Thursday, February 18, 2016

Daily allowance of birds

I take Birdchaser's RDA  (“Recommended Daily Allowance”) of 20 bird species very seriously, and do feel disappointed when I finish my walk in a deficient state. Usually, even when the birding is slow,  I can make it to 20 species just by walking a bit closer to the north end of the trail where I am likely to see European Starlings, Fish Crows and (in winter) American Kestrels. 

Rain coming HDR 20160114

If the winter walk is cut short by threat of rain or other pressing matters I can still pick up 12 to 15 species rather easily. Starting before sunrise, it is possible to "bird by ear." While it is still dark the calls of mockingbirds ring out, and even before sunrise a Carolina Wren may start singing.  

As the sky lightens up the Gray Catbirds start mewing, the Common Grackles begin flying in from the Everglades, and the Boat-tailed Grackles screech their "songs" from the treetops. Blue Jays cry out to warn of my presence, House Wrens chatter a protest as I pass by. Pairs of Red-bellied Woodpeckers call back and forth. An Osprey or Great Egret may fly over. 

Ten species are logged already, of which eight were identified by their sounds. I should be hearing the clear whistled song of a Northern Cardinal, but no. Maybe later I will see one, as they are quite common.

Blue Jay:

Blue Jay 20151102

House Wren:

House Wren 20151018

Soon White Ibises and Ring-billed Gulls fly over, and Black and Turkey Vultures rise up to test the thermals. Eastern Phoebes "chip" and repeatedly slur their names. Fifteen species tallied, and I am only halfway out, almost reaching the lake. 

White Ibis:

White ibis in flight 20160120

Black Vulture:

Black Vulture 20151231

If the lake water were not so high, the mudflats would have hosted many long-legged waders: Snowy Egrets, Tricolored, Green and Little Blue Herons and even a Wood Stork. However, the unusually high water levels have dispersed the fish so that the birds must now range widely and work harder to find them, so I am lucky to pick up even one or two. Only a Great Egret, a species already counted, casts a reflection in still water under early light:

Great Egret before sunrise 3-20160121

Unlucky this morning, I push on, finding the starlings, but the Fish Crows do not give away their presence. My tally is stuck at sixteen, a breeze picks up and the clouds are gathering. 

Gray sky HDR 20160111

There is just enough time to visit the remains of the rookery, where a single lonely Yellow-crowned Night-Heron is an easy find. I recognize this Night-Heron as "Dirty-Crown" by her unusually streaked forehead and signs of old injury to her left leg. She has been present in the rookery for at least three breeding seasons. Last year she and a mate started a nest but abandoned it:

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Dirty-crown 20160121

Now it is time to get aerobic and walk briskly, as home is more than a mile away. A Mourning Dove straddles a power line, and a cormorant lands in the lake as I hurry by. Only two more species are needed if I am to meet my RDA. Alas, on other winter mornings when I had the leisure to look and listen I did better by finding such "extras" as--

Northern Flicker:

Northern Flicker 4-20160121

Red-shouldered Hawk:

Red-shouldered hawk 01-20151112

American Kestrel:

American Kestrel 3-20160121

Loggerhead Shrike:

Loggerhead Shrike on cypress 20151109

Anhinga:

Anhinga 2-20160121

The flowers and berries of Lantana attract buntings:

 Lantana flowers 20160113

An immature Painted Bunting shows only hints of the brilliant color which will emerge  in spring:

Painted Bunting immature male 3-20160120

An adult male Indigo Bunting in winter plumage shows a striking pattern:

Indigo Bunting winter male 20160120

The Indigo Bunting is pestered by a female Painted Bunting as he  probes at a seed head:

Painted and Indigo Buntings 20160120

A White-eyed Vireo sings its winter song::

White-eyed Vireo 20160121

A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher amuses us with its acrobatic actions:

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 4-20160119

Alas, I failed to see even one of the coveted Northern Cardinals:


Cardinal HDR 20151209

The broken fence in front of the Bald Eagle nest has been repaired and there is now a gate with barbed wire on top. Clearly a deterrent to anyone who does not know how to untie his shoes (or the bright red ribbon that serves as the "lock"):

Gate at eagle nest 20160110

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa). 

