Dragonflies for breakfast

I realized I had not posted the baby purple martins from May. I had been keeping an eye on the purple martin house at the Dunedin marina and when I stopped by in mid-May I saw lots of older babies being fed.  Above is a male parent bringing a dragonfly to the baby.

Both male and female parents were bringing in food. The babies, almost as big as their parents, were sticking their heads out of the nest holes.

This time Mom brought a dragonfly.

Some of the juveniles were just starting to fly and were landing on another martin’s nest deck. It was constant chaos with parents chasing away someone else’s babies. By early June the nest building was deserted and all was quiet until next spring.

As I was standing in the small parking lot I looked down on the sea wall and could see some other critters watching me.  Mallards and great blue herons are common along the rocks in front of the marina.

Looking across the water at Clearwater Beach, it was a picture perfect morning.

A busy house at the marina

I found the purple martins at the end of the nesting season last year. The babies had already grown up and were flying. I checked on them early this year and caught them working on their nests. There were so many of them and someone had added a 2nd house although I didn’t see any of the birds going in the holes on that one yet.

It felt like the females (in the lighter color) were the only ones getting sticks and leaves for the nest. The males were watching but I only saw one male picking up a stick from the ground.

As one female brought a big stick back to her hole in the house another male tried to mate with her (while her mate was sitting right there). She ran into her hole as her mate chased the intruder away.

It was a busy morning.

The stick gathering went on all morning as I sat and watched

This female brought back a stick that wouldn’t fit in the hole. She eventually dropped it.

This was in mid-March so I’ll be checking back for babies soon. This is the only place that I know of that they nest in the area although there may be some hidden ones in backyards. There’s a house in my neighborhood that I pass by as I leave but in 2 springs I haven’t seen any birds on it. I love the sound they make. It sounds like one of the animals on Jurassic Park.

Morning walk around Dunedin

One last look at the purple martins at the Dunedin marina. After this trip in late May they have left the condo. The babies were flying around the marina but still landing back on the nest house to be fed. Next year I’ll have to remember to stop by here earlier before the babies are fully grown.

House sparrows were taking a dirt bath below the purple martin nest box.

After walking around the marina I left and stopped at the nearby long fishing pier at Weaver Park. Looking north I could see the drawbridge up at the causeway bridge. This was a common sight back in the “old days” along the intercoastal waterway. Now as older bridges are being replaced, they build them up high so a drawbridge isn’t necessary anymore. This is one of the last remaining drawbridges in the area.

A few guys were fishing at the end of the pier and this great egret flew in looking for a handout.

After hanging around the fishermen for a while, he must have gotten tired of waiting for a handout and started getting his own snacks.. He was leaning over the floating dock and catching the bugs on the side of the dock to eat. Yum!

A least tern takes a break from diving into the water for his fish.

Earlier that morning when I was walking around the marina, some of the houses close by had these cactus vines growing in their yards. These cactus, night blooming cereas, only bloom at night but I was able to catch a few closing up early that morning. I’ve heard they are really beautiful and smell great when they are in full bloom but I would need to be here around midnight for that.

Inspire Me Monday

A busy condo building

I could see the purple martins flying around the bird house from arcross the marina. I had brought my camera in the car so I drove around to the other side of the marina to check them out. All of the babies were fully grown at this point. There were a lot of purple martins on this big condo bird house.

Parents were bringing in food to the babies who were screaming to be fed.

I’m not sure what’s going on here. At first I thought a pair were still mating but it looks like one of the parents was trying to feed the baby. Or was the parent trying to push the baby off the house to start flying? Or maybe this baby was in the wrong condo and was hoping to get a meal from the wrong parent?

A few were flying and one landed on the grown but eventually made it back to the house.

Purple birds

I was was walking around the Dunedin marina early one morning in late April when I noticed there were purple martins coming out of the bird house. I’ve seen many of these condo bird houses but this is the first time I’ve seen purple martins in them. I only had my phone with me so I snapped the above. My camera was in the car so I headed back and drove around to the area they were at.

I had seen them briefly before but this was the first time I was able to get a good look at them. They are beautiful! Of course the male is all shiny and purple (they look blue to me) in the sun. There were several flying around the house.

The above is either a female or an immature male. They might have already nested and this is an offspring.

I think this is a juvenile house sparrow, hanging out underneath the bird house.

An anhinga was catching fish close by in the marina.

The view in front of the bird house. The blue building is the Dunedin Sailing Center.

SkyWatch Friday

Friendship Friday