During my last visit to Lake Morton in mid-April, I came across a Limpkin nest. Although I’ve photographed tiny Limpkin babies before, this was the first time I’d encountered a family at the nest. It was nestled in the reeds, without clear line of sight for photography, but I sat and watched it for well over half an hour.
There were six babies at this nest. It was late morning and the babies weren’t particularly active. They napped in the branches next to an apple snail shell from breakfast.
Occasionally the babies would get up, walk around, and then plop back down. Limpkin babies remind me a lot of Sandhill Crane colts (except Limpkins are brown, of course). Especially when the babies stretch their wings…
I finally tore myself away, wishing I could return in a day or two when the parents would take the babies for a walk in the nearby grass. It’ll be fun to watch them grow up this summer!
My Painted Buntings have only been gone for a couple of weeks and I already miss them. The photos in this blog post were taken on April 13. I had at least 4, maybe up to 6, males in the yard that afternoon. All the males departed that week, leaving about half a dozen greenies, who stuck around until the end of April. I had one migrant greenie show up for a night on May 2. Now the backyard seems very quiet.
I put out a couple of branches in strategic locations and sat back to enjoy the last moments with these beautiful birds. A greenie was curious and wondered what I was up to.
This year we had a pair of Gray Catbirds in the backyard. They would sit on opposite sides of the yard, calling to each other. “Meow!” “Meow!” It was fun to watch our gray cat’s head turn back and forth as he listened to the calls of his buddies.
The cardinals never mind posing for me on the perches that I place near the feeders. The male repeatedly came and went from the feeder, making me suspect that he was taking food back to a nest of hungry little babies.
The Painted Buntings were obviously gearing up for a long migration flight. They spent more time than usual at the feeders. I’m glad I only have to wait until October, when they will start returning for the winter.
On a Saturday morning in late April, the Birdcast migrant forecast showed a good flow of migrants over Central Florida. I headed to the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive (LAWD), hoping to see some migrant warblers at the Crazy U. If you’re not familiar with LAWD, the Crazy U is a bend in Lust Road towards the beginning of the wildlife drive. There’s a patch of trees that seems to be attractive to the little birds. On this particular morning, I wasn’t disappointed. The trees were hopping with small birds who made a brief visit on their way north.
American Redstarts were flitting all over the place. These small birds move very quickly and are hard to photograph, especially as they dart in and out of the shadows and branches.
Black-and-white Warblers are usually found foraging on the trunks or big branches of trees. They don’t mind hanging out upside-down, like goldfinches. This one paused for a quick moment to look at my camera before continuing his hunt for breakfast.
I’ve only had a handful of opportunities to see Black-throated Blue Warblers. Although I’d seen a male before, I got to see my first female that morning.
An Orchard Oriole made a brief appearance in the treetops. All cameras quickly pointed at him as he stood peering down, wondering what all the fuss was about.
The Palm Warblers that winter in Florida share with us their pale non-breeding feather colors. It’s fun to see them molt into their rich yellow and brown colors as spring advances. All the photographers would focus on this guy, sigh, and say “just a Palm.” Poor little bird, it’s not his fault that everybody already has dozens of pictures of his friends!
Prairie Warblers can be found in Florida pretty easily during the wintertime. This one was just starting to get his springtime plumage. His breeding plumage will be quick striking with the sharp contrast between black and yellow.
Northern Parulas were all over the place. A couple of them paused briefly in the treetops as they hunted for bugs. One seemed to think he was a hummingbird as he hovered to gain access to his prey.
I found at least one male and one female Common Yellowthroat moving with this mixed flock of warblers. One played peek-a-book with me through the tree leaves.
I love the bright colors of the Yellow Warblers. They are one of the easier migrant warblers to find and photograph.
The Blackpoll Warblers are among the last to move through Florida. A couple of females were in the flock this morning.
All in all, it was a great morning to enjoy the sunshine, chat with a few fellow photographers, and challenge myself to photograph as many flitting fliers as possible! :)