Doldrums

“A state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or slump.”

 

It’s hot.

Raining almost every day.

Oppressive humidity.

Mosquitoes worse than ever.

No birds singing. Most are molting. Fall migration hasn’t started. No use even going anywhere. Just the same old same old. Sigh.

 

Wait a minute! This is Florida! There ARE birds to be seen! If not in the forest then in the swamp. If not in the swamp then at the coast. If not at the coast then at the water treatment plant or the mega-supermarket parking lot with retention ponds or the landfill or ……..

Whew! I almost blacked out there for a minute. Fortunately, finding birds to watch is NOT a real issue where we live. They may not be the birds on our great big WISH LIST, but there are plenty of birds out there!

A case in point. Although not yet open to the public, there have been periodic tours offered of the newly developed Lake Hancock Outfall Wetlands near Lakeland and Bartow in Polk County, FL. I was lucky enough to be included in a recent group. Since I’ve been here several times, I wandered away from the herd and enjoyed some late summer birding around the larger wetlands cell in the area. Total species for the morning was 40 and included over 60 American White Pelican, 5 Least Bittern, 32 Osprey (20 gathered in one group of bare trees), a dozen Limpkin, 16 Black-necked Stilt, Gull-billed and Caspian Terns, Roseate Spoonbill and a host of water/wading birds. Additionally, I found a few White-tailed Deer, a Banded Water Snake, a thieving Raccoon, plenty of healthy alligators and Bobcat tracks in the wet sand. To think, I could have sat home and complained instead!

Huh? Pictures? But of course!

 

A delicate-looking Black-necked Stilt pauses during its search for breakfast.

Black-necked Stilt

Black-necked Stilt

 

Snowy Egrets are very common here but I still can’t resist taking pictures of them.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

 

The wonderful clear song of the Eastern Meadowlark was absent today, even though I found a half-dozen of the beautiful birds. I think they’re molting and may be vulnerable to predators until their new feathers arrive. Not a good time to announce your presence.

Eastern Meadowlark

Eastern Meadowlark

 

A muddy bill leaves no doubt where this Little Blue Heron has been searching for his meal.

Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron

 

I was laying in the weeds trying to get a photo of a dragonfly when this Osprey flew in low over the tops of the reeds. I’m not sure which one of us was more surprised.

Osprey

Osprey

 

A Limpkin thinking outside the lunch box. It appears he was probing the wet sand for, well, I’m not sure what he was after. Pretty certain it wasn’t the Apple Snail he usually hunts.

Limpkin

Limpkin

 

This pair of Red-shouldered Hawks faced the rising sun over the wetlands and scanned the marsh for anything moving. They did NOT appreciate my presence. It got very noisy and I retreated.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

 

He knew I was there, but this Brown Anole didn’t take his eye off the ant he was tracking.

Brown Anole

Brown Anole

 

One of the man-made structures above a spillway made a fine perch for a Great Blue Heron to spot fish swimming too close to the surface.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

 

Grow a little algae on your back, dab your face with a bit of duckweed and “voila”, you’re completely hidden from potential prey. Nope, couldn’t possibly spot this fellow. Absolutely invisible.

American Alligator

American Alligator

 

A few female Boat-tailed Grackle found a convenient preening place.

Boat-tailed Grackle - Female

Boat-tailed Grackle – Female

 

Turtle eggs excavated and eaten by a predator. A raccoon running from the scene, not with an egg, but with an entire turtle! All of this plus the black mask – your honor, the evidence is overwhelming.

Turtle Eggs

Turtle Eggs

Raccoon

Raccoon

 

A female Four-spotted Pennant atop a spent cattail.

Four-spotted Pennant - Female (Brachymesia gravida)

Four-spotted Pennant – Female (Brachymesia gravida)

 

Yep, it’s hot and very tempting to remain within the cool air-conditioned hut. But then you’d just have to listen to me complain some more. Now, we wouldn’t want that — would we?

Avoid the doldrums.  Go birding!  Now!

 

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

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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23 thoughts on “Doldrums

  1. Cool photos! I like the Female Boat-tailed Grackles best.

  2. We have reached the end of fall migration here in Illinois (The Yellow-rumped Warblers are saying “That’s all, folks!” Heading back to south Florida this weekend and hope to catch up with migration there. You give us some hope for success! Wonderful photos as usual.