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy

Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James

Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to I Heart Macro by Laura

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Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display
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29 comments:

  1. Thats a really high security fence - I wonder what my average daily species count would be - no where near 20 I suspect - must try harder!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  2. good gate warning. :) loved the bird shots. the egret in the blue/black water is stunning! the indigo buntings are nice!

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  3. Wow-zers!!! awesome captures of the birds, most in such pretty light!!! was there a fence??......hehehehe

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  4. Your photos are amazing! I love the white egret but all are gorgeous!

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  5. Well at least the barbed wire should help to keep people out of the area. - Lots of great birds here today. I always enjoy seeing the variety that you find.

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  6. Sky shot is awesome ~ bird photography is over the top ~ fantastic!

    Wishing you a fun weekend ~ ^_^

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  7. Beautiful birds...I don't know if I could ever count on seeing 20 different kinds of birds in one day.

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  8. I also posted bird pictures, but mine aren't anywhere near the quality (or quantity!) of yours - beautiful!

    Lisa at Tales from the Love Shaque

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  9. I'm not much of a birder but I sure enjoy your photos! I'm curious to know what lens you use to capture most of them? They are nice and sharp.

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  10. Glorious series of photos. The gathering clouds are magical and so love the variety of birds.

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  11. So many beautiful birds! And the reflections ist great!

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  12. HI Kenneth Gorgeous phpotographs of all the birds along with beautiful sku shots and reflection of the Egret. Have a great weekend.

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  13. The ibis in flight is so elegant and love the feathers of the Indigo Bunting so pretty. Don't think I know the Athinga. Happy weekend!

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  14. you have lots of beautiful photos of birds, all of them are so alive, got nice skies out there too.

    The Hidden Panorama

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  15. Oh I am afraid I seldom get my RDA . Maybe looking at your beautiful birds can serve as a kind of multi-vitamin in lieu of the real thing. The bunting on the berry branches is especially beautiful today and I swear I can almost hear the vireo's song!

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  16. Amazing photos all of them. So many gorgeous birds. Have a great weekend :)

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  17. The birds shine in their element. Wonderful shots!

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  18. I commend you for your bird knowledge! There is no way I could walk through a sanctuary and know a bird by his call..that is super. These are all great shots, but in particular the great egret is awesome. Have a super weekend, and know you have inspired me to listen more closely to the birds.

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  19. Great number of bird photos! All in one day? Wow! Nice sky shots too.

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  20. wow...all those in 1 day...I wouldn't even find that many in a month!

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  21. There is always some 'idiot' who defies laws of nature and will attempt to overcome ANY barrier. The fence/gate will not keep them out if determined to harm or think they're just getting a photo or 'a better look'. They don't realize what they're doing half the time. Oh....you got me started now.

    The photos are all magnificent, but I tend to LOVE the bunting in winter garb. He's beautiful, isn't he?

    Sorry I'm late getting around to visit with you this weekend. I was gone all day yesterday....birding, of course!! Thanks for joining in by adding your valued link of your fantastic post!!

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  22. Hello, awesome variety of birds and photos. The Indigo Bunting is one of my favorites. Beautiful sky shots. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Sunday, enjoy your new week!

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  23. Always enjoy your narrative and loved the photos. Thanks so much, beautiful birds indeed!

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  24. Pretty exciting birds you have posted here. I'd love to get closer views of the White-eyed Vireo. I especially love the winter plumaged photos of the Indigo and Painted Buntings. Thanks for sharing those. I like your 20 rule. Here in Arizona that would be easy:)

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  25. Some of my favorites, Kenneth! Great captures!

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  26. Great captures of all of the beautiful birds. The raptors are my favorites.

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