Monthly Archives: October 2019

Little birds with yellow throats

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A bright yellow throat in morning sun.

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I saw this Yellow-throated Vireo yesterday morning at the edge of the mangroves in Indian Riverside Park, Jensen Beach.

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Such a pure, delicious yellow.

A bird of open deciduous forests and edges, the Yellow-throated Vireo is one of the most colorful member of its family. Not only does this bird have a bright yellow throat, it looks as if it’s wearing bright yellow spectacles.

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Eye rings, wing bars and songs… How to Tell Vireos From Warblers, Flycatchers, and Kinglets

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Another “yellow-throat” was nearby – the Yellow-throated Warbler.

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It’s migration season and I’m heading out the door again soon this morning!

Blue-eyed bird

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White Ibis are easy to watch, especially at Indian Riverside Park where people have fed them.

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Audubon.org: White Ibis

One of the most numerous wading birds in Florida, and common elsewhere in the southeast. Highly sociable at all seasons, roosting and feeding in flocks, nesting in large colonies. When groups wade through shallows, probing with their long bills, other wading birds such as egrets may follow them to catch prey stirred up by the ibises.

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In this photo, the eye is briefly covered by the nictitating membrane or third eyelid.

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Now back to the pretty blue eye.

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The squirrels are even tamer at this park. Once, I had come right up to me and stand on my foot.

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Mucking about, but they seem to stay so clean and white.

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Mangroves in the morning

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I walked into the mangroves behind the Henry Sewall house this morning.

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A boardwalk begins in back of the historic home which was formerly located near the the southern end of Sewall’s Point and is now at the edge of brackish wetlands in Indian Riverside Park in Jensen Beach.

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As I walked past, I peaked into the screened porch and imagined the days before air conditioning.

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Humid and warm, it’s still the wet season here in South Florida. You will perspire walking even slowly through the breezeless mangroves.

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But if you are stealthy and lucky you may sneak up on a few creatures, like this Tricolored Heron.

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There is a sign back there that explains the origin of these particular mangroves.

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Formerly fresh, now salt, but still a quiet place for birds, fish and animals near a busy road and in a busy park .

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I spy with my little eye…

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Something with a big eye… a Black-crowned Night Heron in a patch of sunlight.

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All About Birds…

Black-crowned Night-Herons are common in wetlands across North America—you just may have to look a little harder than you do for most herons. True to their name, these birds do most of their feeding at night and spend much of the day hunched among leaves and branches at the water’s edge. Evening and dusk are good times to look for these rather stout, short-necked herons flying out to foraging grounds.

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Sunday morning is for loafing.

 

Jay walking

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Florida Scrub-jays cooperated with our plan to watch them this morning on a guided Scrub Jay Walk at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

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Mostly cloudy conditions, and the birds came out nice and BLUE in my photos.

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When they are banded, Scrub-jays usually get four bands, said Jim Howe, a state park volunteer who leads these walks a couple times a month (except for the hottest months of the year).

But they do sometimes figure out how to remove some of the bands, being the smart little corvids they are.

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These Scrub-jays are a federally-designated threatened species. They live only in Florida, have specific habitat needs, and their habitats are shrinking.

They live in the “scrub,” a high-and-dry type of landscape on sandy soil which is desirable for building in this populous state, especially compared to much of low-and-wet Florida.

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They are curious and not very afraid of people. We watched five or six in this one area, quite close, hopping on the ground, perched as lookouts in trees, or flying from shrub to shrub.

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Jay with tiny acorn.

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They gather acorns from the several varieties of low-growing oaks in the scrub. They cache them to eat in winter when there are fewer insects, said our guide.

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Hide now and seek later.

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There.

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A group project, I guess.

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I can’t tell if this bird has three or four bands.

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Plenty of dead trees around in this landscape that is regularly burned to maintain it as scrub.

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The Red-bellied Woodpecker is a common bird here at Jonathan Dickinson.

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Berries on the saw palmetto are favored by raccoons, said Jim.

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We walked out on this old Army road, leftover from the time Camp Murphy and its top-secret signal corps was based here in World War II. (That’s my husband John in one of his favorite geek t-shirts.)

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A short, slow, flat walk… birding doesn’t get much easier.

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At first I thought this was a small bird of prey.

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I moved to the left and saw it was that small but fierce predatory songbird, the Loggerhead Shrike, that kills its prey with hooked beak, or impales it on thorns or even barbed wire for later eating.

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Also known as the butcherbird. Also not too concerned with the small band of birdwatchers.

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The park has lots of “love vine” in some areas.

Cassytha filliformas is a parasitic native plant. It just looks invasive in the places where it’s all over everything. Wild South Florida says it’s the plant world’s version of a vampire bat, sucking the life out of its host. Halloween is coming in South Florida.

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Scrub view with a small lake beyond.

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Scrub view.

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Last bird of our one hour walk, a Northern Mockingbird, perched in a ray of sunshine.

I found out about this walk through the Happenings page of Audubon of Martin County’s website: HERE.

Be a bird geek and read more about this threatened species and the recovery plan HERE (U.S. Fish and Wildlife).

Get involved: Florida Audubon Jay Watch