Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Birds of the Suncoast

This blog post features many stunning birds seen on a recent visit to Longboat Key, Florida.

A beautiful juvenile Roseate Spoonbill searches for food amid a patch of water hyacinth

Perched on a dead limb, a regal Osprey scans Sarasota Bay

The dusky midnight blue plumage of an adult Little Blue Heron

Seeking prey in the pond ~ Juvenile Little Blue Heron

A prehistoric-looking Wood Stork soars aloft

A long-necked Anhinga dries its feathers in the sun

A handsome Red-shouldered Hawk scans the area for food

Fishing in the shallows ~ Great Egret

A striking Great Blue Heron snares an unfortunate fish

A juvenile White Ibis settles into the mangroves

Preening amongst the lush green leaves ~ Brown Pelican

A female Belted Kingfisher rests on a bare branch

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Autumn Birds

Below are a series of bird photographs taken during the 2012 autumn season.

A Magnolia Warbler looks stunning amid the green leaves

Searching for food ~ Chestnut-sided Warbler

A lovely Yellow-rumped Warbler perches at the tip of a branch

A slow-moving Yellow-billed Cuckoo sits atop a tree limb ~ A life bird for me!

Peeking out from behind a tree ~ Cooper's Hawk

A busy Northern Waterthrush searches for insects amongst the fallen leaves

 Black-capped and so very beautiful ~ Wilson's Warbler

A pretty Northern Parula looks for nourishment

A flying jewel ~ Ruby-throated Hummingbird ~ If you look closely you can see the very tiny tongue protruding from the tip of its bill

Seeking sustenance ~ Black-throated Green Warbler

On the hunt for delectable ants ~ Northern Flicker

I was especially surprised and delighted to spot this gorgeous Blue-winged Warbler on October 16th

One of two Black-billed Cuckoo seen at Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary this fall ~ Another life bird!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Swooning over a Spoonbill

I am so very happy to finally be putting out a blog post! This summer blogging has taken a back seat to more pressing matters. Building our new home in Indiana has been a priority over the last few months. Bruce and his crew have been working diligently on the construction and the house is really starting to take shape. Though most of our time has been spent in the country working on the house, we have yet to acquire internet service. I have greatly missed reading all of your beautiful blogs, writing comments and putting out posts of my own. Most importantly and sadly, my wonderful Dad passed away at the beginning of August. It has been a difficult time for me and my family, but we have taken great comfort in all the kindness, support and generosity from family and friends.

I recently spent a few days in Longboat Key, Florida. Though the trip was not for pleasure, I managed to find a couple of minutes here and there to venture out with my camera. The highlight of my outings was finally being able to view a Roseate Spoonbill from a close distance. Over the past few years I have been enamoured by this elusive blushed pink bird. Until recently I was only able to catch a passing glimpse of a spoonbill. Oh what a joy it was to observe this cool bird with the odd shaped bill. This post features photographs of lovely feathered friends seen on my recent visit to Longboat Key and a few from past trips.

A splendid sight ~ Roseate Spoonbill
One of many Northern Mockingbirds seen on Longboat Key
The stunning plumage of a Tricolored Heron
A striking Great Egret seeks prey in the shallows
Soaking up the morning sun ~ Turkey Vulture
A statuesque Great Blue Heron has hunting success
Two pretty Willets spend a late afternoon at the beach
Looking out over Sarasota Bay ~ Snowy Egret

A beautiful White Ibis forages for food in the pond
A common sight on Longboat Key ~ Osprey
Drying feathers amongst the mangrove leaves ~ Anhinga
One last look at the Roseate Spoonbill

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Mother's Work is Never Done

Currently we have seven nestboxes placed on our country property. One is being used by a beautiful Eastern Bluebird couple. They have already raised one successful brood and are in the process of feeding their second crew. Two other nestboxes are occupied by House Wrens. One day, while tending to the fruit trees in the orchard, I noticed a very loquacious wren constantly bringing insects to the nestlings in one of the bird houses. She did not seem to mind my presence so I gathered up my camera and tripod to capture a few photographs of the goings-on at the wren house. My, what a busy parent she is! I observed her tending to the nestlings for about 45 minutes. Fascinated by her parenting skills, I returned the next day and snapped away for another 45 minutes. All the photographs were taken in the middle of the day where harsh sunlight does not make for great images, but I hope you find the series interesting.

Crickets must be plentiful and quite tasty, as I watched the House Wren feed lots of these insects to the nestlings

A Crane fly became the unfortunate prey for one fortunate wren nestling

Disposing of the fecal sac is one of the House Wrens many duties. A fecal sac is a mucous membrane that surrounds the feces of some nesting birds. Having it contained in a sac allows for easier waste removal from the nest.

I observed the wren bring back more spiders to the nest than any other insect

The little wren found lots of Daddy-long-legs to feed to her babies

The adult wren would most often fly to the top of the roof and scan the surrounding area before entering the house with the prey

A real treat, two insects at once!

Another Daddy-long-legs makes for a nutritious meal

I marvel at the variety of insects brought to the tiny, begging nestlings

All that food makes for lots of waste. The parent wren has more poop to dispose of.

Younger nestlings get fed soft-bodied bugs and caterpillars. When they grow larger, hard-shelled insects such as grasshoppers are served.

A leggy snack for one of the hungry nestlings

A mother's work is never done