In the backyard this spring.

Some of the sightings in our backyard this past spring. A crow gathering nesting material. The last time I saw our neighborhood kingfisher before he headed back north was in early April, Hooded mergansers were a common sight but they leave in early spring as well. A starling looking for bugs.

One morning as I was leaving for work I saw these robins in my neighbor’s driveway. Luckily I had my camera with the long lens in my car and snapped these out of the car window before leaving.

A creepy caterpiller on my car in the garage. I think this is a Sycamore Tussock moth. While it’s doesn’t sting, the fur could cause hives. I’ve read it’s best not to touch prickly caterpillers.

Things in the sky including this fireball that appeared when the sun started peaking out of the clouds after a storm right before sunset in the backyard.

 

  

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Early May at Fort Desoto

High up in a tree, I watched this yellow warbler stuff himself with snacks.

There were still a few other birds in early May at Fort Desoto including the blackpoll warbler in the last picture.

Frigatebirds were flying high overhead.

At the east end of the park I could just barely make out Downtown St. Petersburg.

Birds at the fishing pier.

Recently I keep seeing parakeets popping out of trees.

The sand trails are covered with these grasshoppers.

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Two parks in one morning.

A starling peeking out of what was probably a former woodpecker nest.

Thanks to Ken at Rosyfinch Ramblings for the ID on the above Orange crowned warbler. A first for me.

Little birds at Hammock Park.

A small wood stork party at Possum Branch Preserve.

Typical great egret shot but I noticed after I cropped it up that he’s missing part of his upper beak.

I started out at Hammock Park, a small park in Dunedin that I had not been before. After walking around for an hour and seeing very little, I left there and stopped at Possum Branch Preserve for a walk before heading home.

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A quiet night at Fort Desoto

Coming in for a landing.

Cute little plover looking for a snack.

Snowy egrets and ibis hanging around the marsh.

High up –  loggerhead shrike, kestrel and a starling.

Great blue heron posing on a light post.

One I helped save and one I couldn’t. The first one was walking around on the pier. I had a bait fish in my hand and he walked right up to me. He was all tangled up in fishing line with a hook on his wing. I was able to borrow clippers and a nice man was able to grab him as I was giving him the bait fish.  While he held the pelican I clipped off all of the wire and the hook.  He seemed okay so we let him go. He gave me one last look and took of into the sunset. The other pelican was sitting on the ferry boat. His feet were tangled up in fishing wire but he was able to fly and took off.

I was able to head down to Fort Desoto for a quick walk before sundown in late October before the time changed.  Now it’s dark after work. Can’t wait till April.

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Bird on a wire – Skywatch Friday

My first eastern bluebird. I didn’t know what it was at first. I snapped this quick before he took off. I tried to find him again with no luck.

Kestrel taken from the car window. If you got out of your car, they took off.

Lots of loggerhead shrikes around this area.

Starling all alone. Usually they are in big flocks.

Eastern meadowlark on a fence wire. I saw a few of these that morning.

There were lots of different birds hanging out on utility wires along the dirt roads up in Hernando county. While I was looking for the swallow tail kites, I passed by all of the above. The bluebird was a surprise. They are not common in the Tampa bay area where I live so I was happy to add that one to my list.

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End of my spring migration at Fort DeSoto

I don’t know what this is. It looks bigger than a yellow rumped warbler.  It was bathing at the fountain. Could it be a female American redstart?  It looks like one from the Stokes Birding Guide. If so, it’s my first one.

Orange eating an orange. Baltimore oriole at one of the fruit feeders.

I think this is a wood thrush. He was sitting on the bottom of the fountain.

My first and only indigo bunting shot. I saw a few others from really far away but this was the only one that got close to us at the fountain.

Starling taking a bath.

I was told this is a yellow warbler. This was my first sighting of one. I agree with Deb’s comment on this one. It looks more like a female hooded warbler than a yellow one. It’s still a lifer either way.

About a tenth of the crowd that was gathering at the mulberry woods at Fort Desoto. There’s a small open field with a short stone fountain in the middle. Everyone was standing around waiting for birds to land on the fountain. I only had my long lens that morning so I could only get a small smattering of the crowd that was there.

Short video of the wood thrush singing in the trees. Of course the man standing next to me just had to talk during my video. Then the bird flew away.

I can say I was there! Two weekends during the 2012 spring migration at Fort Desoto. I met tons of people. Learned a lot of new little birds. And took thousands of bad pictures. Ron at Pinellas Birds said the week before Memorial Day that it was winding down. There were still a few late migraters coming through though so I’ll still head out and keep my eyes open. Now I can’t wait until fall migration.

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Kapok Park and Safety Harbor

Limpkin and reflection.

Spring has sprung. These iris have been popping up everywhere.

Mockingbird fluffing up in the wind.

I was staring up at a tree noisy with birds and realized it was filled with starlings (see below). As I stared up trying to get a decent shot of the starling with his yellow beak, I noticed a red bellied woodpecker in the middle of all the starlings. He seemed to be upset that they had taken over his tree. This was taken at the Safety Harbor Marina.

The tree was full of these birds but it was hard to get a shot since they were so high up in it. I haven’t seen starlings in a while.

I was sitting on the sidewalk along the sea wall watching some horned grebes when I noticed the spotted sandpiper heading towards me. He got only so close and then took off.

 

Early in the week I started stressing out when I had heard that rain was in the forecast for the upcoming weekend. I get so bummed. Why is always sunny during the week and rainy on the weekends? Luckily it turned out nice last Saturday. I had to first stop by the baby owls (more on those later) to see how big they had gotten. Then a stop at Safety Harbor fishing pier and a drive along the causeway looking for a long tailed duck were on the list before heading home for lunch. I found the duck but he was so far out he looked like a speck. I’m going to keep trying to get a closer picture as long as it hangs around.

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