The ladies were out at the Botanical Gardens

This female summer tanager did not mind me watching her while she feasted on a beautyberry bush. Or, maybe she didn’t see me. I was hiding in the bushes after all. She stayed for a few minutes filling up on berries and then took off.

A female indigo bunting was hiding in the bushes.

A female rose breasted grosbeak was eating something high up in the tree.

Female woodpeckers. A pileated and a downy.

Both males and females look the same for thrashers and green herons so these could be either.

My Corner of the World

A new bird in late October

I had heard he was there for a over a week before I made it down to Fort Desoto. I headed down to the park early one Saturday morning in late October thinking it would be a needle in the haystack story. As I drove into the park I saw several people with binoculars in a field near the boat ramp. After walking through ankle deep ant infested water (the field was flooded due to recent rains) I found the Vermilion Flycatcher. He was out in the open buzzing from tree to tree so it was pretty easy to spot that flash of red unless you weren’t paying attention and thought it was a cardinal. It was the first time I have heard of one being in the Tampa bay area so there were a lot of people coming through that morning looking for him. He’s a beautiful bird and totally worth enduring the over 50 ant bites.

Otherwise, there were just the usual migrating birds at the park. This female rose breasted grosbeak was very accommodating.

The white pelicans are back but they were across the lagoon. You can tell how much bigger they are than our resident brown pelicans.

Osprey have taken over the park. They are everywhere.

Shorebirds near the fishing pier.

TOTO is still hanging out at the park. He’s got a band on his legs with TOTO. I’ve been taking pictures of him for over 8 years. He’s always there with his girlfriend.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkupOur World Tuesday Graphic

A 2nd bobolink sighting

Watching this osprey hover for a few minutes over the lake reminded me of angels. This one never did catch a fish. He kept hovering, then circling the pond, then hovering.

My 2nd sighting of a bobolink. The first was years ago at Fort Desoto. There were several here that stayed for a few days.

A rose breasted grosbeak hiding in the bushes.

An egret’s gotta eat but I feel sad for the little mouse.

Always an alligator floating in the pond but they are not too big here.

A nice walk after work in early May before it got too hot.

Possum Branch Preserve is a small watershed not to far from home. Most of the year it’s pretty quiet with only alligators and the usual big water birds but there are several mulberry trees that attract migrating birds in the spring and fall.

SkyWatch Friday

“We have fall out”.

The star of the spring migration weekend at Fort Desoto was the rose breasted grosbeak. They were everywhere, eating in the mangroves and not shy at all.

The blue winged warbler was also not shy.

More shots of the Tennessee warbler although we think there were several there.

A prothonotary warbler hopping around.

I had to take some phone shots of the crowd. “What are you guys looking at?” was what we heard from people passing by. We were in the far corner of the park so there wasn’t a lot of traffic. It was actually a lot of fun with people calling out what they see. Everyone was quiet and friendly.

A secluded spot at the park.

 

Fall out is an exciting term for birders. It means a storm came through earlier and the birds stopped to spend a few days in the park resting and eating before finishing their trip back up north for the summer.

Photographing New Zealand

The end of spring migration.

Cape May warblers above, a female and male.

A female Cape May on the fountain.

An immature male rose breasted grosbeak with mulberry juice on his face.

An ovenbird on the fountain.

A blackpoll warbler hanging around.

An indigo bunting.

Redstarts above.

Scarlet tanagers.

There were still a few interesting birds moving through Fort Desoto in early May, heading north for the summer. It feels like that was so long ago. I’m just finishing editing those pictures and soon the birds will be cruising through again, this time heading south for the winter. So many birds, so little time.

Grosbeaks and friends migrating through

Male rose breasted grosbeaks were all over Fort Desoto in mid-April. They were eating the mulberries while resting up before their migration up north. Most of them had mulberry juice all over their beaks.

A few females and juveniles were also munching on the berries.

Catbirds were eating as well.

I only got a brief glimpse of the Baltimore oriole before he took off.

I only saw one indigo bunting on this trip but more would pass through later in the month.

A small portion of the crowd at Fort Desoto during spring migration in mid-April. It felt like there were more people than birds that morning but at least there were a lot of eyes looking out for the birds. There wasn’t a lot of variety there but it was still early for migration.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World.

