Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Joys of Parenting

"Mom, mom, mama..."

juvenile Florida Scrub Jay


"I'm hungry!"


~sibling rivalry~ "I had it first!"

feuding juvenile Scrub Jays

"NO, I had it first"

"Is it naptime yet???" asks mama.

adult Florida Scrub Jay

"Play with me, mom!"

adult and juvenile Black Vultures

"Time to eat!"

juvenile & adult Anhingas

"Time to eat again!"

juvenile & adult Common Gallinules

"I can do it all by myself!"

juvenile & adult Sandhill Cranes

"I need help!"

 adult Red-shouldered Hawk

"I don't want to eat snake again!"

juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk

~more sibling rivalry~ "You move, I was here first!"

juvenile Anhingas

While parenting can be demanding, one look into a sweet, innocent, little face and we are reminded how lucky we are to hold the title of parents!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

In the Hood

The presence of Pileated Woodpeckers is easy to detect thanks to the amount of noise they make while foraging for bugs. Last week I was really excited to see my first juvenile Pileated perched in an Oak in my yard. 

Dad was in a nearby tree looking for something to eat.

He then delivered a meal to his patiently waiting youngster.

Unfortunately my photo came out exceptionally terrible, but it was a cool interaction to observe (so I shared it anyway).

My neighbors have a Red-shouldered Hawk's nest in their yard. The three juveniles that fledged the nest still remain close by. The parents continue to bring food to the young hawks.

This in an adult (not sure if its one of the parents) that frequents my yard. It isn't very shy and will land in the yard when we are nearby.

Note to self: walk quickly when passing an Osprey in this position (yes, he is aiming for you).

One day on my way home for work, I passed this Osprey enjoying his dinner in the company of a Great Horned Owl:) I counted 7 decoy owls on this particular dock...they appear to have made friends with the neighborhood birds though.

Snakes are a very important part of the local food chain. The rodents feed the snakes; the snakes feed the raptors. I recent saw this Red Rat Snake, also known as a Corn Snake, slithering through the grass. I laid in the grass as the snake traveled toward me, then right on past me. If you look closely at the snake's eye, you can see the reflection of the sky.

And what goes great with a relaxing, outdoor Sunday breakfast...

...did you guess watching a Yellow Rat Snake land with a loud thud on the nearby cement boat ramp as it fell from a Palm tree clutching a rat that was fighting for its life. Well, that didn't happen during my breakfast, but it did during my neighbor's who preceded to call me over as I worked in the yard. I then watched the snake have its Sunday breakfast.

Interesting to see how quickly the snake swallowed the large rat.

A final wave goodbye...

And the snake was off. I was glad I had already eaten!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Osprey Action

Ospreys are plentiful around my house. There are actually nests every 1/4 mile for several miles. They have been partaking in nesting activities for several months. I haven't, however, seen or heard any babies in any of the nests.

Two's company, three's a crowd...yup...these Ospreys aren't fond of visitors. 

They usually quickly escort unwanted intruders away...

...with a stern warning to stay away or else!

The happy couple back together!

Dinner time!

I captured this Osprey yesterday evening enjoying its dinner as the sun was setting!

Friday, May 3, 2013

What a Wrack!

Nothing about today shouted it would be a great day to head to the beach. None the less, that is where we ended up. We even deviated from our usual stomping ground, Jetty Park, but only by a mile. The tot and I stopped off at a small park, loaded the wagon, and headed up the beach. While my son searched for buried treasures, I searched for birds. The weather has been poor the last few days, so I was hoping something unexpected might show up.

As we entered the beach, it was kind of hard miss the massive wrack line that spanned as far as we could see. We headed north, toward Jetty Park, which was a possible destination, so long as the threat of rain remained low.

Semipalmated Plover

I was happy to see that the abundance of sea debris attracted an abundance of shorebirds.

nonbreeding Sanderling

breeding Sanderling

Least Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper?

breeding Ruddy Turnstone

It was a good idea to watch your step today...

Luckily we avoided any painful steps...

Coming into to the port...

 Have a relaxing weekend!

(This little fellow fell out of an oak tree in my yard and landed a few feet from me...thankfully not on me)