and Laughing Gulls. There was also a massive group of Skimmers huddled together. A few Sanderlings and Turnstones were meandering through the groups.

Royals Terns

Royal Tern

2013 is coming....enjoy the ride!!! 

"Be Silly. Be Honest. Be kind."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and birdy New Year!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Buffle Bath

I went out to the wetlands yesterday, hoping to see the lone male Bufflehead that has been around the past few days. I spotted him in middle of the southern end of cell 2. We observed him for a little over half an hour. The Bufflehead mostly went about his business, foraging alone, but occasionally tagged along with a nearby group of Hooded Mergansers.


Watching the Bufflehead preen was amusing. He rolled on to his side and swam in circles as he cleaned his feathers.

Bufflehead & Hooded Merganser


The Great Blue Herons are hard at work these days. The females are perched upon their chosen Palm Trees.

Great Blue Heron

The males are gathering materials to construct their nests.

This Limpkin was searching for apple snails.


This scene made me smile. Coots are very common and numerous this time of the year at the wetlands. This was the first time though, that I saw a Coot eating off the back of a turtle! The turtle didn't seem to mind the free cleaning.

Eastern Phoebes are also common this time of year.

Eastern Phoebe

Ruddy Duck

Red-tailed Hawk

I saw this young Red-tailed Hawk on a light post near the wetlands.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Excitement is in the air...

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

MIT & the Click Ponds 12/13/12

Just a few shots from Moccasin Island Tract and the Click Ponds....

A curious Loggerhead Shrike

A loud Eastern Meadowlark...."Can you hear me now?" 

A hungry Wood Stork eating a decaying dead fish...

This was the Stork's reply when I asked how the fish tasted...

Finally, I saw my first Bufflehead at the Click Ponds:)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Snow White Birds

An Egret feeding frenzy.

On your mark, get set, go!

Water ballet!

A meal on the fly.

Gotcha little fish.


This White Pelican did not receive a warm welcome from the Egrets. 

I was happy to see him!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Weekend

As always the weekend just seems to fly by! I started the weekend out with an early morning trip the very foggy Click Ponds. I love being out in the fog as it adds a sense of mystery to the air....

Red-shouldered Hawk

When I arrived at the ponds, I noticed this Red-shouldered Hawk perched on a low post near the road. This young hawk is in the process of developing its adult plumage.

Common Yellowthroat

Since the visibly was so low over the ponds, I walked along the path between the two ponds and looked for birds in the reeds.  

Marsh Wren

 This Marsh Wren was easy to find thanks to its loud call.

Swamp Sparrow

There were lots of Savannah Sparrows around as well as a few of these, which I think are Swamp Sparrows.

Swamp Sparrow

This Sora made a quick dash across the fallen reeds.


 I heard there were some Buffleheads, including a beautiful male, spotted at the ponds earlier in the week and I was hoping to see them, but I had to leave before the fog lifted.

A few of the many webs:)

Next up was the local Christmas parade. The dog was a little humiliated by his festive neck piece, but he quickly forgot about it when he spotted the SPCA float coming down the road. My son was flabbergasted by all the loot being thrown his way.

Word on the street was the real Santa was in town...

Soft shelled Turtle

On Sunday we took a quick drive through the wetlands.

The stars from the latest Hollywood production, Three Turtles and a Grackle, were there.

Great Blue Heron

And finally, it was time to pick out a tree. Yep, this is the time of year the Great Blue Herons pick out the perfect palm tree to begin their nesting season! Tis' the season!!