Beautiful flying things

I was at Possum Branch Preserve in late April and caught the cedar waxwings filling up on mullberries. This was the last time I saw them so I’m assuming they were fueling up for their trip north for the summer. They are beautiful even covered in berry juice.

I saw this pair of swallow tail kites soaring high over the preserve. I think it may be the first time I’ve seen two flying together.

I stopped at nearby Folly Farms next to quickly walk through the butterfly garden.

A two park morning

I stopped at nearby Folly Farms to see if I could find some hummingbirds in the butterfly garden. I only found butterflies but there were lots of yellow ones which I don’t see often.

I caught this downy woodpecker with something in his beak. It looks like a cocoon. He pulled it out of a hole in the fence.

I stopped at Possum Branch Preserve on the way home. As I headed out on the trail I caught a limpkin flying by and an osprey overhead looking for fish.

The bunnies were still around long after Easter. This one was snacking in the mimosa groundcover which blankets the preserve in the spring.

This goes under “the one that got away”. This was the only shot I got of the boblonk. It was a female. I saw the pair several times from far away as they were flying off. I had seen them here several years ago but was bummed I couldn’t get a decent shot. Hopefully they will stop by next year.

The cedar waxwings were still there, hanging out on the far end of the preserve.

SkyWatch Friday 

The return of the waxwings.

I always love seeing cedar waxwings. They looks so magestic,. This is the 2nd spring I’ve seen them at Possum Branch Preserve. They are usually hidden deep in the trees but if you are really quiet you can hear them wheezing up there.

A few minutes later they all took off and moved over to tree on the other side of the pond. I noticed the yellow tips on the bottom of his feathers in this shot.

There’s always a lot of alligators and bunnies here.

One of the ponds here is fenced in. It’s used as a watershed but I’m not sure why this one is fenced and the others are not. I found a family of limpkins moving along the fence in early April. The parents had 4 babies. They stayed hidden in the brush along the fence but I could see them looking for a way into the fenced pond. One of the parents flew in and two of the babies were able to get through the fence holes. The other parent stayed on the outside with the other 2 but eventually they also made it through the fence. If they stay in the fenced area another day or two those babies won’t make it back through until they can fly out.

It was a warm sunny morning and this great blue heron was panting.

Inspire Me Monday

All of the critters were feasting.

The usual things to see at Possum Branch Preserve.

Alligators are also usual things there. That alligator in the first one thinks that grass is hiding him. That alligator coming up behind him knew he was there.

There were no spring migrating birds feeding in the mulberry tree but the woodpecker was getting his fill.

This female red winged blackbird had 2 snacks, a caterpillar and a dragonfly.

Another usual suspect here is a brown thrasher.

Not a usual suspect in the mulberry trees right before I left.  A small flock of cedar waxwings landed on the back side of the tree. I’ve seen them here once before several years ago. It was hard to get shots of them on the back side of the tree that backs up to the pond full of gators. Standing under the tree I could see several at the top with their faces covered in berry juice. They are such an elegant bird, always so clean. I felt like I should have offered them a napkin but I left them to their mulberry buffet.

My Corner of the World

Rare birds and common ones

I hadn’t seen cedar waxwings in years. They are somewhat rare here and only a few come through during spring migration. I saw one hiding deep in the bushes and was a little bummed he was not visible. Later in my walk a flock of them quickly flew by and one stopped for a few second right in front of me. They are beautiful birds.

A rare western kingbird. I’ve only seen these once before in the area in the last 9 years. At first I thought it was a great crested flycatcher which are more common but realized later it was a kingbird.

All of the usual birds that are at Possum Branch Preserve.

Not sure what this little yellow bird it. I’m thinking it’s an immature palm warbler.

Other little critters along the lake (besides alligators).

These were all taken at Possum Branch Preserve, a small watershed, near my home in mid-April.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

We got fallout – Skywatch Friday

DSC_7682

My first cedar waxwing of the year. There were several in the bush and this was all I got.

DSC_7838

I think this is a female orchard oriole. With berry stains on her beak, looking at me.

DSC_7841

Same as above.

DSC_7858

One of the few male summer tanager sightings I saw.

DSC_7862

Another yellow bird. I’m still going with female orchard oriole.

DSC_7886

Same as above.

DSC_7893

An immature rose breasted grosbeak with berry stains on his chest.

DSC_7903

An immature male orchard oriole.

DSC_7910

Eastern kingbird all covered in berry stains.

DSC_8042

A male orchard oriole.

DSC_8054

A summer tanager with a bug in his beak.

DSC_8058

Hooded warbler with a bee in his beak.

DSC_8065

A prothonotary warbler so busy eating he didn’t even notice us.

DSC_8075

A few seconds later he looks up, all covered in berry juice.

DSC_8037

A crow chasing all of the little birds away from the fountain.

What a busy morning. In mid-April we got spring migration fall out at Fort Desoto. We had storms earlier in the week but the birds stayed put through the weekend. I was expecting to show up at the park and only see cardinals.  Birds were busy hopping from bush to tree and back. Most were eating the mulberries but some were also eating bugs. You really had to pay attention to get pictures for the few seconds they sit still which is hard to do when you keep running into people you haven’t seen since last spring migration and you want to catch up. There were a lot of people on the trails but everyone was nice and pointed out what they were seeing. There were lots of bird experts there and I was going to try to take notes but I was afraid I’d miss something if I stopped to write something down. April was a busy month so I’ll have more little bright bird pictures. If I got any of these wrong, please let me know.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

Cedar Waxwings – Skywatch Friday

I had heard there were cedar waxwings flying around Fort Desoto. I have only seen them once in Atlanta. It was Christmas eve of 2010. I went for a walk in my in-laws neighborhood and it was lightly snowing. I saw them and ran back to the house to get my camera. I had not seen any since.  I was thinking that it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack to find them at Fort Desoto so I didn’t get my hopes up. I wasn’t there five minutes and saw this big flock land in a tree right in front of me. I couldn’t believe it was them. They stayed for a few minutes, then all took off flying away. When I headed over to the mulberry bush woods, there they were. Sitting on top of the big mulberry bushes at the front of the trail. They really are cool looking birds. I saw them several times that day and again during the height of the spring migration week.

For more sky pictures check out Skywatch Friday  Skywatch Friday