Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Double-crested Cormorant, # 32/50

I spotted this Cormorant last summer @ Vierra Wetlands. The GETTY Editors contacted me through my Flickr account stating an interest in this image, and it is now available for Sale @ GETTY.

I am not a big fan of photographing birds straight on,  but this look was too funny to pass up.  He was very friendly, as tourists stood right next to him having their pictures taken, like a celebrity!  Some of my friends have seen the Neotropic Cormorant here @ Wakodohatchee, but I have not yet seen it. (distinguished by white around the eye/face)

Drying his wings on Miami Beach, near the Crandon Park area.

Interesting Facts:
Dark overal coloration, long neck, hooked bill with yellow throat patch.   Saltwater and freshwater species. Swims and dives well, and can sink out of sight if danger is sensed, but must periodically perch to dry its wings in the sun. Can be seen by the thousands in Florida Bay.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sandhill Crane, # 31/50

 I found this beautiful young Sandhill Crane posing for me in Miami, near the Crandon Park Beach area.

 This Sandhill Crane was spotted on the road to Dinner Island

 I spotted this Sandhill Crane at the entrance to an Orlando FL hotel. These birds are very elegant and beautiful, and their red crown is easily distinguishable~

Interesting Facts:
A North American species. Much larger than a Great Blue Heron. Pairs dance and call in courtship during breeding season. Florida resident and non-mingatory.

American Coot, #30/50

I am constantly surprising myself with this project, and not always in a good way LOL. On almost every outing,  & every day trip I take in nature with my camera, there are Coots.  Coots are everywhere! I am trying to keep order or a system with my identification project, so, only naturally, in the Rallidae family, the American Coot would be next in line for a BLOG post (since I haven't seen  a Rail yet, not a Clapper Rail, Black Rail, Yellow Rail, etc, no Rail for me) so I surprised myself to find that I don't have one "decent" American Coot image to post, but do have one half decent that I took @ Merritt Island when I saw hundreds flocked together doing the Macarena~

Common Moorhen, #29/50

The Common Moorhen is a hoot to watch run on top of the water. They seem to be chasing one another - and I've never seen any other bird be able to run on top of the water like the Moorhen~ We all want to feel special, and I feel bad for anything that has the word "common" in their name :-(

The yellow-tipped red bill, red frontal shield and white line on the flanks distinguish it from similar species.  It is a very dark duck like bird, with long legs and toes, and swims readily with a bobbing-head motion, despite its unwebbed feet.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Purple Gallinule, #28/50

This colorful creature was so close to me, he didn't seem to mind that I was watching him.  The sky was overcast which brought out the beautiful bluish-purple plumage and bright yellow legs.

Interesting facts:

Climbs to the top of taller swamp vegetation, where it roosts during the evening.   Common resident of  South Florida.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sora, # 27/50

I love the Sora's little upturned tail~ he is always bobbin up and down and very difficult to get a good image of, I am usually looking down and I would always rather be at eye level with the birds~

Interesting facts:

Usually the easiest "rail" to see. Common in  South Florida. Easily distinguished by it's brownish-gray coloration, black face and bright stubby yellow-green bill.

Friday, February 24, 2012

White Ibis, # 26/50

Beautiful White Ibis, images take at sunrise @ Bunche Beach, Fort Meyers, FL

An immature White Ibis

A baby White Ibis getting ready to fledge the nest.

Interesting facts:

The adult is unmistakable, being pure white with a bright red face and legs, and a long sickle-shaped bill. Common in Florida. 

This Scarlett Ibis is not part of my project, (this is a photo I took @ the Palm Beach Zoo) but I wanted to include the image for diagnostic purposes. The Scarlett Ibis is closely related to the White Ibis of South America and is a vagrant that was subject of a failed introduction attempt to southern Florida in the 1960's.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Roseate Spoonbill, #25/50

Ahhh, The  Roseate Spoonbill.  This bird,  and this image,  on this day,  began my fascination with all birds.  I've been a photographer my whole life, I planted a sunflower seed in my backyard when I was 12 for the sole purpose of taking its picture, while I waited with my Vivitar 110 camera.  Today that sunflower photo hangs in a frame. I love landscapes, I love portraiture, and then this pretty pink bird flew past my viewfinder . . . . and I'm still looking for the perfect spoonie image. I've since upgraded from that Vivitar and now use a Nikon D700, 80-400mm.

These images were taken this past January @ Green Cay, my first sighting of the spoonie all season, it was a white sky, so I added some blue around the edges in LR3.

Bottom image taken this February @ Merritt Island NWR~
And so, it is the Spoonie that I celebrate today as my #25/50.  I am mid-way through my personal Bird Identification project . . . . and I am on schedule (50 in 60 days).  

