I spotted this small flock of Wild Turkeys in Northwestern Marion County, Florida on February 16, 2015, in a large cattle pasture. The birds were on the move and heading away from the road so it was quite fortunate that I got the pictures. These turkeys primarily eat grains and insects which are abundant in these wide open ranch areas. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
A Bald Eagle, Great Egret, a Sand Hill Crane, a hawk, two Turkey Vultures, and an Osprey were all spotted yesterday during my brief visit to the Paynes Prairie Preserve overlook on highway 441, just South of Gainesville, Florida. I enjoy going there to try and do a bit of bird and critter watching. I did not spot any American Alligators or any snakes. It is very hit and miss what will be seen on any particular day. I did not get good pictures of the Osprey on its nest or the vultures so I decided not to include those shots here.
By the way, most of the time, the critters are spotted a long way off so having a long lens or binoculars is a good idea there. Also be sure to look for the birds of prey on the electric poles across the road as that is often where some may be found. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
I am thrilled to be seeing small songbirds in our trees here on my street once again! Really! It was a long dry spell, likely due to the patrolling hawks. Yesterday I went out late in the morning and saw a Carolina Chickadee, a Tufted Titmouse, and two male Northern Cardinals.
I have been hearing a Red-headed Woodpecker calling, but so far, I have not seen it (nor any mockingbirds). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Here are some of the ducks I have spotted in the last several weeks in Marion County, Florida. I saw all except the Florida Mottled Ducks at Tuscawilla Park in Ocala. The small group of Mottled Ducks was spotted at one of the golf course rainfall retention ponds here in the development where I live. The Musvovies and the Pekins are domestic (farm) ducks but the others are all wild ducks. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photo. Enjoy!
Sand Hill Cranes were spotted en-mass in Gainesville, Florida at the University of Florida’s cattle research lot on Williston Road. There likely were between 50 and 100 Sand Hill Cranes along with a single Whooping Crane where I was there early in February, 2015.
These cranes love the fenced cattle pasture with water tubs and lots of grain and hay to feast on. The cranes fly off to roost in larger trees elsewhere in Gainesville and return to the pasture during the day. I believe these are migratory cranes but there may be some locals in the mix. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Rub-a-dub-dub, Robins in the tub! A large flock of American Robins (members of the Thrush bird family) arrived in my neighborhood on Feb. 21, 2015. These are migratory birds in my neighborhood. I am so glad they are here!
My next door neighbor’s bird bath has been extra-popular with this bunch of Robins. They came in waves to drink and bath in the cool water. Yesterday was a warm day here where I live so the Robins had a lot of fun splashing themselves and the other birds on the rim of the decorative concrete bird bath. I took these pictures both in the morning and the afternoon on Feb. 22, 2015. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
I think having two, and perhaps three, hawks now patrolling the trees here on my street, has a lot to do with my not having seen many songbirds here lately. I saw these two hawks (Likely Red-shouldered Hawks) yesterday in two adjacent trees across the street from my home.
I did see a few Palm Warblers, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, and a cute Tufted Titmouse around the yard here on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2015.
I also am including a picture of a male Red-winged Blackbird that I spotted at a small marsh up across the road from the horse ranch pond where I often go to do bird watching. I saw that Blackbird on Feb. 18, 2015. I do not see Blackbirds here in my yard. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!