Tuesday, January 01, 2019

New Year's Day, with a Royal Touch

What a great start to the year! Even though I went to work, I think I managed to get 46 species so far. I might go outside and see if I can scare up the barred owl that lives behind the house. I'll detail more about that later, first I need to be a little sober and serious. Not all has been well, I did get involved in some shenanigans.
I got out of work a couple hours early, and with wifely blessings went to a local lake where I know Herring Gull has been reported. it's also the sort of place where you can reliable see Caspian and Royal terns. The first Royal tern for this year for me was an injured bird, and this is where the shenanigans begin.
Here it is!

As Seen through my Binoculars
 Poor thing was just laying there on the ground, so I reached out to a local animal rehabilitator and over all cool lady. Despite being out on a call (injured Sandhill Crane in Davenport), she told me to bring the bird by her house where her husband left me a box to put the bird. I dropped it off and eagerly awaited the news for the extent/ cause of injury.
Poor thing has a broken shoulder joint that can't be repaired, so it will be euthanized in the morning at a local vet. These sort of injuries are common with the species and can be caused by hitting something, like a car or another bird.
There was at least one other Royal tern at Lake Parker today, and I saw a Caspian, but this one is a little special you know. I got to hold it, care for it, do it a little good before it returns to the dust from which it came. I'm glad I was there, and it's not feeding a feral cat.
Good Bye Friend
The bird passed away in the night, asleep, warm and as comfortable as we could make it.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Ready, Retooled, Renewed

An Update
The ol' steed got an upgrade, new spokes,  new tubes, and a tune up.
Even better,  I got some birding accessories.
The Scope on the bicycle handlebars is a Roxant, 12-36 X 50, and came to me as a Christmas present from my parents with an attachment that will allow me to take pictures through the scope with my cellphone. Both are available on Amazon, and are relatively inexpensive. The clamp came as an after accessory from my Dad. Quality wise, the setup works for what it is. There's some chromatic issues with the image, but I've seen worse out of more expensive glass. With it, I checked out some little brown jobs that turned out to be some lifer sparrows (Vesper to be exact), so it's pretty much the best Christmas present ever. Now I have a reason to check out some of the ducks on Agricola Rd here in polk county. Terns on buoys at Lake Hollingsworth are no longer a mystery. I took the picture above on a Sunday morning excursion to see the terns. I scoped a couple of Forster's and some Royal's. Didn't get to all the buoys either, will have to work harder next time. Excitement builds as I continue to bird. There's big things planned for next year, and it will take a lot of work to make them all happen.
The Lowdown
I'm ready for next year, it's tomorrow after all. I'm ready to see new birds, and some of the regulars as well. I'm also ready to go new places, more to say about that later.
I'm retooled with necessary gear. It's hard to bird without optics, and this new scope will do the trick for helping me see new things, and document them as well. I also hope to retool and review what I'm using as well.
I'm renewed in my purpose for birding. The world has so many wonderful things to see and understand. I want to share them with my kids, who will add their own perspective, and find their own purpose for enjoying creation, and all the lessons it's here to teach us. I want to share what I'm learning, that there is beauty in odd places. There's so much here to see and do!

Come with me to the future!
Let's go see some birds!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


The birding has been good in August, September, and October so far in Polk county and other places I've been.
We went to a wedding the weekend of August 24th to St Augustine. I woke up early every day and went birding. I saw wave upon wave of Little Blue Herons one morning, and had a generally good time Birding in St Johns County for the first time since starting eBird, indeed, since my college days.
I made my first trip out to the Avon Park Cut Off Rd Sod Fields. There I saw many righteous shorebirds, including a group of White-rumped Sandpipers, and insane numbers of Least Sandpipers.
A trip this last Saturday (Oct 13th) yielded some good birds at Saddle Creek park, including a Yellow-bellied flycatcher I'm trying to confirm. That trip will be worth it's own post.
I'm going to do a big day on the 26th , and am starting a facebook page to track it.
It's an experiment.
Feel free to join me, either at a particular spot or for the whole trip. I'll be leaving early morning, and back to Lakeland by 5pm. Not sure where we will be visiting just yet. There's reports of a Double-toothed Kite in Hernando county though...

Monday, July 09, 2018

Summertime, the Birding is Not So Easy

It's summertime in Polk county. Lakeland is chock-full of Fish Crows and Grackles (Boat-tailed and Common), mostly recent fledgling birds. Some birds are still nesting. I've located a Blue Jay nest, but these are likely second or third efforts. I've seen at least two young Blue Jays in my backyard this month. There's also signs of nesting Mourning Doves in the parking garage at work. These mostly appear to be past efforts, but I'm keeping an eye out.
    Every bird I see now I'll likely see again. That's something that hit me the other day while birding. They're residents, they don't move much. They're old friends. The Red-bellied woodpecker that drums on my fascia, the Cooper's hawk flying around with a protesting group of Blue jays.
Northern Mockingbirds.
Ohhhhh, mista NOMO, give me NO MO' of that midnight singin'.
It's time to pay attention to the details. Find the new birds, not the new species on the list, but the birds that didn't exist before this year, the REAL new birds. I've watched a family of cardinals in my yard raise at least two broods, this year, I'm actually catching the males go from drab to fab. It's an interesting process.
June is gone.
There's likely to be little activity this month. The birds will grow quieter. I might find another Mourning dove nest, I don't know. Today (7/9) I found a Brown Pelican on Lake Morton. That's about as exciting as I can expect right now, unless I manage to find a Yellow-crowned night heron.

I'll watch the littles grow, with gladness.
It's good to know the birds have a future.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Always Be Birding

Most lists I submit to eBird are of short trips I take walking around Downtown Lakeland, while running an errand. This time, I found a Great Egret hunting lizards. This video was 30 seconds after he gulped down a Brown Anole.