Tag Archives: Anhinga

Wakodahatchee in nesting season

img_9702-2

Hey, Cattle Egret… it’s time for your makeover…

DSC_4529

Oh you sexy thing!

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.

DSC_4526.jpg

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!

DSC_4673

A boardwalk through the wetlands gets you closer to the birds.

DSC_4679

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.

DSC_4692

She let me stand right next to her and take this glamour shot.

DSC_4697.jpg

Hello, bird.

DSC_4511

Glossy Ibis chick!

DSC_4513

Chubby and fluffy like chick, but with a bit of ibis curve to the (striped) bill already.

DSC_4644

Great Egret chicks watches the skies for the return of mom/ dad.

DSC_4501.jpg

I played hide-and-seek with a Green Heron.

DSC_4506

Black-bellied Whistling Duck at rest.

DSC_4507

They have longer legs than you might guess.

DSC_4521

Another a water’s edge.

 

Anhinga at the park

DSC_2894

I got some nice shots of this Anhinga a few days ago at Indian Riverside Park.

DSC_2896

I haven’t been visiting the birds as often as I’d like because we bought another house nearby that we’re remodeling. It’s crazy-busy at the moment, but in a good way.

DSC_2899

But now and then the planets align and I’ve got my camera with me when birds are nearby doing pretty bird things like drying the feathers of their wings.

Early November in Savannas Preserve

IMG_0005

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.

IMG_0011

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

IMG_0012

Info.

IMG_9883

The main trail heads off into the wild.

IMG_9884

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.

IMG_9893

Wood Stork.

IMG_9896

Great Egret heading in the other direction.

IMG_9900

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

IMG_9901

Northern Mockingbird posed on a stump.

IMG_9904IMG_9907

Wildflowers in bloom.

IMG_9908IMG_9914

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

IMG_9919

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

IMG_9922

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

My eBird checklist for the walk is HERE.

IMG_9926

Great Blue Heron was standing very still.

IMG_9935

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

IMG_9937

A pair of Anhingas.

IMG_9939Raccoon has been here.

IMG_9943

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

IMG_9957

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

IMG_9967

Sort of boring yet oddly beautiful landscape, to me.

IMG_9974

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

IMG_9993

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.

IMG_9994IMG_9996

A bit windy that day.

IMG_0003-2

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.

 

Birds and a turtle and an otter, oh my

IMG_6942-2

I spied on half the gallinule family and a terrapin on Saturday morning. They were in the reeds at freshwater pond at Indian RiverSide Park, Jensen Beach.

IMG_6948-2

I think this turtle is a Red-eared Slider, a member of the pond turtle/ marsh turtle family.

IMG_6964-2

The gallinule chicks are growing up fast.

IMG_6967-2

Beaks and legs are very different from the adult.

IMG_6969-2

Much time was spent preening the feathers.

IMG_6978-2

Was this vocalization directed towards the turtle?

IMG_6979-2

All birds looking up (in that one-eyed way I remember from my backyard hens), while the turtle continues to watch the gallinules.

IMG_6983-2

Amazing red and yellow color match between the turtle’s face and tail and adult gallinule’s beak and legs.

IMG_6986-2

Birds of all species hang close together at this pond, but do the birds and reptiles hang close together too?

IMG_6987-2

Speaking of coexisting with reptiles, I wondered if this White Ibis lost a leg to an alligator.

IMG_7002-2

One more photo of the gallinules. What spectacular toes!

IMG_7003-2

Nearby, Little Blue Heron gets its stalk on.

IMG_7014-2

A woodpecker flew onto this old tree. I’m guessing it’s a juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker. It will grow a lovely scarlet cap soon!

IMG_7022-2

Anhinga perched on one pathetic little tree branch, or root. The park people need to leave more dead wood around the pond.

IMG_7027-2.jpg

This Anhinga is a female, with the light brown neck.

I also walked the boardwalk into the mangrove swamp. It was a breezeless 90 degrees and it felt like 100 in the humidity…

IMG_7069-2

But I saw an otter! The River Otter, Contra canadensis, lives in and near fresh water in a large part of North America, including throughout Florida except the Keys.

IMG_7071-2

This looks like a yawn but it may have been a crunch. I could hear it eating something, fish or crab?

IMG_7072-2

Sharp little teeth, cat-like whiskers, elf ears and a body like an aquatic dachshund… what a strange and wonderful animal.

Also, don’t mess with them… they bite! River otters in Florida got into multiple fights with kayakers last winter.

Sunday morning pond loop

IMG_6589-2

I looped the pond at Indian RiverSide Park on Sunday morning and kept track of the birds I saw for an eBird checklist: LINK.

IMG_6595-2

White Ibis, ten of them, preening mostly.

IMG_6598-2

Ibises plus an Anhinga drying his wings in the sun.

IMG_6601-2

The morning light was lovely. Birds are a great way to start the day!

IMG_6618-2

White Ibis close up.

IMG_6620-2

Paying attention to feathers.

IMG_6627-2

Florida Mottled Ducks, I believe.

