Tag Archives: American Kestrel

Haney Creek hawk walk

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A Northern Mockingbird draws attention to a sign at Haney Creek Park in Stuart, FL. I took a little walk there yesterday morning.

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There is a nice trail that loops through the woods. I thought I saw a strange lizard on this sign.

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It’s a toy, ha! But it did draw my attention to the name of the lichen along the trail: Reindeer Moss.

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Wikipedia…

 Cladonia rangiferina, also known as reindeer lichen (c.p. Sw. renlav), lat., is a light-colored, fruticose lichenbelonging to the family Cladoniaceae. It grows in both hot and cold climates in well-drained, open environments. Found primarily in areas of alpine tundra, it is extremely cold-hardy.

Other common names include reindeer moss, deer moss, and caribou moss, but these names may be misleading since it is not a moss. As the common names suggest, reindeer lichen is an important food for reindeer (caribou), and has economic importance as a result. Synonyms include Cladina rangiferina and Lichen rangiferinus.

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Reindeer lichen, like many lichens, is slow growing (3–11 mm per year) and may take decades to return once overgrazed, burned, trampled, or otherwise consumed.

Don’t step on it!

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Did you ever look at one particular dead tree and think, that’s a good spot for a bird, and then a bird swoops in and perches there?

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American Kestrel!

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 The American kestrel usually hunts in energy-conserving fashion by perching and scanning the ground for prey to ambush, though it also hunts from the air. It sometimes hovers in the air with rapid wing beats while homing in on prey. Its diet typically consists of grasshoppers and other insects, lizards, mice, and small birds (e.g. sparrows). This broad diet has contributed to its wide success as a species.

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As you can see, my fascination with Dahoon holly continues.

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Nice little pop of color in the Florida autumn landscape, here at the edge of a seasonal wetland.

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Dahoon holly… Provides significant food and cover for wildlife. Deer browse the young growth. Small mammals, turkey, quail, red-eyed vireos and other songbirds eat the fruits.

I’d plant it in my yard but it likes wetter soil.

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Coming in for a landing! Another raptor appeared on a nearby snag.

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Red-shouldered Hawk!

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I spotted this one in three different locations at Haney Creek during my walk.

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Nice red shoulder.

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I didn’t go this way. It’s just a view of the typical landscape.

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I was keeping an eye out for a Scrub Jay, since I saw one at Haney Creek once when I didn’t have my camera. This was just a regular old Blue Jay playing hide and seek with me.

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The jay is in a live oak tree. I see a tiny acorn.

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The third time I saw the Red-shouldered Hawk it had perched in a great spot for photos – sunlight behind me and on the bird, with dark clouds beyond.

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Its legs look so long.

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This pose made me think of Horus, the Egyptian falcon god of kings and skies.

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What a beauty.

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Early November in Savannas Preserve

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American Kestrel looks fierce and cute at the same time.

I saw this bird and others on Saturday during a solo 1.1-mile walk in the Martin County section of the wonderfully unique Savannas Preserve, off Jensen Beach Boulevard.

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Entrance fee is $3, self service. There is a picnic pavilion and a bathroom building.

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Info.

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The main trail heads off into the wild.

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Holly berries gave a festive, late autumn look to an otherwise not very autumnal landscape – at least for those of us who have lived in north most of our lives. This is Dahoon holly, I think.

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Wood Stork.

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Great Egret heading in the other direction.

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Main trail goes straight. This time I took the side trail to the right, heading east towards a lower, wetter area.

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Northern Mockingbird posed on a stump.

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Wildflowers in bloom.

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A group of Wood Storks was feeding near a Great Egret.

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Holly and a nest box, at the edge of the wetlands.

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Wood Storks took off and then I counted them (two others went in another direction).

My eBird checklist for the walk is HERE.

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Great Blue Heron was standing very still.

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A came upon a large trap. I guessed it might be for wild pigs, which can be such a problem in Florida.

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A pair of Anhingas.

IMG_9939Raccoon has been here.

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This part of the trail was a bit muddy from recent rains.

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Mystery track. Sort of cat-like and cat-sized. Domestic cat out for a prowl? Fox?

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Sort of boring yet oddly beautiful landscape, to me.

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Silvery saw palmettos between the freshwater marsh grass and slash pines.

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I heard this kestrel calling before I saw it.

American Kestrels have a fairly limited set of calls, but the most common one is a loud, excited series of 3-6 klee! or killy! notes lasting just over a second. It’s distinctive and an excellent way to find these birds. You may also hear two other common calls: a long whine that can last 1–2 minutes, heard in birds that are courting or feeding fledglings, and a fast chitter, usually used by both sexes in friendly interactions.

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A bit windy that day.

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North America’s littlest falcon, the American Kestrel packs a predator’s fierce intensity into its small body. It’s one of the most colorful of all raptors: the male’s slate-blue head and wings contrast elegantly with his rusty-red back and tail; the female has the same warm reddish on her wings, back, and tail. Hunting for insects and other small prey in open territory, kestrels perch on wires or poles, or hover facing into the wind, flapping and adjusting their long tails to stay in place.

 

Kestrel at sunset

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Falcon at sunset, on the tip top of a neighbor’s palm. This is an American Kestrel, to be exact.

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The American kestrel usually hunts in energy conserving fashion by perching and scanning the ground for prey to ambush, though it also hunts from the air. It sometimes hovers in the air with rapid wing beats while homing in on prey. Its diet typically consists of grasshoppers and other insects, lizards, mice, and small birds (e.g. sparrows). This broad diet has contributed to its wide success as a species.

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This kestrel arrived back in the neighborhood a month or so ago. I often see it in this exact spot, sometimes for 15 or 20 minutes at a time. Seems like a pretty chill little raptor.

Last year: Angel on top of the tree.

Angel on top of the tree

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Walked a mile in my neighborhood just now and couldn’t find any birds except some vultures swirling overhead and some tiny warblers too speedy to capture.

Got back to our new house and found an American Kestrel perched on the tip top of our giant Norfolk Island pine. Score!

North America’s littlest falcon, the American Kestrel packs a predator’s fierce intensity into its small body. It’s one of the most colorful of all raptors: the male’s slate-blue head and wings contrast elegantly with his rusty-red back and tail; the female has the same warm reddish on her wings, back, and tail. Hunting for insects and other small prey in open territory, kestrels perch on wires or poles, or hover facing into the wind, flapping and adjusting their long tails to stay in place. Kestrels are declining in parts of their range; you can help them by putting up nest boxes.

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Anhinga Trail

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Green Heron in the Everglades.

These small herons crouch patiently to surprise fish with a snatch of their daggerlike bill. They sometimes lure in fish using small items such as twigs or insects as bait.

Lots of birds and some (slow and quiet) bird watchers on the fabulous Anhinga Trail, off the main park road early in the morning on Thursday, February 26.

Photo album: Anhinga Trail

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Anhinga nest with chicks! I believe the adult bird on the right is the female.

A bird of southern swamps, the Anhinga is known as the Water-Turkey for its swimming habits and broad tail, and also as the Snake-Bird for its habit of swimming with just its long head and neck sticking out of the water.

cormorant

Cormorants have turquoise eyes!

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White Ibis.

Native American folklore held that the bird was the last to seek shelter before a hurricane, and the first to emerge afterwards. The bird was thus a symbol for danger and optimism.

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Spotted a kestrel at the south end of the main park road, in Flamingo.

North America’s littlest falcon, the American Kestrel packs a predator’s fierce intensity into its small body.

I could spend days and days in the Everglades.