The babies were growing up

I was coming home from the grocery store early one morning and saw 2 little critters crossing the street right before my house. I slowed down and realized it was baby limpkins. I snapped the above and then went home, put up the groceries that had to go in the refrigerator, grabbed my camera, hopped on my bike and headed back down to the pond hoping they were still there.

They were still there with both parents. I’m assuming this was the family I found a few weeks earlier but there were only 4 babies instead of 5. They were about the right age to be them. I sat down on the grass and watched them for a while.

Both parents were busy feeding the babies.

The babies were busy trying to pretend to look for food but kept running back to the parents when the parents had food.

The babies were watching everything the parents did.

More food.

They were all over the place and it was impossible to get the entire family in one shot. Each parent was on opposite sides of the little pond with 2 kids. After feeding for a while they started preening and seemed to be settling into a rest time. I headed home, covered in bug bites since I forgot my bug spray.

 

Riding around the neighborhood.

Out for a bike ride this summer, I always stop at this small pond in the neighborhood. I’m sure it’s just a mosquito pit but I always hope to find some critters getting water. Maybe a deer or raccon but no, just mosquitos. I do hear pileated woodpeckers deep in the woods but I have yet to hike through there.

Just down from the pond the ditches are covered in these purple flowers. The frogs were really loud this morning since it had rained most of the night.

I need to get a bumper sticker for my bike that says “I brake for critters”.  I’m not sure what those black vultures were eating. They wouldn’t let me get too close.

Back at home a bad storm was coming so I took the almost empty bird feeder down and left it just outside the back door. Later that day I look out the window and realized the squirrel had knocked it down and was eating the scraps. When he was done he hopped up on the chair and was giving me the eye to come add more food.

 

Our backyard camera picked up this bobcat creeping around at 2:30am. This was our first bobcat sighting in the neighborhood.

Color on the trees in late July.

All was calm before sunset at the lake across the street.

I have to watch where I stand when I’m taking shots of the sunset. The alligator above was on the shore just below me. He’s relatively small but I see him here often.

Inspire Me Monday

Around the house in mid-June

The downy woodpeckers and the chickadees keep coming to the feeder together.

Another set of Carolina wren babies were hopping around our backyard. I think they had been born in my neighbor’s pot because I kept seeing an adult flying over there with bugs.  Mom was close by. You can still see the fuzz in their head and necks.


A beautiful cooper’s hawk in our tree. I was walking back from getting the mail and he landed on my husband’s car in the driveway. I ran back in and grabbed my camera thinking he would be gone when I got back outside but he flew up to the tree when I came out.

I have seen hummingbirds coming through the backyard but this is the first time I was able to catch one. They were buzzing around my gardenia bush but they don’t stay long. I was looking out the back window watching a squirrel and saw her fly in and feed on my hanging purslane flowers. I grabbed my camera and waited, half hiding behind the curtains. She came back again and I was able to snap the above but then she took off and I didn’t see her again that afternoon.

A smiling gator drying out behind the pond near my house. I was riding my bike around the neighborhood with my camera and stopped to catch it.

Juvenile osprey are everywhere in the neighborhood. There’s a nest in every utility tower across the neighborhood and they are all filled with osprey.

As I was biking home I stopped at the pond down the street and noticed something moving around with an adult limpkin. I was glad I had brought my camera in my backpack. At first I thought there was just one baby but when they started swimming across the pond I could see all 5 of them. The pond turns into a river that runs through the neighborhood and once they crossed they started heading behind some houses so I lost track of them.

The rain was starting to move in. I love the summer skies after the rain. The lake across from my house is going to be a good spot to catch some orange sunsets.

 

SkyWatch Friday

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

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

Flirting in the pine tree

Black hooded parakeets (or Nanday parakeets) are pretty common in the area. You can hear them screaming from far away. Almost every time I was at the eagle’s nest in my neighborhood a few would stop by. One morning several landed in the tree I was standing under.

One morning a pair of them landed really close to the kestral (on the right). The kestral took off.

In early April there was a flock that stopped on the utility wire right above me. Some of them flew into the pine tree nearby.

I walked over to the pine tree and saw that they were feeding. It looked like some were eating the pine cones.

Then I noticed two of them started to flirt. They were preening each other and then started mating.

When they were done they flew back over to the wire. Eventually the entire flock took off.

My Corner of the World

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.

 

Waiting for eagles to wake up.

I spent many mornings standing under a bottle brush tree along a fence waiting for the eagles in my neighborhood to wake up. I would go for a long walk and then ride my bike over to the nest with my camera and wait for the parents to bring in food. I saw a lot of other birds there as well. A kestral was there on the wires every time I came to take pictures. In the beginning he was very skittish and would fly away when I walked up but after a month he started getting a little closer. One morning I caught him eating a cricket.

A phoebe hung out in the reeds along the utility area beyond the fence. He was there most of February and March.

One morning a hawk landed in a tree nearby. I thought he was going to catch something when he flew to the ground but he took off empty handed.

The moon was still up early one morning.

Early in April on a cloudy morning there were two swallow tail kites that flew far up overhead.

One morning a turkey cruised by.

The usual annoying birds were always there, mockinbirds and blue jays.

A mallard flew by.

I was out there right before sundown one day and got to watch the beautiful sunset. That’s a bat box on the stick. Sometimes I could hear them sqweaking in there.

SkyWatch FridayFriendship Friday

All In the “eagle” Family

I stopped by the eagles nest in my neighborhood just after mid-February. The 2 babies were flapping their wings pretty hard. At this point the parents were just dropping off food and the babies were eating on their own. One of the parents had been sitting just above the nest and took off.

A few days later I came back and one of the parents was sitting near the nest and started yelling.

I then saw the other parent flying by but didin’t stop. I’m thinking this was the male. The female went after him, screaming along the way. Where was he going and where was breakfast (I’m assuming that’s what she was yelling)?

I saw them both land several towers down the field (that’s an osprey nest on the bottom left). They both sat up there for a while before taking off again.

The kids were like “Where are they going and where is our breakfast?”  I waited about 45 minutes after that but still didn’t see the parents come back. One of them probably came back around lunchtime with a snack. At this point the babies still weren’t flying at all but flapping pretty hard.

More to come on the eagle family. I guess I should name them all at this point. Any suggestions?

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!”