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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Lesser Scaup Discovery

Lesser Scaup, 1st winter female

Lesser Scaup, 1st winter female

Lesser Scaup, adult male

Lesser Scaup, first winter female, was in J.N. Ding Darling NWR yesterday. Unusual sighting for there, not unusual to see these birds in SW FL this time of year. Here's what the adult male looks like.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Loggerhead Shrike, fierce hunter!

Loggerhead Shrike

Glossy Ibis

Loggerhead Shrike and Glossy Ibis, recentry at Eagle Lakes Park, Naples, FL. Cool birds. The shrike hunts insects, lizards, small mammals and impales them on thorns or barbed wire then eats them. The beautiful gloss on the ibis is visible in full sun. This is a wading bird that feeds on insects in marshy areas by probing into the mud with its bill. For more on these birds and to ID all the birds of North America see our best-selling field guide, The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

American Flamingo has shown up at Bunche Beach, FL!

American Flamingo

This beautiful bird thrilled birders when it showed up at a beach preserve in FL called Bunche Beach, in Ft. Myers, located near Sanibel, FL. No one knows where it came from. It is not banded so the thought is it is a wild bird, not escaped from captivity. Wild flamingos have been showing up in FL and one was seen at Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel, last summer.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Amazing Bald Eagle Photo!

This amazing photo of 2 Bald Eagles greeting one another in a unison call display took place in my Sanibel, FL backyard. One eagle was sitting in the tree then the other landed next to it and they both tipped their heads up and loudly called together with a loud upward squealing sound, unlike their usual weak chattering calls. These eagles are a mated pair and have nested nearby for probably several years. Such unity expressed in this photo of their pair bond.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Black-crowned Night-Heron coming in for landing!

Black-crowned Night-Heron coming in for a landing. These herons, unlike the ones you usually see are active at night, or in dim light, more rarely during the day. So when the sun goes down watch for them coming out of their daytime sleeping spot and becoming active. Listen for their "wok" calls. They breed across much of the country and winter in coastal areas and parts of the South and West. Always fun to see!

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Yellow-throated Warbler Beauty!

This beautiful Yellow-throated Warbler (Setophaga dominica) was in J.N. Ding Darling NWR yesterday and found a snack of a tasty caterpillar. This warbler breeds in much of the lower 2/3 of the eastern part of the country and winters in FL and parts of the Gulf Coast. There are two subspecies. Setophaga dominica dominica is found from s.e. NJ-s. FL and has variable amounts of yellow in the supraloral area. Setophaga dominica albilora is in the rest of the range and has a usually white supraloral area. So this bird is most likely of the subspecies dominica. Yellow-throated Warblers only winter in very south FL, not usually breed there. So this bird may be a winter visitor, like us! Look for them in your area and if you visit FL in winter! For complete information on the subspecies of birds, see our The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America, a must-have for birders who want to be informed.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Brrr, it can get cold even in FL says this Prairie Warbler!

Prairie Warbler

This Prairie Warbler was foraging at the sunny south edge of a parking lot in the recent cool temps and high winds on Sanibel, FL. It was joined by 2 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and a few other birds.  a Pay attention to what birds do under different weather conditions to gain a better understanding and appreciation of them.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Short-tailed Hawks! So cool!

We've seen two different Short-tailed Hawks in the last several days here on Sanibel, FL. Lucky us! The light morph was over J.N. Ding Darling NWR and we saw the dark morph over the Pond Apple Ponds. Short-tailed Hawk, is a sought-after Florida speciality for birders and not easy to see. This bird breeds primarily in southern and central Florida and a little in southern AZ and south TX. 

The Short-tailed Hawk comes in two morphs, a light morph, shown here, and a dark morph. Dark-morphs are dark below with blackish brown body and wing coverts, paler flight feathers and tail, and dark trailing edge to wings. Short-tailed Hawks mostly soar and may hang in one spot for a time. We almost always see them in flight when we encounter them.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Beautiful Redhead (duck) seen in J.N. Ding Darling NWR, rare for there!

Yesterday we saw this beautiful Redhead, male, at J.N. Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel, FL. This duck is rarely seen at this location. It was feeding with some Blue-winged Teal in the tower pond. Redheads winter across much of the southern half of the country, so look for them in your areas. We were delighted to see this one at Ding!
Happy Birding!

Saturday, January 02, 2016