Go to Top

Summertime Birds in the Backyard

It felt great to get out in the backyard with my camera a few days ago.  The backyard has been very active this summer, more active than usual.  At least two pairs of Northern Cardinals nested nearby – and spent hours chasing each other out of the backyard!  Two pairs of Brown Thrashers nested nearby also, and had a late second clutch.  Often by now the yard is rather empty, with the birds off taking care of themselves (being “real birds”, as my mom likes to say).  But this year, we still have birds.  In the case of the Brown Thrashers, it’s probably because of the mealworms that I offer at the feeders! :)

Juvenile Northern Cardinal

Juvenile Northern Cardinal

Meet one of this year’s juvenile cardinals.  He’s been very adventurous in the backyard, hopping from bush to feeder to find himself food.  I haven’t seen his parents feed him in a quite a while.  He loves to hang out in the big hummingbird bush.  It’s turned out to be a wonderful cover for all the birds, as well as a great nectar plant for the hummingbirds that visit occasionally.

House Finch

House Finch

This House Finch thought he’d sit next to the fake bird on the top of the pole.  We’ve had a family of House Finches in the yard lately, with the juveniles making quite a racket as they beg for food from their parents.  I think they nest in the oak trees around the neighborhood.

Mourning Dove with Juvenile

Mourning Dove with Juvenile

The Mourning Doves have certainly been the most numerous species this summer.  I walk out in the middle of the afternoon and startle 6-8 of them from their napping places in the shade.  In the evening, they fly in to the feeders and throw all the sunflower on the ground.  I liked how this mom brought her juvenile in to the feeder.  He didn’t seem quite sure about the sunflower-throwing business.  He’ll learn!

American Beautyberry

American Beautyberry

The American Beautyberry is starting to ripen now.  The birds love it.  I see everybody coming in to feed – cardinals, mockingbirds, finches, thrashers.  It’s amazing how they only take what they need.  One berry, chewed daintily, and then they are off.  My bushes have lots of berries and will feed them for a long time.  On this particular afternoon, I positioned myself to photograph birds feasting on berries…and alas, they went to other bushes!  Next time…

Scruffy Northern Cardinal

Scruffy Northern Cardinal

Yep, much more photogenic…a bird on a feeder! (haha)  This scruffy looking cardinal is molting.  He enjoyed the safflower seeds from my feeder as he watched me watching him.  Lots of birds are wary of me looking at them through my big lens.  He wasn’t.

Yellow-throated Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler

Yay!  Bow Tie is back!  Bow Tie is the name we gave to our little Yellow-throated Warbler that visits every winter.  His black and white feathers are all fancy like a tuxedo, with a yellow bow tie under his chin.  I was very happy to see him return to the backyard.  He doesn’t often come to my feeders, but I know he’s around because I hear his chip! call note.

Jess Needs to Cut the Grass

Jess Needs to Cut the Grass

One last cardinal shot for my dad (cardinals are his favorite bird).  The little juvie was hopping around in the grass, pulling sunflower seeds that had fallen from the feeders.  He looks pretty happy as he eats his dinner.  He also shows how much I needed to mow the grass!

My Turn with the Terns!

After enjoying the sunrise at Marineland Beach last weekend, I headed over to the tern colony to check for chicks.  But all the fish that came in seemed to be courtship offerings, with no chicks in sight!

A Fishy Offering

A Fishy Offering

It was great to see Michael and Ursula as we sat in the hot sand and watched the birds.  This year the most activity was on the far side of the colony.  We saw lots of birds on nests, and lots of fish being handed off.  I think I photographed four piggy-back rides!

Strutting his Stuff

Strutting his Stuff

This guy was very active at defending his territory.  A second bird kept flying to to offer fish to his mate.  That didn’t go over so well!

You wandered into the wrong territory, little guy

You wandered into the wrong territory, little guy

There was a large chick running around in the back of the colony.  He didn’t seem to belong to any of the adults.  Everywhere he ran, he got chased off by other birds who were defending their nests.  Poor little guy.  It’s not easy being lost on a big beach!

Juvenile Wilson's Plover

Juvenile Wilson’s Plover

A pair of juvenile Wilson’s Plovers ran by my lens.  They were big enough that they almost looked like adults, but their feathers were a little blotchy and they still had white fluff on their heads.

Least Tern in his Habitat

Least Tern in his Habitat

The beach was covered in picturesque sea grasses and flowers.  This bird decided to pose for a portrait.

There was a little too much background in this next shot, so I took it into Topaz Glow and Color Efex and came up with this:

Baby Terns on the Way!

Baby Terns on the Way!

I’m not sure how the birds did after Tropical Storm Colin moved across the state.  I know a lot of the colonies on the west coast of Florida did not fare well.  I hope the terns did better.  I’m looking forward to returning and finding the results of these piggy-back rides!

Summer Sunrise

The early 3:30 wake-up call.

The 2 hour drive in pitch blackness.

The faint color in the sky and the wisp of a cloud in the early dawn.

The cool ocean breeze on my face.

The feel of sand between my toes.

The buzz of bugs on my skin.

The lap of the waves under my feet.

The silhouettes of pelicans over the water.

The gradual awakening of day.

It was so good to be out with my camera!

Summer Sunrise

Break of Dawn

 

 

Summer Sunrise

The Color Intensifies

 

Summer Sunrise

Fire in the Clouds

 

Summer Sunrise

The Sun Appears 

Summer Sunrise

Pathway to Paradise

Frequent readers of my blog will know where I headed next.  Stay tuned! :)