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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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--
The flowers and berries of Lantana attract buntings:
An immature Painted Bunting shows only hints of the brilliant color which will emerge in spring:
An adult male Indigo Bunting in winter plumage shows a striking pattern:
The Indigo Bunting is pestered by a female Painted Bunting as he probes at a seed head:
A White-eyed Vireo sings its winter song::
A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher amuses us with its acrobatic actions:
Alas, I failed to see even one of the coveted Northern Cardinals:
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"):
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa).
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
Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display
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!ReplyDelete
Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne
good gate warning. :) loved the bird shots. the egret in the blue/black water is stunning! the indigo buntings are nice!ReplyDelete
Wow-zers!!! awesome captures of the birds, most in such pretty light!!! was there a fence??......heheheheReplyDelete
Your photos are amazing! I love the white egret but all are gorgeous!ReplyDelete
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.ReplyDelete
Sydney – City and Suburbs
Sky shot is awesome ~ bird photography is over the top ~ fantastic!ReplyDelete
Wishing you a fun weekend ~ ^_^
Beautiful birds...I don't know if I could ever count on seeing 20 different kinds of birds in one day.ReplyDelete
I also posted bird pictures, but mine aren't anywhere near the quality (or quantity!) of yours - beautiful!ReplyDelete
Lisa at Tales from the Love Shaque
These are all just stunning!ReplyDelete
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.ReplyDelete
Glorious series of photos. The gathering clouds are magical and so love the variety of birds.ReplyDelete
So many beautiful birds! And the reflections ist great!ReplyDelete
HI Kenneth Gorgeous phpotographs of all the birds along with beautiful sku shots and reflection of the Egret. Have a great weekend.ReplyDelete
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!ReplyDelete
you have lots of beautiful photos of birds, all of them are so alive, got nice skies out there too.ReplyDelete
The Hidden Panorama
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!ReplyDelete
Amazing photos all of them. So many gorgeous birds. Have a great weekend :)ReplyDelete
The birds shine in their element. Wonderful shots!ReplyDelete
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.ReplyDelete
Great number of bird photos! All in one day? Wow! Nice sky shots too.ReplyDelete
wow...all those in 1 day...I wouldn't even find that many in a month!ReplyDelete
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.ReplyDelete
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!!
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!ReplyDelete
Always enjoy your narrative and loved the photos. Thanks so much, beautiful birds indeed!ReplyDelete
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:)ReplyDelete
Some of my favorites, Kenneth! Great captures!ReplyDelete
Great captures of all of the beautiful birds. The raptors are my favorites.ReplyDelete