Sunny Hill Restoration Area
Sand Hill Crane
Spotting Sand Hill Cranes and seeing other wading birds and birds of prey, were highlights of my day trip to the wonderful Sunnyhill Restoration Area in Weirsdale, Florida on January 3, 2015. This park is conservation land along the banks of the Oklawaha River and used to be a huge farm years ago.
This was the third time I had visited the park. I really loved seeing a trio of Sand Hill Cranes in the front yard of the one of the park office spaces. I had seen two cranes in the same yard the last time I visited, which was about a month ago. We also spotted a flock of the cranes down the road about two miles but I could not get any pictures as there was no place nearby to park along the highway. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Sand Hill Cranes
Sunny Hill Restoration & Oklawaha River
Sunny Hill Restoration Area
Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret
I saw this Sharp-Shinned Hawk (possibly could also be a Cooper’s Hawk) while driving near my home early in the evening (I have lightened the pictures using editing software so you may easily see the bird). The hawk sat on the top of a street light and then flew over to perch on the decorative railing of the community building. After a moment, the bird spotted something of interest in the leafy branches of a nearby tree and off it flew! I think that there seems to be many birds of prey around this community. A passing acquaintance mentioned seeing a Bald Eagle near a ranch that is between the two developments here.
I have also been frequently hearing owls at night in my backyard. There are also a lot of Turkey Vultures in the skies around the many horse farms here in the general area. So, maybe I will be taking pictures of more raptors and such in the coming months. Who knows? I took these pictures on April 16, 2013 in the development where I now live. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
P.S. I had earlier called this bird a Red-tailed Hawk by mistake. A very kind blog friend at the “Birding Bunch” blog, set me straight. I appreciate it when those who know, help. Many thanks!
A Red-tailed Hawk has been cruising the skies here near the little farm looking for something to fill its belly with. Red-tailed Hawks are pretty common and live in Cumberland County, TN all year-long. These birds of prey are an ivory or cream color with dark reddish-brown splotches and muted rusty-brick colored tail feathers. They have keen eye-sight and a powerful curved bill. They mostly eat rodents, and are useful in keeping rodent populations down. Hawks also eat certain reptiles, small birds, ducks, and coots and bird, duck, and goose eggs.
The resident Crows are not pleased at the prospect of these hawks as new neighbors. they often harass the hawks in flight with nips and swoops and lots of loud “caw-caw-cawing”! The Crows want to keep the food for themselves and have been quite territorial. The small birds and the ducks often have plenty of advance warning when hawks are around. They hear warning calls of those persistent Crows, and sometimes also, the warning honks of the Canada Geese. I took these pictures in my yard on Jan. 28, 2012, and also on Feb. 3, 2012. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photograph. Enjoy!
Bald Eagles, Red Tailed Hawks, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers and more have been here in my yards during the past week. It has been a banner week for bird watching here in beautiful Cumberland County, Tennessee! I took a lot of pictures of song birds, birds of prey, ducks, water birds, and geese! The Canada Geese returned to the lake after a short absence. The Bald Eagle is now cruising the skies over the lake several times each week in search of a tasty bite of fish or coots. The beautiful Northern Cardinals were here on a few days this week and we also saw a small flock of the Pied-Billed Grebes. These Pied-Billed Grebes are small Grebes that are not ducks but are water birds. Grebes eat fish, insects, and small aquatic animals. The Pied-Billed Grebes are quite shy and tend to stay well-away from the shore. The Pied-Billed Grebes often dive to avoid the presence of humans out and about. The Bald Eagle picture was one that I quickly took because I had seen the big bird swoop down to perch. I took its picture and almost immediately, it flew away (camera-shy, I guess).
I also captured pictures of a Red-Bellied Woodpecker and a couple of the American Coots that were up in my yard a few days ago. I so enjoy watching the various animals and birds here. I take many photographs during the week. Our weather had been cold, then cool, and now it has turned very pleasant. I am glad as I now have more opportunities to be outside where all of the great action is! By the way, because there are so many American Coots in my yards, the Hawk has finally caught one of the Coots. I surprised the Hawk while it was on the ground with a freshly caught coot. Just a part of nature. No, I did not choose to photograph that particular happening. Guess that is why the Bald Eagle is around so often now. Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
A Red-Tailed Hawk