There were 14 of them.  But I marked them on the checklist as Mallard/ Mottled because I was not 100 percent sure that there were not a few hybrids mixed in.

IMG_6644-2

The Wood Ducks were still there from the day before.

IMG_6648-2

The Mottled Ducks were parading past the Wood Ducks.

4woodducks

Four Wood Ducks, all young/ non-breeding males?

IMG_6655-2

The duck scene got even busier when a couple of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks flew in.

IMG_6656-2

Duck city.

bbwducks

The handsome and interesting Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.

IMG_6659-2

Side-by-side duck comparison.

IMG_6665-2

Then the little not-duck, a Common Gallinule, came across the pond.

IMG_6678-2

It checked in on my side of the pond then paddled back to the reeds on the other side.

IMG_6701-2

When I walked to that side of the pond I witnessed a charming parent-child moment, as the adult and chick shared a nibble of a little green plant.

IMG_6703-2

Common Gallinule chick.

IMG_6710-2IMG_6715-2

There were four chicks and two adults in the reeds.

IMG_6719-2

Audubon: Common Gallinule

Adaptable and successful, this bird is common in the marshes of North and South America. It was formerly considered to belong to the same species as the Common Moorhen, widespread in the Old World. The gallinule swims buoyantly, bobbing its head; it also walks and runs on open ground near water, and clambers about through reeds and cattails above the water. Related to the American Coot and often found with it, but not so bold, spending more time hiding in the marsh.

IMG_6725-2

Funny, fluffy little creatures.

IMG_6726-2

This is their part of the pond.

Streamlined water bird

IMG_6613-2

Stop me if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m completely fascinated by the fact that… Anhingas don’t have nostrils!

They do not have external nares (nostrils) and breathe solely through their epiglottis.

IMG_6635-2

I photographed this fine fellow yesterday morning at the Indian RiverSide Park pond.

In order to dive and search for underwater prey, including fish and amphibians, the anhinga does not have waterproof feathers, (unlike ducks, which coat their feathers with oil from their uropygial gland). Because the anhinga is thus barely buoyant, it can stay below the surface more easily and for longer periods of time.

If it attempts to fly while its wings are wet, the anhinga has difficulty, flapping vigorously while “running” on the water. As do cormorants when drying their feathers, the anhinga will stand with wings spread and feathers fanned open in a semicircular shape, resembling a male meleagrine, which led to the anhinga being referred to colloquially as the “water turkey” or “swamp turkey.”

IMG_6614-2

I used to think Anhingas were ugly, or at least funny looking. I’m beginning to think they are beautiful, actually, in their own strange way.

A few more birds from the causeway park

IMG_5897-2

One of the fishing piers at the west causeway under Jensen Beach bridge, looking north at the Indian River Lagoon. Guys were netting fish. A couple of members of the heron family were lurking nearby.

IMG_5901-2

Little Blue Heron on a light post.

IMG_5902-2

LBH.

IMG_5904-2

Great Egret near the boat ramp.

IMG_5908-2

Both heron and egret appear to have breeding plumage still.

IMG_5926-2

Looking toward the mainland, I spotted an Anhinga drying its feathers, its back to the sun, in classic Anhinga pose.

IMG_5928-2

Feathers and palm fronds.

IMG_5932-2

An Osprey was fishing the Indian River Lagoon. That’s the Florida Power & Light nuke plant in the distance.

IMG_5938-2

Osprey, boat traffic on the Intracoastal, and Nettles Island.

IMG_5942-2

Anhinga was not happy with the dog and me being so close. We gave it some room to keep sunning.

IMG_5945-2

You can almost count its feathers from this angle!

Say ah, Anhinga

IMG_5754-2

Anhinga at Indian RiverSide Park.

IMG_5765-2

I am Anhinga, hear me roar!

At first glance I thought it was a cormorant because of the thick neck. But it has a straight pointy bill and cormorants have a downward curve at the tip of their bills.

IMG_5767-2

Was it trying to swallow a big fish? I really have no idea.

IMG_5769-2

It had its mouth open the whole time I was taking photos. It wasn’t actually making any sound (like roaring).

IMG_5772-2

This is a female or juvenile, with the light brown neck and upper body.

IMG_5775-2

Long neck.

IMG_5777-2

See how the feathers are wet – looks like wet dog fur, almost. They aren’t waterproof like  a duck’s feathers and need to dry after swimming. One reason Anhingas don’t live in cold places, I guess.

IMG_5778-2

Good swimming feet.

IMG_5793-2

The Amazed – no, Amazing! – Anhinga.

Snakebird

IMG_5692-2

Anhinga around 7 p.m. last night by the pond at Indian RiverSide Park.

IMG_5708-2

The anhinga (Anhinga anhinga), sometimes called snakebird, darter, American darter, or water turkey, is a water bird of the warmer parts of the Americas.

IMG_5709-2

The word anhinga comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means devil bird or snake bird.

IMG_5731-2

There are four species in in the Anhingidae family of water birds, distributed worldwide mainly in warm places. They are in the order Suliformes, along with their cousins the boobies, gannets, frigatebirds, cormorants and shags.