Backyard dinner – Skywatch Friday

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I saw the above eastern phoebe sitting on my neighbor’s fence and went out the side door to see if I could get a shot from the side of the house. They are usually pretty skittish but this one let me get the above shot.

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I walked out on the dock and a laughing gull flew over my head.

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I was about to go back in the house when I saw the above standing in my neighbor’s yard.

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All of a sudden the cooper’s hawk flew into a low branch with a squirrel in his foot.

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A crow flew close by and hawk was yelling at him to stay away.

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Then he started to chow down. Poor squirrel.

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He would take a bite and then look around. He started staring at me so I went inside. I didn’t want to watch him finish off that poor squirrel.

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Later that night the sky had beautiful pink and orange clouds so I went outside and took the above in the backyard.

This was the first time I have seen a cooper’s hawk in our neighborhood. We have a lot of red shoulder hawks flying around. I probably wouldn’t have seen him if I hadn’t gone out to take a picture of the phoebe.

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Little to big

DSC_9152The tiniest bird I saw that day. A blue-gray gnatcatcher looking up.

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Not too much bigger is the eastern phoebe. You can usually find them hanging out at the intersection of Marsh Rabbit Run and Heron Hideout.

DSC_9137A little bit bigger, there’s been a kingfisher hanging out in the same corner as the phoebe.

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This early fall, there’s been a purple gallinule family hanging out in the same corner as well.

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Getting bigger, I found these juvenile limpkins hiding in the marsh. They still have some baby fuzz on them.

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A parent was close by watching me.

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The American bitterns are back. This one was hiding in the marsh on Wading Bird Way. Another photog with a keen eye found him.

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Taken right into the sun, the anhinga was flipping his fish.

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“I’m the biggest one here.” says the turkey vulture showing off.

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“Bye, bye” says the ducks as they take off after an eagle flew over them.

Lots of the same ole thing at Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-November.

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In the woods and on the beach

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Palm warblers are everywhere.

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House wrens aren’t too common.

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Eastern phoebes are here in full force for the winter.

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The usual red bellied woodpecker. He was very interested in this hole.

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I can’t remember what this is. Probably another palm warbler.

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I was taking pictures of little birds deep in the trees when I looked up and saw these two flying over my head. I over exposed it a little since I didn’t have a chance to change the settings.

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Black bellied plover on the beach.

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Ruddy turnstone with something gunky.

Another beautiful (but still hot) morning in late October at Fort De Soto.

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Lots of birds but nothing new.

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A “yellow” bird. I think this is a white eyed vireo even though you can’t really see the white from this angle.  Thanks to Ken for IDing this as a bay breasted warbler. Matches my Stokes guide.

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Possible palm warbler.

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Yellow-throated warbler.

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Eastern phoebes are everywhere.

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Catbird in the shade. They are everywhere as well.

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Red bellied woodpecker

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Another white eyed vireo.

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Pileated woodpecker

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I caught him blinking.

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Green heron hiding along the lake edge.

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Hawk telling me I can’t have his snack.

An early morning Saturday walk at Chesnut Park. I finally started seeing some winter birds coming through. It was the first “not steamy hot” morning. Perfect early fall morning. I would have stayed longer but my foot started hurting. I seem to have a bone spur or heel spur on my left foot. My heel started hurting the week before but felt better during the week. After two hours of walking around it was killing me. I have since added support insoles to my walking shoes and they seem to be doing some good but every once in a while it still hurts a little. If this keeps up much longer I’m going to have to head to the foot doc.  Any suggestions?  (Other than stay off my feet?) I don’t sit still very well.

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Back at Circle B Bar Reserve after 5 months away.

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Sad picture but I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a yellow-bellied sapsucker here. I’ve only seen them in Atlanta.

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Blue gray gnatcatcher looking up as usual.

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I’m not sure what this is. He was deep in the bushes. I’m thinking a yellow warbler but that would be too easy.

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This looks like a palm warbler. They are pretty common here in the winter (which translates into “you’ll be seeing a ton of these on the blog”).

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Some type of sparrow. I think it’s a Savannah sparrow with that little bit of yellow around the eyes.

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The eastern phoebes have returned to their usual winter spot at the corner of Marsh Rabbit Run trail and Heron Hideout trail.

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The stork tree, out in the middle of the lake.

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Ring neck duck reflection. There has been one ring neck duck hanging around Wading Bird Way lately. I guess he’s waiting for all of his “snowbird” duck friends to get down here.

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This is the only alligator I saw on this trip. I know there are tons of them there.

This was my first trip back to Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland since May. It was early October so there still wasn’t a lot of migrating ducks there but there were a few little birds moving through. Seeing palm warblers, blue gray gnatcatchers and eastern phoebes means that winter is on its way. Now if only the heat would go away. Under 80 degrees would be nice. The park looked the same, except for the overgrown weeds along the trail. Those will die down once the cold weather hits. The park also recently mowed the trails so it’s good to see ahead and not to have to worry about alligators popping out in front of you. Soon I’ll be heading out there often.

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