Thank you all for your encouragement and comments :-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Glossy Ibis, #24/50

Image taken @ Vierra Wetlands.  I have other shots of this beautiful dark iridescent, but none show the coloration like this one does.  Lighting has to be almost perfect to catch the violets, greens, and chestnuts.

Interesting facts:
Usually appears dark at a distance, with a long, thin decurved bill. As an expanding New World invasive, its population will never approach the numbers of the cattle egret, although it is increasing annually.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Anhinga, #23/50

Here we have the Anhinga, the only bird listed in the  Category, "Anhingidae - Anhingas & Darters". The top image is a male, and the female has the brown neck, or "is wearing a brown turtle neck sweater" as I like to say. The second image shows breeding colors. The Anhinga is almost always around, whether I am visiting Green Cay, Wakodohatchee, Wellington, National Everglades, this species can be found. The breeding colors are especially beautiful~

Interesting Facts:

Like cormorants, to which it is closely related, it must dry its wings intermittently in the sun after fishing forays. It often swims below the surface with only the neck and head exposed, hence another of its names, "snake-bird".

Monday, February 20, 2012

Wood Stork, # 22/50

I am almost half way into my project, to identify 50 birds in 60 days. The majority of the images were all taken in the past twelve months, this is an effort on my part to identify them, and my blog keeps me focused on the project.  I have also started a flickr group, Wings Over Florida, which is growing and will be a resource guide of amazing images of Florida Birds, for those that need help with identification and those that just would like to enjoy viewing.

The top image was taken @ the Wild Bird Center in the Florida Keys, the middle image was taken @ Wakodohatchee Wetlands, and the bottom, at my favorite pull off on Alligator Alley.

Interesting Facts:

The large size, naked all-dark head, long, slightly decurved bill and white plumage, make this species easily identifiable.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Osprey, 21/50

I had an excellent view of this Osprey and his fresh catch. In the first image he had just returned from the water and landed on the branch, in the second image, the first squirts of blood from the fish can be seen.  These images were taken at Delnor-Wiggins Pass  State Park in Naples, where their nest can also be viewed from the sand,  in a roped off area with a sign indicating "osprey nest".

Interesting facts:

Virtually cosmopolitan, being absent only from the tundra and the antarctic. Eagle sized, the head and neck are largely white.  When soaring, the Osprey kinks the wings at the "wrist", rendering it unmistakable in flight. Nests are huge and added to every year. The  Florida race is entirely white-headed and wholly white below.

Turkey Vulture, # 20/50

The top image was taken on Snake Road in the Everglades, and the bottom one was taken in Loxahatchee NWR.  Everything is beautiful :-)

Interesting Facts:
Large size, bare reddish head and silver gray and black under wings are diagnostic.  It soars in a broad V and seldom flaps its wings.  This is one of nature's sanitarians, feeding on carrion, especially roadkills.  At dawn, these birds spread their wings to absorb solar heat.

Black Vulture, #19/50

This image was taken last weekend at Dinner Island Ranch. We were on the look out for Caracara's, but instead . . . . . this fellow got his picture taken.  I am working on my Level I Wings Over Florida Certificate, and this is Bird ID # 19 of my first 50.

Dinner Island Ranch is over 21,000 acres, and we went during hunting season, maybe that's why we saw basically NO other wildlife on our 2 hour drive around . . . . I don't know if I will ever return to this spot for bird photography.

Interesting Facts:

Common in Florida. Smaller than the Turkey Vulture. The head is black. Usually seen soaring in tight circles.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Northern Caracara, # 18/50

These images were taken off Snake Road, in the Florida Everglades. I spotted his large bill and crested head from a distance, quickly pulled over, took a few images, and he flew off.  The bottom image was taken last weekend @ Vance Whidden Park, Curry Island, and I believe it to be an immature.  Access to the park is along off SR 78, 12 miles north of Moore Have, directly across from Banana Grove Road.

Interesting Facts:

Formerly called  Crested Caracara. Distinctive if perched or in flight. The large bill and red facial skin and black and white barred breast distinguish the adults. Soars on flattened wings like a raven.  The imm

#17/50 American Kestral

This image was taken @ Foto De Soto Park in Fort Meyers. Every time I inched up the car, he flew farther away and landed on the wire. This image is cropped big time.

Interesting facts:

A small colorful falcon, with two black facial bars. This is male, he has blue-gray wings. It is a common year-round resident of Florida.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Black-necked Stilt, #16/50

I took these images @ Wakodohatchee Wetlands, Spring 2011.  I look forward to this spring when the Wetlands are drained for them to return to nest here.

Interesting facts:

Only the Greater Flamingo has longer legs in proportion to its over-all size. This unmistakable, delicate, black-and-white  shorebird is endowed with bright red legs and a slender bill. Common throughout much of the Western Hemisphere,  it is a common summer visitor, but uncommon nesting species in Southern Florida.