Squirrels do it, birds do it…..

I just happened to be walking down the trail when I saw 2 sandhill cranes walking around. I didn’t think anything of it until one of the cranes started spreading her wings. I thought “Oh well, they’re going to fly away.” but no, they had something else in mind. By now there are hopefully crane babies out there somewhere.

All the other birds were busy eating fish and bugs along the trails.

Great blue heron cruising by.

Busy morning for the birds in mid March at Circle B Bar Reserve.

SkyWatch Friday

Mueller State Park

We stopped at the Visitor’s Center before hitting a trail.  View from the parking lot at the center above.

The Visitor’s Center above looked like what you would expect from a Colorado park.

A few of the critters at the top of a trail.  I see yellow-bellied sapsuckers in Florida in the winter but this was the first one I had seen in his summer breeding colors. NOW I know why they call it a “yellow-bellied” sapsucker.

Heading down the trail, we only walked for about an hour. It was late in the afternoon and we didn’t want to drive back to Colorado Springs in the dark.  There’s over 55 miles of trails here. All have stations to sign in and out when you are hiking the specific trail.  It is bear country. The visitor center had a sign that one of the trails was closed for the day due to a bear on the trail that morning.

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Just passing through

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Yellow bellied sapsucker.

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Lots of indigo buntings including the juvenile in the last picture. He hasn’t got all of his blue feathers in yet.

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The scarlet tanager has black wings.

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The summer tanager is the only all red bird in America (according to All About Birds)

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Female red breasted merganser.

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And a pretty cactus flower just for fun.

These were taken at Fort Desoto in early April when spring migrating birds were stopping by for a rest before heading north for the summer. There wasn’t a ton of birds but a few good ones.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

A beautiful view from the nest.

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Napping on the nest.

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The great horned owl mom and baby were not very active the morning I stopped by. There’s a younger baby behind the mom but I only saw a tiny bit of fuzz pop up.

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The osprey in the area didn’t have eggs yet.

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Yellow bellied sapsucker has stopped for a rest during spring migration.

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He was trying to nap on the tree.

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Pelicans diving for fish out in the bay.

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This is the view from the owl’s nest. It would be pretty amazing to wake up to this every morning, even on a cloudy day.

Perfect morning at Fort Desoto in early April.

Skywatch Friday

Back at Circle B Bar Reserve after 5 months away.

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Sad picture but I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a yellow-bellied sapsucker here. I’ve only seen them in Atlanta.

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Blue gray gnatcatcher looking up as usual.

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I’m not sure what this is. He was deep in the bushes. I’m thinking a yellow warbler but that would be too easy.

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This looks like a palm warbler. They are pretty common here in the winter (which translates into “you’ll be seeing a ton of these on the blog”).

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Some type of sparrow. I think it’s a Savannah sparrow with that little bit of yellow around the eyes.

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The eastern phoebes have returned to their usual winter spot at the corner of Marsh Rabbit Run trail and Heron Hideout trail.

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The stork tree, out in the middle of the lake.

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Ring neck duck reflection. There has been one ring neck duck hanging around Wading Bird Way lately. I guess he’s waiting for all of his “snowbird” duck friends to get down here.

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This is the only alligator I saw on this trip. I know there are tons of them there.

This was my first trip back to Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland since May. It was early October so there still wasn’t a lot of migrating ducks there but there were a few little birds moving through. Seeing palm warblers, blue gray gnatcatchers and eastern phoebes means that winter is on its way. Now if only the heat would go away. Under 80 degrees would be nice. The park looked the same, except for the overgrown weeds along the trail. Those will die down once the cold weather hits. The park also recently mowed the trails so it’s good to see ahead and not to have to worry about alligators popping out in front of you. Soon I’ll be heading out there often.

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My first Cape May Warbler

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These are not good pictures but I wanted to show off my first Cape May warbler sighting. He was high up in the trees and it was late in the day, right before sunset.

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I doubt I would have found him by myself. There were several other people wandering around the picnic area at the east beach looking for him. There had been sightings of him posted the day before in the trees in front of the big picnic shelter. A lady yelled across the grounds. She had found him. We all ran over and started shooting. He was high up in an old oak tree.

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He’s really pretty with all of that yellow and hints of orange and brown. There was a female there as well but she stayed at the very top of the tree, out of sight.

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He was digging around in what looked like holes made by a woodpecker.

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Something else flew into the tree above him.

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It was a white eyed vireo with a grasshopper in his mouth.

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Then a yellow-bellied sapsucker landed in the tree. I guess he’s the one making all of those holes. It was a busy tree that night.

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The highlight of the night though was seeing the rogue rooster. Someone had dropped off a rooster at the park. They probably thought it would be cool to have one and then found out it is illegal to have one in the city limits so they thought Fort Desoto would be a good place to dump him. I had read about it on Facebook but had forgotten about it until I saw him cruising around the picnic area. They had posted they were trying to catch him although the coyotes would probably get to him first. What? There are coyotes in Fort Desoto? I’ve never seen them. I would love to see one. Anybody else seen them there? A coyote with a rooster in his mouth! Now that would be a great shot. Hey, the coyote’s gotta eat too.

It was a very productive hour and a half trip to Fort Desoto after work.

LorikArt

In the in-laws yard – Skywatch Friday

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I looked out the window on Christmas eve and the above is what I saw. Dark gray skies and bare branches.

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I walked outside and it was drizzling.  I saw movement high up in the trees and realized there were a few robins in the tree eating the little nuts. I ran out in the rain with my camera and took a few shots of the robins.

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After running errands, the sky started to clear up a bit and when we drove into the driveway, I saw the above in a tree.

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I ran into the house and got my camera and was able to get a few shots of the yellow bellied sapsucker before it clouded up again.

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Monday and Tuesday were a constant drizzle. At least it wasn’t freezing.

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Almost full moon coming out before dark.

The first two days of our Christmas trip to Atlanta were sunny and cold. I was able to get some shooting in both of those days. The last two days were rainy which was just as well since I still had a few pre-Christmas things to get done and then Christmas day was spent indoors with the family. The in-laws’ yard is full of old growth trees and the birds stay high up in the trees. In the morning I can hear all of the bird activity but when I walk out the door, seeing them and getting shots are another matter. The most common ones in their yard were cardinals, blue jays, robins and sapsuckers. I kept hearing a carolina wren but could not see him. The sapsucker was the only one that got down low enough that I could get a decent shot.

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