    • Have a safe “migration”, Ken! If I encounter any migrants this week, I’ll shoosh them to the southeast for you. Thank you for the kind words!

  3. Hello Wally,
    Sorry I haven’t been a faithful reader here lately, but I am running around as I get word of fauna whereabouts!!
    Another great post showing the beauties in your Floridian area!
    How wonderful it must be to know wherever you go you will find birds and animals.
    Raccoons must be quite a pest although so sweet looking!
    Your dragonfly is magnificent with its spotted face.
    Grackles and Meadowlarks have strikingly long beaks!
    All the best and “abrazos” to you and Gini 🙂

    • Bon Jour! You have no need to apologize as I am the WORST about keeping up with blogging, both reading and producing!! It is always good to check your wonderful websites to see you have been and to enjoy your exquisite artistry which you share.
      Yes, we are really blessed with so much to see all around us! There is always something interesting waiting to be spotted!

      It’s another weekend and we’re excited about getting out to see if we can find winter migratory birds. We hope you are also out having fun!

  4. 32 Osprey and it’s not even fall migration time????. Wally, that’s just not fair on those of us who see one or two a year is it? Great picture of the one flying towards you – are you sure it wasn’t about to grab you by the head and fly off? You know how dangerous these Florida creatures are.

    You captured the Great Blue in a really nice pose to show off that slender long neck, but you can’t fool me with the close up of the alligator. It’s obviously a family pet you’re trying to pass off as a wild creature.

    Thanks for your advice about avoiding the doldrums. Like you say, there’s lots to see if we make the effort, so I’d best get out birding right now. See you soon Wally.

    • Hah, you caught me! Yes, “Al” has been a valued member of the family for many years now. He’s especially useful when uninvited callers knock at the door …..

      We DO have an abundance of Osprey. It’s all too easy to take these magnificent raptors for granted. I hope you’re enjoying a new week and have been able to enjoy what birds the winds bring to your shore.

  5. once again my connection is acting up… darn!

  6. Usually I get equal delight out of your narrative and your images, Wally. However, this time your images have raced into the lead! Nothing wrong with the narrative (it’s well up to the usual standard!) – it’s just that the images are totally fabulous! I couldn’t nominate a favourite if I tried – they’re all favourites!

    Best wishes to you and Gini – – – – – Richard

    • You are way to kind, Richard, but I certainly appreciate the accolades! We are blessed to be able to enjoy what Nature offers and doubly blessed to be able to share a bit of it.

      Enjoy the upcoming weekend!

  7. I’ve gotten quite behind, but saving the links to your posts so I can visit and see what you saw. The capture of the Osprey is priceless. I should have borrowed your anole–some ants found their way into the kitchen–I could have used its services! A turtle buried eggs in my daughter’s yard, and they witnessed a masked bandit digging them up. Enjoyed your birds, and alligator (though not so much). Glad you didn’t get to be lunch. 😉

  8. The photos are awesome (as usual) but it’s your sweet and positive spirit that really shines through. Oh, how I love you, big brother! p.s. The Black-legged Stilt is like an Audrey Hepburn of the bird world. And the Osprey — wow!!

  9. I always enjoy your photos, but this is some of your best work…I was creeped out a bit by the raccoon.

    • Thank you, Charlie! I really appreciate the positive feedback! Yeah, I know it wouldn’t be ethical to interfere with nature, but it sure is hard to watch it in action sometimes.

  10. I am so glad you stopped complaining and got out there to that wonderful new to be opened area. Sounds and looks there are many birds there and you certainly captured a good many. I love the way you write the narrative because I always think I am birding with you. Your photographs are as usual A1. That Black necked Stilt is beautifully posed for you with a lovely reflection and that must have been very quick thinking on your part, to capture the Osprey if you were lying in the grass. Brilliant shot. Loved the Racoon image although I’m sure the Turtle was not too Halley! Wally, I wish you and Gini a great weekend and KEEP BIRDING!

    • Good evening, Margaret! It’s a wonderful place full of life. Thank you so much for your kind words and for taking time to visit us!

      All the best!

  11. The photos are fantastic and that osprey is particularly incredible. Love it.

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