A new bird for the new year

There was a Hudsonian Godwit reported at Honeymoon Island in early fall. Since I had never seen one before, I headed out hoping for the best. I was totally prepared to spend the morning looking and coming up empty-handed since that is what usually happens. This morning was different. There he was, strutting around in front of a handful of photographers. He was feeding right along the shoreline. They are very similar to the common marbled godwit but are slightly smaller and have a slightly different coloration. The beak looks the same though.

Other birds close by were a swallow on a sea oat and a killdeer in the parking lot.

 A few moths on the way back to the parking lot.

Linking to My Corner of the World.

Checking on the nests at Honeymoon Island

True to its name, the Osprey Trail on Honeymoon Island is known for having a lot of Osprey along the trail. There are many nests along the trail and when I was there in late January, the osprey were working on refreshing the old ones.

Both eagles were sitting in a tree near the nest which was a bad sign. They were sitting on eggs earlier so something must have happened to cause them to abandon the nest. They might try again. It was still early.

Towhees, catbirds and yellow rumped warblers were all along the trail.

Lots of vultures here.

New growth in some of the prescribed burn areas.

This guy walked right in front of me on the trail.

I hadn’t been to Honeymoon Island since last spring. I wanted to see if the osprey were nesting yet. Honeymoon Island is a barrier island north of Clearwater Beach. In the 1940’s the island was a place known for people to spend their honeymoon in the cottages on the island. Once World War 2 started people stopped coming to the island and later the cottages were torn down.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World

Honeymoon Island beach before the tourists get here.

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After walking the nature trail at Honeymoon Island State Park, I headed over to the beach to see if there were any shorebirds hanging around.

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The usual birds were there: marbled godwits, royal terns and dowitchers.

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The waves were splashing over the jetties. It was fun to be out in one of the last cool windy days before the heat sets in (and the tourists).

SkyWatch Friday

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.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

The “Dead Tree” trail at Honeymoon Island

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Over the years Honeymoon Island state park has had many controlled burns on the trail. It keeps the area from over growing and keeps uncontrolled fires from getting out of hand such as a lightning strike. Most of the trees grow back but a few of them along the trail are dead. They leave the trees up to keep the park in a natural state. Many of the dead trees have osprey, owl or woodpecker nests. It gives the park a different eery feel.

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At the same park is a beautiful beach. The morning I was there in late January it was cloudy and windy. The beach was almost empty except for a few shell collectors. It was fun to see the beach in a different light.

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It was too windy and choppy to kayak. They were all stacked up waiting for a sunny day.

Even a dark, cloudy, windy, cold morning at the beach is still a great morning.

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

What fall looks like here

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In mid-December I headed out to Honeymoon Island for a long walk on the nature trail. I was hoping to see the eagles or the owls. Both should be nesting by now. The only thing I saw up close were a million mosquitoes. It should have been cool and windy but it was over 80 degrees and the humidity was high by 9am. I had 2 coats of repellant on and still came home with 15 mosquito bites. I did manage to see the very tip of the eagle’s head while she sat on the nest which is a good sign that she’s sitting on eggs.

Shine the Divine