Yes, yes, I know I’ve been slow to blog lately. To all of you who put a lot of time, effort and love into your blogs, I sincerely apologize for not visiting much. Now for the confession. I have no good excuses for my behavior. It just seems every time I think about putting together a post or reviewing all the wonderful sites on my list – Gini insists we go visit a new birding spot she heard about. What am I to do? I have learned over the m-a-n-y years we have been married that it is not in my best interest to contradict her wishes. So, gentle readers, you now know where to place blame for my seeming inattentiveness to blogdom. —->(Rushing to hide her laptop even as we speak. Shhh!)
So, there we were, approaching the local park once again. It’s so close to the house we overlook its potential all too often. Today, Lake Parker Park held a few surprises. The morning fog hung just at the water’s surface as the sun began to bathe the shoreline in that special light only visible at dawn. The eerie calls of Limpkins sounded all across the north side of the lake, which is a vast area of bulrush, cattail and lily pads. Most of the wading birds were still asleep in the tops of trees. Common and Purple Gallinules cackled and a large Caspian Tern materialized just above the fog, trying to peer down into the water for a morning morsel. A Great Blue Heron looked into the sun and just beyond him a Limpkin preened in the top of a small Cypress tree. As the animal world awakened, a few energetic humans arrived to walk, jog and bike the nicely laid out pathways around the lake shore. One nice lady saw the gear around my neck and asked if I had seen any Robins? “Not yet”, I replied, knowing full well the American Robins had left for their northern breeding grounds almost a month ago. As soon as I had uttered those words and had that thought, I spied an orange and black bird atop a large tree. A Robin???? Nope. Much better, for me at least. An Orchard Oriole! By all accounts, the first one seen in our county in over 20 years and only my second one ever. The short morning held another unexpected pleasure. I had been chasing Cedar Waxwings all season and not seen a single one. Then, there they were. A flock of two dozen in a Pine tree. Another dozen in a Mulberry tree. The day was complete! We headed to the house for a late breakfast of steaming Irish oats, fresh blueberries, pecans and cinnamon. Wish you were here.
Some images follow to illustrate why we do this as often as possible.
A Great Blue Heron greets the dawn as a Limpkin preens in the distance.
A very nice surprise was a male Orchard Oriole. They are seen regularly during migration but typically much closer to the coast.
During the breeding season Great Egrets develop long plumes on their backs and their facial skin turns a pretty shade of green.
Limpkins are adept at finding food in the water as well as on the land. They prefer Apple Snails, but will also readily eat amphibians and insects.
Fish Crows breed in this area and this one was collecting nesting material. I watched him visit three trees, gathering twigs and branches at each stop before flying out of sight to his nest location.
If it hadn’t been for those red eyes, I might have walked right by this almost hidden Black-crowned Night Heron.
A male Anhinga shows off his breeding plumage. These are sometimes called “Snake Birds” for their habit of swimming submerged except for just head and long thin “snakelike” neck above water. Their relatives in other parts of the world are called “Darters” and they certainly look like darts when flying.
Cedar Waxwings! Finally! In the Pines, eating mulberries, flying around with that high-pitched twitter. A really handsome bird.
Even the Common Gallinule looks uncommonly pretty today, floating atop a bed of green.
A glorious morning punctuated by – what else – a Morning Glory.
A Pileated Woodpecker probed this stump for breakfast but had the rising sun directly behind him making for a poor photograph. That’s okay. I enjoyed watching that large chisel of a beak rip under bark and pull out grubs. I didn’t even mind laying in wet leaves to take his portrait.
The Mallard family performs a few stretches and enjoys the breakfast buffet.
This picture of an Osprey nest was taken through my spotting scope which isn’t exactly ideal for producing a quality photograph. The nest was atop a light pole at the park’s soccer field and was well beyond my normal camera lens’ range. You can see the orange eye of the Osprey chick on the left. Even at this distance, Mama was not happy I was hanging about. (I was gonna say something about Gini having that same glare, but now that I have given it due consideration, I shall refrain from such a comment.)
What a wonderful morning to be out. We were rewarded with some unexpected encounters, beautiful sights, fresh air and all before breakfast! If no further blogs are issued from this journal, you may assume my lovely spouse does not, after all, possess any sense of humor and has taken steps to ensure I will not disparage her character, albeit in jest, ever again.
Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!