Late Spring Roundup

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.

Great Blue Heron, Limpkin

Great Blue Heron, Limpkin

 

A very nice surprise was a male Orchard Oriole.  They are seen regularly during migration but typically much closer to the coast.

Orchard Oriole (Male)

Orchard Oriole (Male)

 

During the breeding season Great Egrets develop long plumes on their backs and their facial skin turns a pretty shade of green.

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

 

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.

Limpkin

Limpkin

Limpkin

Limpkin

 

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.

Fish Crow

Fish Crow

 

If it hadn’t been for those red eyes, I might have walked right by this almost hidden Black-crowned Night Heron.

Black-crowned Night Heron

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.

Anhinga

Anhinga

 

Cedar Waxwings! Finally! In the Pines, eating mulberries, flying around with that high-pitched twitter. A really handsome bird.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

 

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

 

Even the Common Gallinule looks uncommonly pretty today, floating atop a bed of green.

Common Gallinule

Common Gallinule

 

A glorious morning punctuated by – what else – a Morning Glory.

Morning Glory

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.

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

 

The Mallard family performs a few stretches and enjoys the breakfast buffet.

Mallard

Mallard

 

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.)

Osprey (Digiscoped)

Osprey (Digiscoped)

 

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!

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Post navigation

30 thoughts on “Late Spring Roundup

  1. We are seeing some nice birds on our Alaska trip, but this post makes me miss Florida! Great bird spot. Thank you for sharing (and thanks to Mrs Jones for making sure you got out there …. you can always blog later.) (And obviouly, I can always read later!).

    • What a wonderful opportunity you have to visit a very special place! Don’t worry, Gini keeps me on track in all aspects of my life!

  2. Amazing photos, those are not easy shots…Your results are stunning.

  3. Hello Wally,
    I really love your humor about your wife!!
    We have more or less the same dilemma here but I am the one dragging hubby out when I have an interesting place for obs and pics in mind ! LOL!
    Many thanks for taking the time to put this post up for our pleasure, it makes me feel like I was n-e-a-r-l-y there with you!
    The Oriole is gorgeous, our is bright yellow and black and I still wish I could an opportunity to take a shot! What an beautiful array of creatures, I’ll have to ask the Anhinga the address of his hairdresser!!
    Keep well and come back soon with more!! ; -)

  4. Oh, my…you’ve been seeing some gorgeous wildlife. Shame on your wife for leading you to all this! lol I totally understand the need to be out in nature, getting your shots instead of blogging. It’s a delicate balance. I’m always excited to see one of your posts because I know I am going to be in awe. Yep, I am in awe right this minute. 🙂

  5. You saw and shot a lot of great stuff that day. Those waxwings are beautiful. They are pretty rare around here even during migration. I hear people feed the purple gallinules at that park and they are pretty tame. I need to get over there.

    • You are, unfortunately, correct about well-meaning folks feeding all the birds (and cats and raccoons and alligators), Dina. I was lucky to have finally found the Waxwings!

  6. I don’t know what just happened, Wally, but I got a message from WordPress to say “you are posting comments too quickly – slow down”! If the original message gets through, please delete this one!

    Another very entertaining and interesting post from you, and beautifully illustrated too as usual. I think my favourites are the Anhinga, and the Osprey that looks like a judge about to pass sentence – not that I’ve ever seen a judge pass sentence except on TV, you understand!

    I can tell by your references to Gini that you have a very comfortable relationship! Congratulations!

    Don’t leave it too long before your next post, please.

    Best wishes to you both – – – Richard

    • What a strange message, Richard! Perhaps WordPress knows how slowly I read? 🙂

      We appreciate your being so kind in your comments. Yes, we do have a very comfortable relationship. Or it was until Gini read this post!

      Cheers!

  7. Poor Gini takes the blame and I’m sure she doesn’t resemble an Osprey in any way. Shame on you Mr Jones.

    And “I don’t believe it” – Another new birding site but handy for breakfast.

    That first shot of the heron in the morning mist is just a stunner. How did you do that? A good find the Orchard Oriole and what superb colours it has.

    Anhinga seems to be having a bad hair day but your pictures sure works well on the background.

    Ah the trill of Waxwings. A great sound but not just yet for us, a winter visitor only.

    Save some of that steaming Irish oats, fresh blueberries, pecans and cinnamon for me Wally

    • I have been duly and deservedly shamed. Gini now insists on editorial control of all future postings. Sigh.

      Phil, thank you for the very nice remarks! Our Waxwings are also only visitors during migration. I’m so behind on posting that these photos were from the first week in May.

  8. What a bunch of posers! Lovely photos.

  9. Magnificent, all…but that fish crow shot gets my vote for Best Picture! 🙂

  10. Fantastic shots of these beautiful birds. The heron in the first shot is so regal-looking.

  11. It is nice that your wife finds you all these great birding spots.. Awesome photos and wonderful collection of birds.. The Orchard Oriole is one of my favorites. Great post, have a happy weekend!

  12. then i will ‘blame’ your wife for these great shots, too. 🙂

  13. Gorgeous shots! My favorite is the heron with the limpkin in the background.

We value your Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: