Thursday, March 9, 2017

Making time for birding

Like many birders, I try to make time to see birds at every opportunity when not engaged in higher priority activities. This was the case earlier this week when we received word that Mary Lou's brother Richard was admitted to the hospital and had taken a bad turn. We drove almost 300 miles to Leesburg to visit him, and stayed at a hotel in Lake Mary, a community in The Villages. We spent the better part of two days with him and family members, getting back to our hotel late in the day.

Knowing of our passion, Mary Lou's younger brother Ray had researched the Internet and, early on our first morning, led us to a couple of birding spots. The first was Paradise Park, only about a half mile from the hotel. We had little time to spare but spent an interesting half hour, during which time I logged 12 bird species.

The sun was rising out over the lake, creating very difficult photographic conditions. I rescued a few poorly exposed images, among them...

A flock of five Long-billed Dowitchers with a Lesser Yellowlegs in the foreground:

Long-billed Dowitchers with Lesser Yellowlegs 02-20170306

A poor shot of the dowitchers, which are large sandpipers with substantial straight bills:

Long-billed Dowitchers 20170306

Three Lesser Yellowlegs...

Lesser Yellowlegs 20170306

...which took flight:

Lesser Yellowlegs in flight 20170306

Two small flocks of American White Pelicans soared over the lake and then 14 joined together in the sky. Appearing ungainly on land, they are majestic in flight:

American White Pelicans 02-20170306

American White Pelicans 20170306

On the way back to the hospital, Ray pointed out Veterans' Memorial Park a small park right next door to our hotel. That evening, just before sunset, we walked out from the parking lot and visited it.

Beautiful old Bald Cypress trees bordered the far side of the small lake:

Old Cypress trees 2-20170307

A Tufted Titmouse was singing vigorously:

Tufted Titmouse 20170306

It flew down to the ground and poked around in the leaves:

Tufted Titmouse 04-20170306

Tufted Titmouse 03-20170306

Tufted Titmouse 02-20170306

It was getting dark but I was able to get some of my best shots ever of two pairs of Lesser Scaup in the lake. I loved the way the low light played on the ripples. This is one of the males:

Lesser Scaup male 03-20170306

Female Lesser Scaup:

Lesser Scaup female 20170306

We returned the next morning just after sunrise. The old cypress trees cast beautiful reflections:

Old Cypress trees 20170307

We were amazed to find two Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks in the small pond, next to a busy highway:

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks 20170307

A Hooded Merganser photo-bombed the whistling-ducks:

Merganser photobombs Whistlers 20170317

The merganser paddled over nearer to us...

 Hooded Merganser 04-20170307

...where it joined another, possibly its mate:

Hooded Mergansers 02-20170307

They swam out under a bridge into a larger lake. The effect of early morning sun and the reflection of the hotel created a dazzling effect:

Hooded Mergansers 03-20170307

Before we departed, one last scan revealed a Limpkin!

Limpkin 02-20170207


An Anhinga dried its wings in a cypress tree next to the hotel. The wall is my substitute for the fence meme:

 Anhinga in Cypress 20170307

In the space of only a little more than a half hour, we recorded 24 bird species. See the eBird checklist at this link: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35021519

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to GOOD FENCES by Gosia

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 Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh

________________________________________________

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

________________________________________________

27 comments:

  1. The water is shinning and those birds look happy!Such a paradise.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A great series of photos, especially the birds in flight

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautiful series, Kenneth! I love the colour, light and details in your photos.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes it is amazing even iove the Cypress tree shots with their reflections and of course all the birds you saw. Hope all goes well for your brother in law. Kenneth

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow ~ So sorry about your brother-in-law ~ healing energy to you, your wife and family ~
    But look what you got to photograph ~ lovely 'feathered friends' photos and love the cypress trees too ~ the yin and yang of life ~

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm not a birder so much; more just a generic Nature freak and tree hugger

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for all the nice photos. And I am glad I saw the old bald cypress trees. Nver seen such trees.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This series is just gorgeous. I enjoyed the birds in flight and then came across the light reflecting on the water and the cypress tress. Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  9. How wonderful getting help finding some great birding spots! You saw some amazing birds and got some truly beautiful shots!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I don't like reading Mary Lou's brother took a bad turn...most importantly I hope his health improves.

    Great photos. My favorites are the anhinga & those stunning photos of the cypress. Thanks for sharing @ I'd rather b birdin today.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Mary Lou's brother passed away just two days after we returned home. He seemed to have rallied and we were hoping he would soon be discharged to hospice care. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  12. beautiful bird photos and I love the reflections with the cypress trees.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lots of wonderful bird pictures and great reflections!

    My condolences.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The sharpness in these photos are amazing! Never have seen these bald cypresses. And love the pelicans in formation! Many thanks for sharing this with SEASONS, and wishing Mary Lou wisdom and strength regarding her brother. Have a meaningful week!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I was out and about in Jakarta, as my 'higher priority activities' have been completed - you got much better pictures!

    Cheers - Stewart M - In Melbourne, but jet-lagged!

    ReplyDelete
  16. The golden water is wonderful in that one shot. And all of your pictures are amazing. Hope your BIL is better. It's great to find a nature place to relieve tension at a time like that. Even if you don't get so many wonderful birds. That was a fabulous plus!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. What a fantastic series of critters! I have loved pelicans ever since 'Flipper' but have never seen any for myself. I hope your BIL is doing ok.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ah, that titmouse if so cute! Love the bald cypress too. Truly magnificent trees.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Kenneth, marvelous job! The birds lifting off the water is a spectacular shot. You photographed at the right angle to capture the glistening water so well. I also like the last Cyprus trees pix with the beautiful reflections in the water. :) Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful WW! :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh that wonderful Anhinga, the Cypress trees and Mergansers collectively are my favorites, however you got some great shots of all that you shared. I hope that you are doing well~

    ReplyDelete
  21. On adore les pélican en mode vol en escadrille ;-)
    Céline & Philippe

    ReplyDelete
  22. What gorgeous images! So colorful!

    ReplyDelete
  23. That's definitely a good day of birding--though unexpected. What lovely shots of the birds in flight! Hope the patient is well on the mend.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting Rosyfinch Ramblings! I will enjoy a visit to your page just as soon as possible.