Is it wrong of me to always think “they’re not that green” and wish the Green Heron had a different name?
The Chunky Skulking Heron? The Slate-Capped Purple-Necked Heron? The Lurking Heron?
This one was at Indian Riverside Park the other day.
Green Herons are common and widespread, but they can be hard to see at first. Whereas larger herons tend to stand prominently in open parts of wetlands, Green Herons tend to be at the edges, in shallow water, or concealed in vegetation. Visit a wetland and carefully scan the banks looking for a small, hunch-backed bird with a long, straight bill staring intently at the water. Their harsh skeow call is also a good clue.
At another part of the pond, an Anhinga was perched for feather drying.
The most common bird in the park, Columbia livia, the Rock Pigeon.
Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets and Egyptian hieroglyphics suggest that pigeons were domesticated more than 5,000 years ago. The birds have such a long history with humans that it’s impossible to tell where the species’ original range was.
This is a male, with the yellowy-green bill. Females have an orange bill. Very tame little guy. Looking adorable – hoping for a bread crust, I suppose.
My birdwatching wanders yesterday morning, at the Hutchinson Marriott Resort. I was trying to get close to a few ponds and look for winter ducks.
Also yesterday I used eBird mobile for the first time. The night before I (finally) completed the free course eBird Essentials in the Cornell Lab or Ornithology Bird Academy.
Here’s me trying to zoom in on some distant gulls to figure out what species were loafing around on the golf course. (Laughing gulls and Ring-billed Gulls, it turns out.)
Over the course of the hour I watched birds, I saw three different groups of Double-crested Cormorants. There were five individuals in each group. Cormorants come in fives?
My old eyes tuned in to the fact there were a bunch of little sandpiper birds out there too. I should have brought my binoculars but I felt like carrying my camera was enough.
They flew over to a different patch of grass. I hope nobody thought I was telephoto-stalking the golf players!
A lady walking her dog advised me to keep an eye out for flying golf balls.
Ruddy Turnstones, a couple of Sanderlings, some Killdeer.
And one lone Dunlin! It’s the bird with the longest bill in the photo above. A new bird to my blog, number 218.
Five Killdeer and one Ruddy Turnstone.
A small duck caught my eye. Wished I could get closer. Like, hitch a ride on a golf cart to go private-golf-course birding! There should be such a thing.
It was a Hooded Merganser, by itself.
In another pond was a group of three Hooded Mergansers.
I’ve seen this species of duck one other time, on a pond in NH in January 2016.
Anhinga and gulls out on the golf course, with the other winter visitors. Walking around the condos I noticed license plated from Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Maryland and West Virginia.
Fuzzy, cropped in pic of a Pie-billed Grebe, also down from the frozen north.
First photo was taken last fall. Second photo was taken a couple of days ago at the amazing and renowned Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach. It was our first visit during nesting season and there was LOTS to see. I took a thousand photos, for real. I will be posting some of the good ones over a few days.
I had noticed a bit of buff coloring on breeding Cattle Egrets before but never have I seen the candy corn bill and purple “lores” just in front of the eyes. Eyes are a different color too!
A boardwalk through the wetlands gets you closer to the birds.
This female Anhinga is also in breeding plumage with a blue ring around her eyes and a greenish tinge to her lores. Her chin is black too.
She let me stand right next to her and take this glamour shot.
Glossy Ibis chick!
Chubby and fluffy like chick, but with a bit of ibis curve to the (striped) bill already.
Great Egret chicks watches the skies for the return of mom/ dad.
A came upon a large trap. I guessed it might be for wild pigs, which can be such a problem in Florida.
A pair of Anhingas.
Raccoon has been here.
This part of the trail was a bit muddy from recent rains.
Mystery track. Sort of cat-like and cat-sized. Domestic cat out for a prowl? Fox?
Sort of boring yet oddly beautiful landscape, to me.
Silvery saw palmettos between the freshwater marsh grass and slash pines.
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.
A bit windy that day.
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.