Monday, January 28, 2013

Birds: and what a week it was

What a bird week. Oh, the usual: bluebirds, the phoebe, cardinals, blue jays, warblers, mockingbirds, mourning doves, red-bellied woodpeckers, vultures and my daily visitor, the red shouldered hawk. 

I was greeted by a few treats though.  The swallow swarm was back, bigger and better than ever and they added to their antics and my joy by swooping down to drink from the pond a hundred at a time "on the wing", causing only a slight ripple in top of the water.

Then, there was a robin, a soaring eagle, a common dove (not so common around here) and likely the best of all:  6 soaring wood storks (picture shown, which you can see enlarged by clicking on it),   There may have been more up there, but 6 was all that fit into the photo frame ;)

On Saturday, I met a new "life lister": Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus).  I glanced out the window and saw red in the oak.  Not exactly unusual, the cardinals often hang out in there, but this was close to the trunk.  As I studied it, I thought it was a Downy Woodpecker, a species I was blessed with in huge numbers while living in New York, but that I have yet to add to my Florida life list. I crept outside and got out my field glasses for a closer look.  WOW, kinda big!  As I angled the camera to try and catch a photo (s)he took off up into one of the tall pines. 

I studied it through the field glasses some more and made unsuccessful attempts to get a photo.  I realized it was indeed too large to be the diminutive downy so I headed inside to grab my field guide.  After thumbing through, I decided that Hairy Woodpecker seemed a good match and then I headed in to the computer to confirm.  YEP!  CHECK!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lousy photo, fleeting encounter

One morning about a week ago I saw a splash of color out of the corner of my eye. It was gone before I even could make identification, but I had in the back of my mind what it COULD be. Long ago I had seen some photos taken by my friend Jenny of pretty little birds called Painted Buntings (Passerina ciris). The next day I glanced out the window and I was thrilled to see one who was actually stationary for a moment. Awe struck, I reached for the camera but as fast as it was there it was gone.

The next day I again glanced out the door and saw one of these beauties, a male. I quietly grabbed the camera and stealthy opened the door as the little bugger flew over into the grapevine. This photo was the best I could do before it disappeared in the tangle of vines.

The next morning I stationed myself on the stair landing, camera in hand waiting...waiting...waiting. In the distance I could see color, but much too far away for a photo. I've been patiently waiting ever since. They are migratory here and I think that the four days was my window of opportunity. So, I am reporting my encounter and secretly hoping that Murphy's law kicks in and I get an outstanding photo minutes after this blog post goes live :)

Another tick mark on my Florida birdy life list, and a blurry reminder...but a reminder nonetheless, of a very rewarding encounter. Head on over to the Cornell site to see beautiful photos of this magnificent beauty. so you can share what I saw with my own two eyes.

Monday, January 14, 2013

One for the Bugguide record books!

In March of 2010 I had taken a photo of a moth and spent the better part of an hour trying to I.D. it by comparing to pictures at  No Luck, so I posted the photo at that website.  One of the resident moth experts wrote the following: 
"Probably 3731.96 - Sparganothis n. sp.
This is a pretty good match for a specimen from Alabama found in the Mississippi Entomological Museum where it is labeled as an undescribed new species."
So, I moved it to that genus and left it to languish with others that didn't have enough detail to be identified as to species.
This past week I received a "subscription update" on my entry.  Seems that another of the experts moved my entry to
Cenopis unicolorana - Hodges#3707.1 (Cenopis unicolorana), a new guide page he created. 
I'm pleased to say that my encounter with photos is the ONLY one listed for this species.
You can see the posting here:

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Four, I tell you FOUR!

I had a wonderful encounter last week.  I glanced out the window in the kitchen door and saw four northern bobwhite quail munching away in an area next to the patio.  They were so close I could almost touch them.  I grabbed the camera and quietly opened the door.  I got off this one shot when Chili decided it would be a good time to bark from the living room, making the birdies scoot.  These birds tend to walk rather than fly, although they will take flight and I've seen them up on tree limbs.  They are FAST!  I desparately tried to zoom to photo capture the other three, but it was not to be. These birds are rather rare due to loss of habitat so I'm glad they find my place an acceptable place to dine.  I hope to see them again soon!
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