Hither, Thither and Yon

Planning and organization can be the keys to success in any endeavor.  Achieving one’s goals often depends on carefully considering options, mapping out a strategy and following through until the objective has been reached.  This approach, when applied to birding, makes good sense and could result in maximizing the total number of species and individual birds observed during any given trip.

So, we had no idea where we wanted to go birding and decided to head to the beach.  After seeing a few birds and enjoying a waterside fresh seafood lunch, we drove inland, checked around a lake, found a sod field with a few migrant shorebirds and ended up in a hardwood area adjacent to a river.  I don’t know.  We didn’t do any planning for this trip but at the end of the day, it sure felt successful.

At the beach, we enjoyed gulls and terns diving for fish, a pair of Semipalmated Plovers chasing bugs, Ruddy Turnstones bathing in rain puddles and saw five young Yellow-crowned Night Herons in the space of a couple hundred yards.

The lake produced a Limpkin showing off his Apple Snail, a young Tricolored Heron resplendent in his chestnut-tinged plumage, an Anhinga drying his shiny black feathers and a loud Carolina Wren scolding the entire time.

Sod fields were dotted with migratory shorebirds, including numerous Killdeer, a couple hundred Least Sandpiper, a few dozen Pectoral Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitchers and a Spotted Sandpiper.  In a nearby field were hundreds of Barn Swallows performing their dizzying aerobatic show.   The bird of the day was a Peregrine Falcon which flew directly overhead just as we were getting in the truck (and AFTER the camera was put away).

In the woods along the river we spotted five Red-headed Woodpeckers (including one juvenile), four Northern Parula, a White-eyed Vireo, Black and White Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and two Yellow-billed Cuckoo.  A surprising find was a roosting Common Nighthawk on a tree branch.

All in all, a very satisfying day.

Here’s a sampling of encounters during our random wandering.

Ruddy Turnstone

Ruddy Turnstone

Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Plover

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Yellow-crowned Night Heron (immature)

Yellow-crowned Night Heron (immature)

Gray Kingbird

Gray Kingbird

Tricolored Heron (immature)

Tricolored Heron (immature)

Limpkin

Limpkin

Anhinga

Anhinga

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

Zebra Longwing

Zebra Longwing

Horace's Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

Larva of Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

Larva of Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

Cloudless Sulphur

Cloudless Sulphur

Least Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Bank Swallow, Barn Swallows

Bank Swallow, Barn Swallows

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker

Common Nighthawk

Common Nighthawk

If you have an opportunity, plan carefully to increase the chances for a successful birding adventure.  Or, go take a look hither and thither and see what may be waiting for you.  Oh, and don’t forget yon – that’s where the really good birds are!

Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!

 

See more birds at:   Paying Ready Attention   (Check out Wild Bird Wednesday.)

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

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39 thoughts on “Hither, Thither and Yon

  1. Shey

    Seems like a very productive day even without planning. Your post is great and your photos awesome. I esp love the limpkin with his snail, just lovely! By the way, what camera and lens do you use when you go birding?

    • Thank you, Shey! As my sister, Beth, said earlier: “Planning may be overrated.” 🙂
      I’m shooting a Nikon D7000, usually with a Nikkor 70-300mm f4.5/5.6 lens.

  2. Great set of birds – I like it when I see birds on other peoples posts that I can see in Australia – in this case the Turnstone.

    Cheers – Stewart M

  3. Wally, Wally, Wally…
    I needed a fix of Florida birds and knew I could count on seeing them on your blog!
    Did you hear my sigh of contentment? No?
    Here it is again… Ahhhhhhhhh

  4. Quite a productive visit to the beach and woods, Wally! I particularly liked that Limpkin shot with a snail, and (of course) the Red-headed Woodpecker, which I finally got to photograph this past week.

  5. Your photos are astounding!

  6. You were obviously in ‘yon’ because you sure found a beautiful selection of great birds! Thanks for sharing them (and the butterflies. I’m in awe of your knowledge and thank you for sharing it. The limpkin is probably my absolute favorite today, just because he just says ‘Florida’ to me… no birds like him up here in Oregon!

    • Thank you so much, Sallie! The Limpkin was quite courteous to pose for me! You’ll see one just as soon as your southward migration is complete!

  7. Not bad for an “unplanned day” day Wally. Hundreds of Least, a few dozen Pecs and numerous Killdeer! – Remind me to come along when you plan on seeing a little more. I enjoyed all your pictures and of course your understated commentary. Great birding.

    • We hope the shorebird counts will increase as the migration gets under way. Now, being able to identify those brown and gray mounds at long distances, that’s another story!
      Hope your weekend plans include lots of birding!
      Thanks for visiting, Phil!

  8. Sid

    Dad – I agree with Ron above- the Limpkin couldn’t did you a very pretty turn as it displayed its catch for you. Amazing composition! That’s a keeper! And and amazing day overall. Can’t wait to see you again.

    • Hey, Son! It was a special Limpkin moment! Thank you! Wish you’d been with me.
      Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and Mindy. We’ll talk soon.

  9. Clearly a stellar display of following your Bliss. (Planning may be overrated.) What a rich display of abundance!

  10. Wally, I always seem to find at least one hidden gem in your narration – this time it was at the end, in the second to the last paragraph. I especially enjoyed the Limpkin image, with the curves of the snail against the curves in the neck of the bird. And you even got some light in the eye with the head back lit.

    • Ron, glad you dug around long enough to find a gem worth having! That Limpkin had just snatched the snail out of the water, ran straight at me, realized his mistake and ran along the shoreline, stopped, ran back toward me and that’s when he turned to offer a decent profile. Fun stuff!

      For anyone who hasn’t seen Ron’s blog – GO THERE NOW – http://www.featheredphotography.com/blog/.
      His outstanding photography will leave you breathless and his knowledgeable discussions will educate and entertain you. Promise.

  11. That Ruddy Turnstone is a beauty. Sleepy Nighthawk. It must keep the same hours I do. 😉 I’ve never seen the caterpillar of the Cloudless Sulphur, love how they are all so different from one another. I can’t believe you have three butterflies in one photo! Overachiever! LOL Those Carolina Wrens will keep you in line.

    • Thank you so much, Patti! The Cloudless Sulphur larva is usually quite green, from munching leaves. This one is more yellow due to a preference for the flowers.

  12. Your “random wandering” certainly yielded an excellent return of bird species. All the Sandpipers look very interesting- I don’t think any of those come down this way, but I just wish I could see a Ruddy Turnstone in plumage colors like that! Great photos.

    • Mick, I’m hoping to get a few more shorebird images as the season progresses, but they usually remain far out of my camera range!

  13. Wow, that’s a great variety of birds! Love the red headed woodpecker.

  14. Great group of nature shots. I like the Turnstone and the wren and the herons. Thanks so much for your comment on my blog. cheers.

  15. What a nice series of shots of all the birds and wild life.

  16. Beautifully photographed series.

  17. Wow, wonderful collection of birds from your outing. I would be tickled with the Limpkin and the pretty Redhead Woodie. Wonderful photos!

  18. Great advice beautiful series.

  19. just an awesome set! love the reflections in a couple of these egret / heron shots! that kingbird has a large beak! cute plovers. handsome turnstone. and the nighthawk sighting is great!!!

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