Thursday, November 28, 2013

So Thankful

A good life
is when you
assume nothing,
do more, need less,
smile often, dream big, 
laugh alot, and realize 
how blessed you are.

The mini birder and I wish you a "good life" and very Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Recent Happenings

The Click Ponds have been the place to be lately. Birds of all shapes and sizes are congregating in large numbers. Sandpipers, Dowitchers, Avocets, Blue-winged Teals, Shovelers, an assortment of herons and egrets, Cranes, Wood Storks, a plethora of Spoonbills, Forster's Terns, White Pelicans....and the list goes on.

The cranes were a little edgy.

This adult Caracara was being summonsed by its offspring.

Dinnertime for an Ibis!

My first sighting of a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Florida. It made a brief two day stopover near the ponds for two days. Unfortunately I didn't manage to capture any decent photos of it.

Lots of foraging Forster's; I forgot how fun it can be to try and photograph these erratic fliers.

This Sandhill Crane was having a bit of an identity crisis!

A few more Spoonbills joined the crowd just before sunset!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Good to the Last Bite!

Big appetites seemed to be the theme at the wetlands this week. I came across an array of insects eating insects; interesting stuff!

Eastern Pondhawk with Rambur's Forktail

This Eastern Pondhawk was consuming a female orange-form Rambur's Forktail.

Eastern Pondhawk

Eastern Pondhawk

The next  Eastern Pondhawk I came across had an even larger appetite. The pondhawk was eating a female Needham's Skimmer.

Eastern Pondhawk with Needham's Skimmer

This Blue Dasher settled for a much smaller meal.

Blue Dasher
Pachydiplax longipennis

Blue Dasher
Pachydiplax longipennis

This Rambur's Forktail was taking down a small skipper.

Rambur's Forktail

Rambur's Forktail

A little bit of a messy meal this skipper was!

Rambur's Forktail

Four-spotted Pennant

The visit ended with a stop off at this pelican party.

Many other species arrived shortly after I did.

Good times!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekend at the Wetlands

I was able to spend a little bit of time enjoying the wetlands and ponds over the past few days.

I didn't notice the very faint double rainbow until I uploaded my photos.

Yellow Warbler

I saw several species of warblers taking cover under the thick underbrush in the northeast corner of the Click Ponds. I saw this bright Yellow Warbler, a beautiful male Redstart, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, lots of Palm Warblers and a Black-throated Blue Warbler.

Palm Warbler

Tricolored Heron

juvenile Little Blue Heron

I was surprised to see half a dozen White Pelicans visiting already. They were foraging alongside a few Wood Storks.

Wood Storks & White Pelicans

There are still quite a few species of dragonflies at the ponds. This pair of Common Green Darners was mating. 

Common Green Darners
Anax junius

Eastern Pondhawk
Erythemis simplicicollis

Halloween Pennant
Celithemis eponina

Happy weekend:)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Recent Butterflies & Moths

This is a great time of the year to explore the many species of butterflies and moths that can be found in Central Florida. Here are a few of the butterflies and moths I've seen over the past month at my favorite wildlife locations. The Queen is a commonly found the Viera Wetlands. I never tire of seeing this boldly colored, large butterfly.

Red Admiral
Vanessa atalanta

Last weekend, I saw quite a few Long-tailed Skipper feeding on the vegetation growing along the fence that borders the wetlands.

Long-tailed Skipper
Urbanus proteus

Long-tailed Skipper
Urbanus proteus

I encountered the next two species, the Eastern Pygmy-blue and the Ceraunus Blue, along Biolab Road on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.  

Eastern Pygmy-blue
Brephidium pseudofea

The Pygmy is the smallest butterfly in Florida and the Ceraunus is only slightly bigger. These two species are fairly similar, however, easy to distinguish by their hindspots.

Ceraunus Blue
Hemiargus ceraunus

Ceraunus Blue
Hemiargus ceraunus

Mangrove Buckeye
Junonia evarete

There were quite a few Mangrove Buckeyes along Biolab Rd as well as along Blackpoint Drive.

Perhaps my favorite find of the month was this Polka dot Wasp Moth. It is also referred to as an "Oleander Moth" because of its love of oleanders. This colorful little creature has white dotted wings and a stunning metallic blue, bright orange abdomen. This species resembles a wasp, however, it is just a harmless moth.

Polka dot Wasp Moth
Syntomeida epilais

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Strike of a Shrike

I arrived at the entrance of the Click Ponds near the Viera Wetlands just as this Loggerhead Shrike did with a scrumptious meal. From the car, I was able to snap a few photos of the shrike as it wasted no time impaling its prey on one the fence's sharp barbs. Shrikes are known to use sharp objects to hold the prey they have captured. Shrikes do not have strong enough feet to hold the sizable prey they capture, therefore they hang it somewhere so they can consume it.

I didn't stick  a round to watch the shrike eat the grasshopper as it took notice of me...

I did notice that this shrike appeared some sort of fungus or injury on its bill.