Sunday, February 26, 2017

Courtney Campbell Beach - January 3, 2017

Today, I only had a half day at work, so I was able to go looking for some more birds!  First, stopped at the Courtney Campbell Beach (Clearwater side), and found some adorable Bonoparte's Gulls.  I don't think I have seen so many together before, or up close for so long.  Also, several other species of shorebirds including Wilson's plovers (along with many semipalmated plovers), Horned Grebe, Least sandpipers, and also many lesser scaup ducks out on the Bay.  Large flocks in flight pictured below are mostly dunlin (with one sanderling mixed in).  Also saw my first dolphins of the year too.

Pine Island - January 2, 2017

Several different species of shore birds at pine island today, and a few more species at the pond on the way.  Also got an up close view of another merlin on a power pole, just for a few seconds, before it flew off.  So strange to see them two days in a row.  Now up to 71 species for the year so far!  Best birds today were loon, bufflehead, and norther harrier.

Pictured above are willet, sanderling, loon, red-breasted merganser, kingfisher, bufflehead, dunlin, short-billed dowitcher, and skimmers.

Nature Coast Botanical Garden - January 2, 2017

Decided to stop here briefly on the way to Pine Island to look for more birds today, and I was very glad I did!  There was a barred owl in a tree up close!  I had never seen one at this garden before, and it was a new species for my year-list.  Also got pretty close photos of a red-shouldered hawk in my yard this morning.

Green Key - January 1, 2017

Also went to Green Key park at sunset today, and I got lucky with a merlin up close!  I usually only see about two of those on average per year, and never this close up.  My total for the day was 46 species.  Not bad for one day!

Chassahowitzka WMA - January 1, 2017

The Ebird challenge this month, and this year, is to submit an average of one bird checklist per day.  I think that will be easy, but I have decided that I would also like to see 150 birds in January, 200 by the beginning of June, 210 by the end of June, and 251 by the end of the year (I had 250 life species entered into Ebird as of today--including a few in other states, but also probably missing a few before I started entering them).  The best birders try for 300 in one year, but that is too much for me!

So, that will be a fun new years challenge!  I am also taking more videos this year, hopefully most every time I go out.  Where as I usually just take photos.

Today, I started out the year with Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area. There were a few small pockets of birds, with a goldfinch being the best, followed by yellow-bellied sapsucker.  Only counted 19 species total at the park today.  Also saw a yellow rat snake.  However, oddly enough, I most wanted to see a flicker woodpecker there, and stopping on the way back at Heather Golf Course, actually got my closest photo of one ever!  Pretty good luck!

Collage of the few birds I was able to photograph (from a distance) shows kestrel, downy woodpecker, red-tailed hawk, yellow-rumped warbler, mocking bird, yellow-bellied sapsucker, catbird, palm warbler, and goldfinch

Yellow Rat Snake
Northern Flicker at Healther Golf Course

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Best of 2016

Here is my collection of best shots from 2016.  Additionally, here are the links to Best of 2015, Best of 2014 and Best of 2013.  Enjoy!