Sunday, October 11, 2015

Birding with Pelican Island Audubon

David and I let some classes yesterday, then did a field trip with Pelican Island Audubon this weekend. Met a lot of great people, saw some awesome birds. Thanks so much to PIAS and the Drs. Baker for inviting us to come out and play with them. Here are some of the awesome birds we saw. Click to enlarge photos.

This Red-bellied Woodpecker posed  nicely for me at Captain Forrester's Hammock.
This is an awful picture, but it's a Norther Harrier. Cool bird, also at Captain Forrester's Hammock.
Yeah, I know Blue Jays are common as dirt and generally recognized as the bullies of the bird feeder, but they sure are a pretty bird.
Another Red-bellied Woodpecker posed nice.
I got some cool shots of an Osprey flying over. For those who took the class, tell me which parts of the wings are we looking at here?
Another view of the Osprey.
This one made me laugh cause you can see his eyes, and I swear he almost looks afraid, like he just realized he is 30 feet in the air and doesn't know what's keeping him aloft.
After a yummy lunch at Penny Hill, we went up to Sebastian Inlet to see what was hanging out there. We were greeted by this Snowy Egret. I love how in this picture you can see the yellow seams in his stocking.
This was really disturbing. This poor little Ruddy Turnstone's leg is falling off because some moron fisherman didn't properly dispose of their fishing waste. It looks like it hurts.
Another Ruddy Turnstone, this one posing nice.
This is where is gets weird - another Ruddy Turnstone, this one missing one entire foot, and a toe on the other.
 What the heck?? Another Turnstone, also missing an entire foot.
Ruddy Turnstone nomming.
 Same Ruddy Turnstone, really getting into nominee.
I am not sure what is on this one's leg-- it looks a little thick to be monofilament, but he's already lost one toe to what ever it is.
Another view.
OMG Seriously? I actually lost count, but I think there were 4-5 Ruddy Turnstones with either missing or deformed feet. Other than the one where it was clearly monofiliment, I have no idea what would cause this. I googled it, but there wasn't anything definitive, other than the fact that other photographers have noticed this phenomenon as well.
First year Laughing Gull.
Not a great shot, but Black Skimmers are one of my favorite birds, and this is an ok shot of some in flight.
A photogenic Willet.
 I just thought this picture was pretty. Just a Willet getting his noms.
Another view.
This was a different Willet. I titled this picture, "Hey Idiot Fisherman, Way To Clean Up After Your Sorry Self." Feel free to share this picture, but make sure you keep the title.
I titled this one, "No Seriously, You Jerk, It's Great That You Just Leave Your Hooks and Junk Anywhere Instead Of Walking 3 Feet To The Monofilament Recycling Bin"  Feel free to share this picture, but make sure you keep the title.
A headless Ruddy Turnstone.
Another one with deformed/missing feet.

If anyone knows what's going on with these Turnstones, please drop me an email. I mean, given how popular of a fishing spot Sebastian Inlet is, I guess it's possible that these are all monofilament injuries, but if that is the case, we have a serious problem. But if it's some kind of birth defect or parasite, that's a pretty big issue too.
Reddish Egret, posing.
Terrible color, but I liked his pose in this shot.
And, to finish on a high note, this is a Northern Shrike. Incredibly cute for a murderous little critter, also known as "The Butcher Bird"

Thanks so much to everyone who came out for our classes and trips this weekend!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Winds and Wildflowers 2015

David and I had an awesome time at Wings and Wildflowers. Had a lot of fantastic people come out to my classes, which made it super special. This morning, we showed up a little early for our class, so I got out to take some pictures. The birds were super obliging. Best shots ever of Red Shouldered Hawk and Purple Galinules. Click to enlarge:

Tricolor Heron looking particularly trikey this morning.
 This Red-shoulderd Hawk was SUCH an awesome little poser.
He looked very dramatic in this shot, like he was thinking something particularly deep.
 Love his big old feet.
This is a teen age Purple Gallinule.
There were a boatload of young Purple Gallinules out there this morning.
An adult Purple Gallinule.
Another baby.
A Common Gallinule. Still has the candy corn face, but with a red shield, not blue, and he is mostly black, not purple.
Three teenage Purple Gallinules came up on the bridge to talk to us. Look at the size of these feet! They are just too cool.
One of the teen baby Purple Gallinules being mooned by his siblings.
A cool thing that I noticed about Gallinules a while back. When they are chicks, they are black with a similar candy corn face like their parents. Then as they get older, the get into this "awkward" stage where their colors are muted, then they go back to the same color as the adults. Weird.
Make sure you click to enlarge this one and look at the feathers on his chest - they look like lace.
Playing on the wires on the bridge.
Just looking pretty.
I laughed at this pose - he looks like he's getting ready to run a 5k.
An adult Purple Gallinule. I totally understand why this is my buddy Pat's favorite bird.
Such a nice little poser.
More poses.
On the way back to teach our class there was another Red-Shouldered Hawk sitting on one of the park buildings.
Are you looking' at ME?
Not the best quality picture, but one of the few where you can tell why they are called "Red-Shouldered" Hawks.
And one more.

I had a really great weekend, and was so honored to be asked to present at the festival. I was so happy to see so many people come to my presentation, but was even more happy to see the people who returned to tell me that they were able to recognize birds after attending my class the first time! It means the world to me to hear that, and I want to offer my heart-felt thanks to everyone who came out to listen to my talks! Hope to see you all next year.