Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Had to try to see this smooth-billed ani this morning. These are very rare for Florida, usually found from South America up to the Caribbean. Got lucky, spotting it just seconds out of the car. Had to follow it for a a while to get any decent photos, but it was fun to watch, squawking every time it flew. I didn't have too much time at the park since I still had to work a half day today, but it was long enough to at least see the bird for a while!
Friday, March 10, 2017
Got to stop at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa for about an hour this morning. Found 33 species, which is pretty good for that amount of time. Heard my first baby bird of the year, a great blue heron, although it was too far away and hidden to see. My two clearest photos of the day were of this downy woodpecker and a black-crowned night heron.
I tried to stop for the unusual Harris' Sparrow in Brooksville today. There were many other birders there, but none saw it. I did find many kestrel, killdeer, and a couple of goldfinches.
On the way there I did see some black-bellied whistling ducks (first of the year), blue-winged teal, and hooded mergansers at the Walmart parking lot pond.
Finally, it was back to Bystre Lake for the second time today. Although there still weren't many species, a pair of peregrine falcons showed up and did a mating dance similar to the bald eagle where they grab talons. It was pretty interesting as I had never seen it before.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Aside from all the sandhill cranes, it was so extremely foggy on the lake this morning that I couldn't find too many other birds, but I didn't mind at all because the fog made for some pretty nice photos. I also did some additional editing in photoshop, especially on the first photo!
Saturday, March 4, 2017
Visited Jenkins Creek today to look for the female Brewer's Blackbird, seen by other birders recently, and by me last winter. This is a very unusual bird for Florida (usually found out West), but for some reason, this same female (identified by the white pigment in her eye), keeps returning to this area year after year since 2011. Two years ago I saw her at Bayport, but today she is just a few miles away at Jenkins Creek. No one would ever notice this amazing, and yet drab, bird as she blends with the boat-tailed grackles that are always seen there.