Sunday, October 23, 2016

Indian River Birding and Nature Festival

David and I had a blast leading trips and teaching classes at the Indian River Birding and Nature Festival this weekend. Here are some of our highlights!

Our first trip was an owl prowl. We didn't see any owls. Our second trip was to Jungle Trail and Sebastian Inlet. This was a much more productive trip. This was a Phoebe.
We got great looks at some Reddish Egrets at the beach.
The Reddish Egret, looking poised.
It's amazing to me how much their color changes with the light. The Reddish Egret almost looks grey here.
The Wood Stork was looking particularly handsome today.
Definitely a little poser.
Kind of like the Snowy Egret, the Wood Stork's shoes and sox don't match.
If you see a linebacker standing with a bunch of gulls, that is the Herring Gull.
A Willet photobombing my Herring Gull.
A Palm Warbler. You can't tell from this picture, but you can identify them by the way they constantly wag their tail up and down.
A Blue-grey Gnatcatcher.
The moon looking all picturesque in daytime.
Me, teaching our Introduction to Birding class (Photo by Heather.)
A few years ago, I took a course to become a certified interpretive guide. I passed the class, but the one critique I got is that flail about wildly when I speak. Unfortunately, I still do. Someone suggested today that I join Toastmasters, I might look into it.
Ok, now here, I am supposed to be flailing about wildly, I am demonstrating the flight pattern of the woodpecker (for those who have taken the class, you will remember it's swoop-swoop-weeeeeeeeee!)
Here is David, explaining a birding concept quite intensely.
Today we led a trip out to the Stick Marsh and Goodwin WMA. This is still one of my favorite places. We were greeted in the parking lot by this Black Vulture.
I don't know that I've ever actually captured a Green Heron with any green on it before. But here you go.
A Little Blue Heron, looking particularly colorful this morning. It was a chilly morning but it was beautiful out there.
Cattle Egrets in flight.
For those who took the class, you will remember we talk about how pointy the Anhinga is in flight. I think they look like an arrow being shot from a bow.
A Night Heron with an Anhinga.
So, I was trying to remember who the Great Egret in flight reminds me of. Then I remembered.
Grackles are still one of my favorites. I love how they look dull from one angle but then when the light hits them just right they just burst into color.
A particularly picturesque Mockingbird.
A Turkey Vulture.
Ok, this is a series of 3 that tell a story:

Turkey Vulture: Wow, what is that awful smell??
Black Vulture: I have no idea what you are talking about, I don't smell anything at all!
Black Vulture: HAHAHAHAHA Just kidding! I farted!
Turkey Vulture: Get off my fence.
A White Peacock, getting up there in years . He was pretty, but his edges are torn and his color is pretty faded, both of which are signs of aging.
An Osprey getting a take out meal.
A bunch of Cowbirds. Not a particularly interesting bird, I just thought there was something interesting about the array of them on the wires.
And finally, a posing Little Blue Heron.

Thanks so much to everyone who came out to play with us at the festival this weekend. We hope to see you out there, and look forward to hearing about your birding adventures! And don't forget, if you want to join us, check out David's blog for our upcoming events, including trips out of Ditch 13 Gallery and Gifts.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Wings and Wildflowers

We had a super awesome weekend leading classes and trips at the Wings and Wildflowers festival this weekend. Always nice to catch up with old friends and make lots of new ones. Thanks so much to everyone who came out to the festival and to our classes especially! Here are a few pictures of the weekend. Click to enlarge, especially the spider pix.

On Friday before our class we drove up the Ocala National Forest to scout for our Red Cockaded Woodpecker trip. This is an artificial cavity built for them.
David, trying out the new camera.
This is another artificial cavity.
Venetian Gardens, where the festival is held, is perfect for our Introduction to Birding class because you get to see big, impressive birds right up close and personal. This is a white ibis.
Another white ibis.
Juvenile white ibis.
This was sad :-( This poor baby purple gallinule just had a bone hanging where his other leg should be. He was hopping around, but I don't think he will last too long out there.
In happier news, the limpkin are doing well.
Limpkin and a common gallinule hanging out.
Another baby purple gallinule. Check out the size of those feet!
Baby gallinule, showing off his wings which are just starting to get their color.
A limpkin going all derpy.
David took this most excellent shot of a limpkin eating an exotic apple snail.
I was talking in class about how the gallinule's big toes help them walk on top of the lily pads. This was the first time I've gotten a good picture of exactly how that is done.
Lookit them feet!
Also in class, we discuss primary and secondary feathers.
Another shot of the juvenile purple gallinule's wing feathers.
These are exotic apple snail eggs. They are somewhat pretty but a terrible thing as they crowd out the native apple snails (the eggs of which are white.)
A great blue heron.
A young purple gallinule on the bridge begging me to take his picture.
I got a bag of trail mix at the snack table they had for volunteers. The trail mix appeared to be made of M&Ms, peanuts, animal crackers and some pretzel thins. The reason I look unhappy in this picture is because this is the moment that I realized that 1/2 of the M&Ms were in fact Skittles. EWWWWW. Who does that kind of cruel, cruel thing??
After I taught Unscientific Bird ID, I dragged David across town for a few hours to a Steam Punk fest. I picked up some decorations for the hat I am planning to make myself. It was fun, can't wait to have a costume to wear to stuff like this.
After the Steam Punk Fest, we came back to Wings and Wildflowers where we were on the Meet The Experts panel. Here is David waiting for it to start.
Here am I, setting up the table. I have no idea why I look so very grumpy in this picture.
Me and David waiting for Meet the Experts to start.
Sunday morning David and Nancy from FFW led the Red Cockaded Woodpecker trip.  I got this awesome picture of a spider. This was taken with my cell phone!
Me teaching Introduction to Birding.
David, with multiple pairs of binoculars and a camera. What a good little multitasker he is!
This is us in front of a couple of gallinules. I can't put my finger on what is so hilariously bizarre about this picture, but it made me laugh when I downloaded it.
Me in front of a purple gallinule that you can't really see.