Blue Grosbeaks and a few other birds

Blue grosbeaks were all over Fort Desoto during spring migration back in late April.  The all blue ones are males and the blue and brown one is a juvenile male that will eventually be all blue.

Hanging out on the fence. The light brown ones are females.

I think this is a very young male rose breasted grosbeak.

A laughing gull playing with his food.

A cardinal checking himself out in the mirror in the parking lot.

Osprey are everywhere at the park.

SkyWatch Friday

Almost the end of spring migration – Skywatch Friday

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A rose breasted grosbeak chowing on mulberries.

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My first Tennessee warbler.

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Bay breasted warbler. This one is fairly rare around here, even during migration.

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I can’t remember what this is. Probably just a yellow rumped warbler.

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American redstart.

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I can’t remember what this is either. I think a red eyed vireo.

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Black throated blue warbler.

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Prothonotary warbler

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Scarlet tanager with a snack in his beak.

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I think this is a blue grosbeak. He had some brown on his feathers.

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Cardinal with a half eaten grasshopper.

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A nanday (black hooded) parakeet showed up in the middle of the little migrating birds. He was looking around like “What are all of these people doing in the woods?” He didn’t stay long.

It was early May and spring migration was still going on. The little birds were passing through on their way up north for the summer. Another Saturday morning with the trails packed with people. I saw my first Tennessee warbler this morning. I know I should have been more excited but really, they are all starting to look alike. Now that it’s June, not a soul is on the trails except mosquitos but the beaches are packed with tourists.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

We got fallout – Skywatch Friday

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My first cedar waxwing of the year. There were several in the bush and this was all I got.

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I think this is a female orchard oriole. With berry stains on her beak, looking at me.

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Same as above.

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One of the few male summer tanager sightings I saw.

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Another yellow bird. I’m still going with female orchard oriole.

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Same as above.

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An immature rose breasted grosbeak with berry stains on his chest.

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An immature male orchard oriole.

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Eastern kingbird all covered in berry stains.

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A male orchard oriole.

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A summer tanager with a bug in his beak.

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Hooded warbler with a bee in his beak.

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A prothonotary warbler so busy eating he didn’t even notice us.

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A few seconds later he looks up, all covered in berry juice.

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A crow chasing all of the little birds away from the fountain.

What a busy morning. In mid-April we got spring migration fall out at Fort Desoto. We had storms earlier in the week but the birds stayed put through the weekend. I was expecting to show up at the park and only see cardinals.  Birds were busy hopping from bush to tree and back. Most were eating the mulberries but some were also eating bugs. You really had to pay attention to get pictures for the few seconds they sit still which is hard to do when you keep running into people you haven’t seen since last spring migration and you want to catch up. There were a lot of people on the trails but everyone was nice and pointed out what they were seeing. There were lots of bird experts there and I was going to try to take notes but I was afraid I’d miss something if I stopped to write something down. April was a busy month so I’ll have more little bright bird pictures. If I got any of these wrong, please let me know.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

Like a kid in a candy store – spring migration.

My first rose breasted grosbeak.

Not my first black and white warbler. I have seen a couple in that past but there were quite a few flying around at Fort Desoto.

My first scarlet tanager. There was a few there but they stayed high up in the trees.

My first Baltimore oriole.

My first eastern wood-pewee. At first I thought this was a phoebe but the bill is a little lighter.

I thought I had missed the boat. Saturday, 4/21, a nasty storm moves through the Tampa bay area. I did chores and ran errands. Sunday morning I woke up to sunny skies so I headed out to a park. I thought that since there were extremely high winds at Fort Desoto, it might not be a good place to go since water birds tend to be scarce on windy days. I decided to go inland to Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland. It was a nice morning and I saw some cool things. Later that night I was reading Pinellasbirds.com and just found out how little I knew about birding. The sky was falling with birds at Fort Desoto. Record numbers of migrating birds had landed there. I knew I had a long work week ahead so my heart fell. But all was not lost. I was able to leave work at a reasonable time on Tuesday night and headed straight for Fort Desoto. I headed first to the east beach turnaround and then to the mulberry bush woods at the ranger’s house. There were birds flying everywhere. All colors flashing by. I was so excited I didn’t know where to start. I just stood there and started snapping away. My friend Pam and her hubby met me there because they wanted to see what all the excitement was about. We stayed until the sun went completely down and it was dark driving out.  More to come tomorrow.