Fly away little ones!

It was the third week in March and the parents were so busy bringing in food for their big growing babies.

Originally the parent landed on a lower part of the tower and seem to take a break before heading up to the nest. By the looks of the babies attacking the parent for food I can see why he hesitated. The parent brought in 3 meals within an hour this morning.

At the end of March I stopped by and saw both babies sitting high up in the tower with Mom (you can just see the head of one of the babies farther down). A few minutes after I got there the parent took off.

A few minutes later both babies took off flying down the field. I don’t think it was their very first full flight since they seemed confident in their flights. They flew pretty far away and circle around several times. It was amazing to see these babies going full flight down the utility field. I knew at that point that we would be empty nesters soon enough. They eventually landed on the top of tower next to the nesting tower and sat there for a while.

Here comes the parent with food and both babies headed back to the nest but not before making another circle around the area. For two weeks after this I would see them early in the morning high up in the tower and still getting fed by the parents. One morning only one baby was on the tower and when the parent came back to the nest with food the other baby was following him. I’m assuming he followed the parent out and was watching them and learning.

This was the last time I saw them sitting on the tower. It was just past middle of April. After this I saw them sitting several towers down and then they were gone by the end of April. I hope they are doing well, flying free! Now I have to wait until October to see the parents again.

Inspire Me Monday

Last spring trip to Circle B Bar Reserve

A few things blooming on the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve at the end of March.

Looking across the pond, I took this straight into the sun.

The painted buntings were still there and I was able to catch two males sitting near each other. After feeding they both flew across the canal.

A crow showing me his nesting material before taking off.

A few fly bys. A cattle egret up in the sky and a great blue heron cruising low over two alligators.

It doesn’t get much better than this. A cool sunny morning on the trails.

I could see an eagle high up in the cypress tree across the pond.

Farther down the trail I saw two eagles chasing each other.

They both landed high up in the trees and sat together for a while, often yelling. Mating season was over so I’m not sure what they were doing. Maybe a late nest? Maybe they were making plans to meet up this fall? Or they were talking about how great their new kids were?

I’m thinking this will be my last trip here until late Fall. It’s a long drive to Lakeland and it’s too hot to be out on the trails in the middle of summer. I’ll be sticking close to home and the coast to catch a little breeze (although probably a hot one).

My Corner of the World

An eagle family update

In the middle of March my neighborhood eagle babies were as big as their parents. They were hopping around and moving around the tower near the nest.

One of the parents flew in with a squirrel and both babies attacked the parent. I’m sure both were hungry that morning. The older one usually gets to eat first.

The parent dropped of the meal and left. At this point they were bringing back several snacks each morning. These babies were eating a lot.

The younger one just sits there and watches his big sibling eat first. If there’s any left he’ll get the rest or wait for a parent to bring in more food.

A few days later it was dark and cloudy with a storm moving in so I stopped for a quick visit and caught one of the babies eating while the other was sitting high up in the tower. If the nest was in a tree this would be called branching, where they start hopping around from branch to branch but in this cause they are working their way up the tower.

Another week later and the oldest was still eating first. He eventually stopped and let the younger one eat but not without a “I can already fly” attitude.

A few minutes later a parent flew in with a small fish (in his left talon).

He dropped off the fish and took off again.

After a full meal everything was quiet for a while.

Inspire Me Monday

Getting some air

Early March at the neighborhood eagle’s nest. One morning I got there and heard one of the parents screaming from a tree nearby. She left right after I snapped this and showed up at the nest later with a snack.

These were all in the first week of March. The oldest baby got to eat first and then the younger one got what was left. Most days several snacks were brought to the nest. One morning I was there for an hour and they brought in 2 fish and a squirrel.

After the eldest finished eating he was showing off his flight skills.  He was getting pretty high up but his landing was always wobbly.

One of the parents flew off. Probably the Mom who had been there all night.

A week later I stopped by on a cloudy day. Rain was coming in but I wanted to see them before the storm hit.  One of the babies was really enjoying his meal. It looked furry so I’m thinking a squirrel. Most of the earlier meals looked like fish.

A few days later and they were really getting some air. At this point both parents would be missing most of the morning. Only to stop by to drop off food for the babies.

 

Walking in the Greek fog.

I got up early and was headed to see some eagles north of Tarpon Springs. It was only barely foggy at my house with the sun peaking out but as I drove north the fog got so thick I could barely see. I was thinking the eagles would be tough to shoot in the fog so I decided to stop for a long walk (I was going to walk after the eagles anyway). I parked along the main strip in Tarpon Springs where the sponge docks were and was one of only a few out that early. It was weird to walk around in the fog here. I’m usually here at lunch on the weekends with all of the other tourists.

