Monthly Archives: May 2018

Walking with ibises

White Ibis out for a walk.

Getting our steps, the ibis and I.

What’s missing from the sign at the top of our street? Caution! Watch for strolling ibises.

Why is this bird smiling?

I think these are the tamest wading birds. And the wading birds least likely to be seen wading.

Treetop ibis. These birds make it easy for lazy bird-watchers to spot birds.

On the opposite end of the bird-spotting spectrum: the Yellow-billed Cuckoo!  I got another pic finally this morning. It’s a neighborhood bird I have been trying to see again since I first spotted it a week ago.

Rest stop for amazing warblers

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Blackpoll Warbler this morning, after yesterday’s rain.

Because their migration paths are different in fall and spring, we only see them here in spring, traveling from the Caribbean and South America north to the Canadian boreal forest.

National Geographic: Amazing: Tiny Birds Fly Without Landing for Three Days

Warblers that weigh about as much as a stack of 12 business cards fly thousands of miles across the Atlantic during their fall migration.

Savannas in early May

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Partridge pea is blooming at Savannas Preserve State Park. We went for a walk there yesterday, at the far south entrance off Jensen Beach Blvd.

Savannas Preserve State Park encompasses 6,000 acres stretching 10 miles from Jensen Beach to Fort Pierce with the largest freshwater marsh in South Florida. Water levels are seasonally variable.

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This is a marsh overlook, with trusty dog and adventurous husband, but without much water to see at the end of the dry season.

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But the water is coming. In fact, half an hour after our walk it rained hard off and on for the rest of the day. Rainy season officially begins May 15 and lasts to Oct. 15.

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Not a lot of birds got close enough for me to photograph. The exception to the rule was odd: a Little Blue Heron flew to the top of a tall pine tree.

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Bird’s eye view.

Check out the Nature & History of the park at the Friends of Savannas Preserve State Park webpage.

The Savannas comprises six natural communities: pine flatwoods, wet prairie, basin marsh, marsh lake, sand pine scrub, and scrubby flatwoods. Each community is characterized by a distinct population of plants and animals that are naturally associated with each other and their physical environment. 

Of particular interest is the sand pine scrub, a globally-imperiled plant community covering the eastern boundary of the park. It is dominated by sand pines and is home to the Florida scrub-jay and gopher tortoise.

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We were walking on trails through the flatwoods and scrub. But that is not a Scrub Jay…

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Those feet seem to work for perching as well as the usual shoreline wading.

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Little Blue.

Check out this drone video of the Savannas by Alan Nyiri on Youtube.

Looking at pelicans

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Brown Pelican on a seawall in Sewall’s Point.

They are big birds, but the smallest of the six pelican species of the world.

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This one is banded and has a bit of fishing wire wrapped around a toe. I couldn’t get a shot of the markings on the band.

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A pelican nearby, without a band, looking at me but right past me. It seems like we look into their eyes but birds do not look into ours.

An ear-full of waxwings

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Pointy on one end, blunt on the other, the European Starling.

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A silhouette of starlings, perched on a wire over a busy street. Why do they like the busiest streets?

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Is this Cedar Waxwing singing, or screaming at the top of its lungs?

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Big flocks of Cedar Waxwings are still here in Sewall’s Point. Shouldn’t they be heading north by now? Human snowbirds are pretty much gone. Traffic is blessedly light.

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Cedar Waxwings are easier to hear than see, unless they are moving across the sky from the tops of one big tree to another.

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When they are not eating tree fruit/ berries, they perch close together and hang out, not moving too much.

Collective nouns for waxwings are an ear-full and a museum. (Link.)

A Museum of Wax(wings), get it?

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Solo or in small flocks, White Ibis are ubiquitous.

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This one was standing on a tree limb across the street from our driveway, keeping a big blue eye on the lady with the camera.