Birds on a mountain

Chickadees were the most common bird in my sister’s backyard. There were several on the feeders the weekend I was visiting along with a few cardinals.

I saw one brown thrasher. I was sitting on the back porch and saw him land in the tree right in front of me.

Many other birds passed through while I was there. Brown headed cowbird (I don’t see these near my home in Tampa),  carolina wrens, towhees and titmouse. I think the titmouse was working on a nest.

I don’t know what this. Might be a juvenile house sparrow.

I think these are all chipping sparrows. They were all over the yard.

My sister Debbie lives north of Birmingham on a small mountain in Odenville. It’s quiet there and they have woods that back up to their yard. Her and her husband have put in a lot of work making the backyard into a mini botanical gardens with beautiful bushes, flowers and trees. They have 2 fish ponds and several bird feeders which attracts a lot of birds. We spent the afternoon sitting outside chatting while I took pictures of the birds passing through. I was glad I brought my 300mm lens along so I could just sit there and take the pictures.

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Trail full of birds

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There were a few tiny birds at Honeymoon Island Park at the end of January. Tons of yellow rumped warblers and the last one is an eastern towhee.

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The parking lot was full of yellow rumped warblers. They thought the cars were something to play on.

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A very young bald eagle flew by as I headed out on the trail.

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I always see kestrels in the winter here.

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The trail was full of osprey. They were eating, preening and doing a few other things. That last one I took directly in the sun but it was too funny not to post.

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I found a headless osprey in a tree.

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Oh wait, he was just turned around.

All of the usuals at Honeymoon Island State Park.

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Birds at Bok Tower Gardens

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I don’t think this eastern towhee liked me watching him eat. He was eating bird seed that had fallen to the ground from the feeder.

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The blue jays were hogging the feeder.

 

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The carolina wren was checking things out.

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The cardinal came and sat down beside me on the bench, waiting for his turn at the feeder.

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A bird I don’t see very often, the Great Crested Flycatcher was high up in a tree and of course, I had to take this picture right into the sun.

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Squirrels were also eating the fallen seed under the feeder.

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The northern flickers had taken over an old pileated woodpecker nest.  It was too early for babies when I was here in mid April.

Just a few of the birds I saw at Bok Tower Gardens in central Florida. Last year I had seen a lot of hummingbirds around the fire bushes by the old historic house. This year I headed straight for those bushes and all of this construction was going on in the gardens so no hummingbirds this year.

SkyWatch Friday

Nothing but skeeters at Honeymoon Island in December

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And this eastern towhee. I don’t see these very often.

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Catbirds are very common here.

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It’s common to see a kestrel high up in a tree.

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The eagle is on the nest. I’ve heard that the rangers have reported there are eggs. I could just barely see her head sticking up. I did not see the other parent that morning.

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A downy woodpecker hanging around.

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I saw this juvenile bald eagle way out in the lagoon across from the nature center. The tide was very low and the oyster beds were exposed.

It’s not fun to go on a hike in early December and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. I had two coats of bug repellant on with high DEET content. I still came home with 15 bug bites. They were biting my hands, my ears, my face. I stopped and sprayed my hair since they were dive bombing my head. Usually if I keep moving they don’t bother me too much but they were chasing after me as I walked very quickly down the trail. We need a good cold spell to get rid of these guys (like days with a high under 50).  It was 85 degrees.

SkyWatch Friday

December walk at Honeymoon Island – Skywatch Friday

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A common sight on the nature trail at Honeymoon Island.

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Some of the burnt trees have osprey nests in them. It’s not quite nesting season so they were all empty. All of the osprey were out catching breakfast.

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Another typical sight at Honeymoon Island.

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One of the many yellow rumped warblers. I’ve taken a ton of pictures of them in the last few weeks.

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I don’t see eastern towhees very often. This is my 2nd sighting of a towhee in Florida.

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Not sure what this was up so high. It’s probably a palm warbler.

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The red berries everywhere make the trails look like Christmas. This is a nasty invasive tree, a brazilian pepper tree. They spread like wildfire and take over native plants. Birds eat the berries and disperse them everywhere. It’s now illegal to sell, buy or move them. Many parks have pulled them out. They are pretty when the berries are in full bloom.

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This dog was having fun in the water.

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Ring billed gull guarding a shell.

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Another one in the water.

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Raccoon prints on the beach.

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It was another beautiful morning in Florida during December. It started out cloudy and cold but the sun came out after the first hour I was there and it got hot. I’m glad I brought my bottle of Off. The mosquitos were still there.  We need a week in the 40’s at night to make them fly south. Maybe January.

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A few birds at Honeymoon Island

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I got out of my car in the parking lot, walked around to get my camera from the passenger side and saw this staring at me. An eastern towhee. My first one I’ve seen in Florida. I’ve only ever seen them in Atlanta before. This was early June so he must be a late migrater passing through.

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He was watching me get my stuff out of the car. He posed nicely for me and then took off.

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I saw this eastern kingbird out on the trail.

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After walking out to the end of the trail, I headed out to the little beach at the north end of the park. Right as I got out there, a skimmer came by.

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He circled around and came back for another skim. He was all alone.

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He was busy feeding for a few minutes.

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The usual tricolored heron prancing around in the water.

It was a beautiful morning in early June. I hadn’t been to Honeymoon Island in a long time. I was not expecting to see much there. I originally went to check out any baby osprey. I did manage to find a few other things though. The towhee in the parking lot was the highlight. After taking several pictures of him I thought “Anything else I get today is gravy.”

Rare birds for me in an Atlanta cemetery

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This eastern towhee was very accommodating. He just sat there staring at me.

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Another towhee looking for food on the ground.

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Dark eyed junco getting some food.

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Upclose. The cemetery was full of these guys.

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Mouthful of seeds.

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Posing on the planter.

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As I was taking pictures of the juncos, this white breasted nuthatch flew into a tree right in front of me. He only stayed for a few seconds and it was the only one I saw that day.

Two days before Christmas I had a few hours to kill in the morning. I headed for the Oakland cemetery in downtown Atlanta. It was cold (35 degrees is almost death degrees for this Florida person). I had tons of layers on and actually remembered my gloves which I wore the entire time I was there. Oakland cemetery is a very old historic cemetery with a few local famous people buried there (including Margaret Mitchell who wrote Gone With The Wind). When I first got there around 8:30 there was no one else around but by 9:30, people were wandering around. Tourists come to visit and locals walk through when walking their dogs. A few joggers cut through the cemetery as well.

The cemetery was full of birds but not a lot of variety. At first I thought the above were all first sightings but after digging through some old pictures when I got back from the trip, I had seen all of the above only once before and gotten really bad pictures which I never posted. I have not seen these birds in Florida, only Atlanta so I was excited to get shots of them. There were several towhees and tons of juncos everywhere. A few other more common birds were there but more on those later.

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