A few of the sights along the strip.

At the far end of the strip away from the restaurants and shops, I found some local fish markets. I made a note to get back up here for some seafood to take home.

The water was quiet and I could barely see some pelicans still sleeping in the mangrove bushes across the way.

I thought this was a cool old building, off the beaten path. I’m sure there’s some great history here.

After my walk I finally made it to the eagles nest.  There were two babies in the nest but I could only see one of them sitting up. They were fully grown at this point but hadn’t left the nest yet. An adult was sitting in a snag close by, looking all magestic even in the fog.

SkyWatch FridayFriendship Friday

Neighborhood Eagle watch Part 1

I’ve been keeping an eye on my neighborhood eagles. They are in a high utility tower across from a field so they are pretty far away but I can get a good look at them and their lives. The above were taken in early February. I could still only see one baby. I couldn’t see the other baby laying down in the back. Mom was bringing in a fish for breakfast.

Ten days later I could see both babies. One of the parents had brought in a fish with a bunch of seaweed. At this point the parent was dropping off the food on the nest for the babies to eat on their own.

Five days later the babies were quietly sitting on the nest with one of the parents sitting on top of the tower. I heard the adult yelling and it looks like the other parent was flying in. I think she was yelling at him for being gone so long. “Where is breakfast?” She asks. They yelled for a few minutes and one took off with the other one flying off behind him. The kids are like “We are still hungry!”

Early November walk

It was a beautiful morning for a walk at Circle B Bar Reserve in early November.

A pretty mushroom on the trail. I rarely see them with color.

Critters on branches include a black bellied whistling duck, a tricolored heron and an anhinga that looks like she’s going through a full moult.

The whistlers have been regulars along the trail during the winter.

I thought this juvenile night heron was sleeping but he popped his head up after a few  seconds. That pattern on his wings is very cool and goes well with his bright orange eyes.

Far across the lake I could see both eagles sitting high up in a cypress tree.

I saw the crowd as I was walking down the trail and realized they were watching a tiny alligator cross the trail. He looked so tiny compared to the big ones along the trail. It was almost comical to watch him cross.

My Corner of the World

I thought this was a new bird

No, none of the above are the new bird. These are old birds I saw before I found the new one.  I had heard about a northern harrier being seen pretty consistently at Circle B Bar Reserve for a while but I was trying not to chase new birds since I don’t seem to have much luck finding them after everyone else has seen them. Finally after several weeks of hearing about this bird I headed over for a walk fully expecting not to see it.  All of the usual birds could be found as I walked down the trail. A red winged blackbird, a turkey vulture, a red shoulder hawk and even a cooper’s hawk that was trying to hide in the trees.

The usual birds were flying close by. A night heron and a great blue heron.

A common sight in the winter at the reserve, black bellied whistling ducks cruising around.

Across the lake, I could see 2 eagles sitting up to the right of their big nest.

A little blue heron found a worm in the water.

Here he is. My first northern harrier. I wasn’t standing there alone. There were at least 20 other people in the area looking for the bird. He showed up far across the marsh and then slowly started cruising towards the trail.

He flew by several times and then perched on a dead tree right in front of the trail. It’s his face that makes him different. From the side he almost has an owl-like face. Harriers are not extremely rare in central Florida but this is the first one I’ve heard of at any of the main parks so it was easy to find him. He was only here for the winter but maybe he’ll come back next year. After digging around in some older posts, I realized that I had seen a harrier back in 2016 at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. The shot was a far away blurry pin dot shot so I’m not really counting that sighting (am I?).

My Corner of the World

Birds at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

It’s not often you can get this up close with an eagle. This one was missing part of his wing and was spending his time at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. I caught him taking a bath.

Pelicans were hanging out in their big open space. Some were starting to nest.

Other birds were just hanging out and preening when I was there in mid-November.

I caught these two wild night herons fighting over nesting space over the roof of an exhibit.

You can also get close to the spoonbills. And since the flamingos were right behind you, you wouldn’t have to look at them and think they were flamingos.

On the trail in early November

The yellow flowers were out in full force in early November at Circle B Bar Reserve.

Usual birds along the trail. That anhinga has something stuck on his beak. Hopefully he was able to scrap it off. He would be really hard to catch since his is flying and was on a stump in a lake full of alligators.

An eagle flew over my head along the trail.

Later I saw a young eagle sitting on a tree far off the trail close to the lake.

This one was close to the trail. Probably waiting for foot traffic to stop so he could cross.

A tree next to the lake was full of cormorants.

Scenes from the trail on this beautiful morning.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

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