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Posts tagged ‘outdoors’

Snowy Egrets & The Little Blue Heron

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Two Snowy Egrets joined the Little Blue Heron at the golf course pond here last evening at twilight.  It seemed like the big wading birds were out fishing for dinner.  The Snowy Egrets are medium-sized wading birds with bright yellow feet, lighter yellow legs, and a touch of yellow above their bill.  They are a bright white in color. The Little Blue Heron is probably the same one that I photographed a few days ago in that same pond.

One side of this pond is along the golf course fairway, and the other side is just off a street here.  This pond usually stays full of water all year around unlike the rainfall retention ponds elsewhere in this development.  I took these pictures last evening at about 6:00PM.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

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A Lone Little Blue Heron

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This adult Little Blue Heron was hunting at the small pond near one of the golf courses here in the development where I live.  This is the same pond where I had seen some juvenile Ibises several days ago.  The Little Blue Heron is a smaller heron.  Juveniles are often white but the adults are a purple blue.  Sometimes, juvenile Little Blue Herons will mix-in with adult American White Ibises or with Snowy Egrets.

The Little Blue Heron wades along mostly fresh water or brackish water shores, and eats frogs, tadpoles, turtles, fish, and a variety of aquatic insects.    I took these pictures early in the evening,  on Sept. 16, 2013.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photo.  Enjoy!

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Guana Wildlife Area

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This is the Guana Wildlife Management Area near St. Augustine, Florida along the Coastal Highway, A-1-A.  There is an education center that I did not go to, and a number of hiking trails through the forested areas.  Most of the area that I could see was the area of the Guana River marshes.  There are apparently Alligators and Manatees there at the marsh but I did not see these while I was there.

I did see a lot of people having big success fishing from the shore near the parking lot.  I also saw a few Snowy Egrets, a lot of Grackles, several Terns and Gulls, and a magnificent Osprey (Friday’s blog post here).  The area is posted with warnings about how Alligators can be dangerous to those wading along the shore.  I did see a couple of younger men standing in the shallow area of the river while fishing, but thankfully for them, no Alligators were around.  I hope to get back to see more of this beautiful large marsh park.  I took these pictures on Sept. 11, 2013.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger pictures.  Enjoy!

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Osprey at the Guana Marsh

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This Osprey was out hunting for a fish or an amphibian or small reptile at the Guana River Wildlife Management Area marsh between Jacksonville Beach and  St. Augustine, Florida.  This is a brackish coastal marsh near the Atlantic Ocean.  The Osprey is a bird of prey that is smaller than an eagle.  Ospreys most often live near bodies of water such as oceans, large rivers, or lakes.  The Osprey is very good at swooping down to the surface of the water to pluck out a fish.

Ospreys build their nest on sturdy larger tree branches that are high up in the tree, at the top of tall stumps of dead trees, or at the tops of man-made poles, and lights. The nests are made of big sticks and are quite large.  I took these pictures on Sept. 11, 2013.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

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An Eastern Towhee

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This Eastern Towhee was perched on the electric line near the ranch area I like to visit where there are a lot of Red-headed Woodpeckers.  The Eastern Towhee is about the size of a Bluebird or Cardinal.  Although Eastern Towhees are good at catching insects,  they will also eat seeds and fruits at times.

The Eastern Towhees are handsome-looking birds with a white breast, rust-colored sides, and black head neck, wings and tail..  They have yellow eyes.  The bird shown in these pictures was likely just pausing to rest a bit and do a little preening (grooming).  I took these pictures at twilight, back on August 19, 2013.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

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Watching Crows

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Common Crows are about the only birds that I see each day here on my street now.  I hear their cawing before I actually see the small group of three or four individuals.  They come and go and move from tree to house and so on all down the block.  They eat insects, fruits, eggs, and various carrion.  We have a lot of water around with the rainfall retention ponds now having many inches of fresh water in them.  Additionally, several neighbors do have bird baths.

Like the vultures, Crows are nature’s clean-up squad.  I do think though, that these handsome and very intelligent birds like fresh foods best.  I took these pictures from my front yard.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.   Enjoy!

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Young American White Ibises

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A flock of American White Ibis juveniles were enjoying the lowered water level of one of the larger rainfall retention ponds here on Wednesday evening.  We were driving past the medium-sized pond and spotted six of the juveniles.  This was the first time I had seen juvenile American White Ibises.  They are brown and white with the distinctive pinkish bill.  The brown coloring disappears as they mature, usually at between 18 and 24 months of age.

These big wading birds eat fish, aquatic snails, frogs, turtles, crayfish, worms, and larger insects.  They seem right at home here in Florida.  I did not see any adult Ibises around so this group is probably in the older range. of juvenile (often called immature).  I took the pictures on August 4, 2013 at about 6:00PM at a pond near one of the golf courses here where I live.  I took the pictures from the roadway while in the car.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

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It’s Another Woodpecker Wednesday!

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A Red-bellied Woodpecker, a Downy Woodpecker, and a Red-headed Woodpecker are the subjects of todays woodpecker extravaganza!  I took these pictures from my front yard (Red-bellied and Downy) and at the area near the front gate of this development (Red-headed) which is within a small pasture on the nearby ranch.

I was especially happy to have seen the little white and black female Downy Woodpecker here.  It was just visiting.  I had seen the Red-bellied Woodpecker here a few times in the last few months.  I am just wild about woodpeckers!  I took these pictures on two days last month.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

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A Wetlands Overlook

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This is the Paynes Prarie State Park, and it is several miles South of Gainesville, Florida,  near a town called Micanopy.  The part of the park where we were, is a fresh-water wetlands.  We had pulled off the highway (not the I-75 freeway which is close-by) to see a park overlook.  This stop was an un-planned, very quick visit.  We went out on a wooden boardwalk over the swampy landscape,  and viewed several Great Egrets, two Little Blue Herons, and one Great Blue Heron.  That Great Blue Heron stood stock-still and almost looked like a statue during the ten or so minutes we were out watching the birds.

The birds were a long way from this boardwalk so it was a good thing I had my long zoom lens!  I also saw a Red-shouldered Hawk perched in an old tree across the highway, and a Turkey Vulture flying overhead.  I have read that this park has quite a lot of wildlife.  This is a park I definitely want to return to.  I took these pictures on August 31, 2013.  Please click on the thumbnail images to see the larger photo.  Enjoy!

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The Great Blue Heron Family

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There are four Great Blue Herons now roosting at the park here.  I have blogged about the herons in this park before,  and thought I’d check in on how they are doing.  I took these pictures of the herons on their rookery or nest, last night at 6:00 (park closes at 7:00).  It is an uncrowded time at the park.

I saw the three herons up in and around the stick nest up on a sturdy branch of a Long-leaf Pine Tree.  The parent bird came and gave some food to the noisy older juveniles and then had to leave.  There was a lot of commotion and noise from the juveniles who were clamoring for more food.  I was amazed to see the parent bird fly over quite close by to where I was at and calmly start to fish a bit in the decorative park pond (no Koi now – just mosquito fish and a few turtles).  So all is well with this family of Great Blue Herons.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.   Enjoy!  Have a safe and very happy holiday weekend!

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