Our newest neighbor is a Nanday Parakeet who makes very loud visits to our bird feedersRead More
Painted Bunting photography in my backyard - fun with flight shots! Plus a visiting Gray CatbirdRead More
An afternoon in the backyard bird blind yielded Painted Buntings, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, and my dad's favorite - a Northern CardinalRead More
Peaceful morning of backyard birding photography with my winter guests - the Painted Buntings!Read More
The Hooded Mergansers are back in town and I photographed them on a cloudy December afternoonRead More
Our fall birds are returning to the backyard. Gray Catbirds, Palm Warblers, and Painted Buntings are here to stay. The American Redstarts are just passing through!Read More
Meet the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds who have made our backyard their home since the passage of Hurricane Irma.Read More
Our winter backyard celebrities are coming back! First of fall Painted Bunting seen today :)Read More
Summer backyard birding is fun with a visiting Ruby-throated Hummingbird and growing baby Northern Cardinals and House FinchesRead More
Backyard birding update along with a beautiful rainbow photoRead More
Just a quick post this morning…I'm still going through photos from a very productive long weekend! On Friday I went over to my parents' house. We heard the call of a Great-crested Flycatcher from a neighbor's tree, so I grabbed my camera and went to investigate. He was sitting out in the open, perched nicely on a branch. Great-crested Flycatchers are common in Florida in the summer but I don't …Read More
My Northern Cardinals wish a very special person a very happy birthday today!
Rich cracked me up so hard and I just have to share the joke. Recently I finished editing this image and I took the laptop to him, asking "Can you tell?" His response was priceless. "I don't know if there was a branch, and I don't know if there was a bird!" Such are the joys of Photoshop fun. :)
I started to notice something funny in my backyard...all the birds like to pose on finials!Read More
Fun photos of visitors at our backyard bird feeders - Painted Buntings galore :)Read More
Mourning doves are the backyard birding clownarounds - they always make me laugh with their antics!Read More
Backyard birding is best in early April - Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, warblers, Painted Buntings, a juvenile dove (already!), and a hilarious Brown Thrasher photobomb!Read More
Migrant Blue-gray Gnatcatchers passed through the backyard and posed for my camera. Their song was so different than our Floridian gnatcatchers!Read More
The House Finches are back in the backyard with their bright red colors and cheerful songsRead More
My first of spring Cedar Waxwings have shown up in the backyard, along with more beautiful Painted Buntings and American GoldfinchesRead More
Golden moments in golden light with my goldfinches! Read More
Breaking news from Goldy's window! An Eastern Bluebird visited this morning!Read More
Happiness is… …watching the American Goldfinches turn yellow and play in your flowers :) … seeing the female Indigo Bunting from last weekend - she stuck around! … finally snapping a picture of the elusive Prairie Warbler who has been mocking you for the past three mornings, and as a bonus, getting to hear him sing! … watching the cardinals take a bath in the birdbath that you cleaned for them …Read More
Photos of a migrant hummingbird nectaring on coral honeysuckle. A beautiful Ruby-throated Hummingbird with a gorgeous red throat!Read More
Backyard birding paradise - Painted Buntings and goldfinches! I filled my memory card and exhausted my camera battery. Bonus Indigot Bunting!Read More
Recently I spent a weekend morning in my backyard - rather unusual for me, since mornings are usually when I venture beyond the backyard. It was fun to see my yard in morning light. This is the time of year that I love backyard birding the best. Flowers are blooming, the air is fresh and not too hot, the goldfinches and buntings are getting into their best costumes for spring, …Read More
The joke was on me when I tried to con a bird into perching on pretty flower stalksRead More
Lesser Scaups didn't winter in Winter Garden this year, but a few showed up on their spring migration northRead More
Photographs of the hummingbirds at my mom's backyard feederRead More
I had an especially good morning birding in my backyard last weekend. Painted Buntings, yellow goldfinches, and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in breeding colors!Read More
Goldy and I participated in last weekend's Great Backyard Bird Count. Our yard yielded Painted Buntings, American Robins, and Goldy's finchesRead More
Meet my backyard spoilsport, also known as a Cooper's Hawk!Read More
American Goldfinches brighten up even the nastiest gray morning of backyard birdingRead More
We heard our first-of-fall American Goldfinch, and more Painted Buntings showed up in the backyardRead More
Our visiting hummingbird let me photograph him up close one eveningRead More
The other night I snuck into my blind for a few minutes after I mowed the grass. The little Palm Warblers were quick to hop out and enjoy the bugs that I stirred up with my mower. I think they enlisted themselves to help with the yard service… The mockingbird knows that I've been wanting to photograph birds on the American Beautyberry bush this fall. He knows that I keep …Read More
A morning in my parents' backyard birding paradise yielded Read More
We welcomed back friends as our winter birds return to the yard. Recent arrivals include Gray Catbirds, House Wrens, Painted Buntings, and Palm Warblers.Read More
We were very fortunate that Hurricane Matthew stayed offshore. We got 4 inches of rain and a long, boring day of wind. The cats thought it was great because we brought all the patio furniture inside, giving them ample new places to hide. Gosh they look small out on the empty porch… The doves didn't understand why the bird feeders were gone, either. This dove kept landing on the empty post …Read More
October 1 tends to be a good day in our backyard. Often it's the first day that we start seeing our winter Palm Warblers. (I've been hearing warblers overhead for several weeks, but I've yet to see one.) Sometimes October 1 brings cooler weather. (Haha, not this year.) Sometimes we even see a hummingbird. This year, October 1 brought our first of fall Painted Bunting. Apparently they've been seen across the county for …Read More
Summertime birds have been more active than usual this summer. Lots of birds coming in to feast at the feeders!Read More
Painted bunting greenie bath time: lots of splashing in the dripping water proved enjoyable for both birds and the photographer! :)Read More
So many colorful birds are visiting the feeders and birdbath these days! I love springtime!Read More
A migrant Orchard Oriole made a surprise stopover in my backyard. He was a big fan of my hummingbird plants.Read More
More Painted Bunting images from my backyard bird blind, including a video of their Purple Firespike snack time!Read More
A mixed flock of American Robins and Cedar Waxwings gorged themselves on a berry tree in my parents' backyard. A fun challenge to photograph!Read More
I have to make a confession. I bribed some birds today. I had a few free hours (gasp!) and I decided to do some backyard birding. I confess to waiting to refill the bird feeders until it was prime photography time - after the household chores were done, the camera was outside, and the light was right! But the birds didn't mind my manipulations. They were just happy to see fresh …Read More
My 2015 First of Fall American Goldfinch showed up a bit unexpectedly on November 15. A warm welcome to one of my favorite birds!Read More
I spotted my first male Painted Bunting in the backyard this morning! Let the fall birding begin! He's about two weeks ahead of schedule. Last year I saw my first bunting on October 12, and the year before that on October 11. But this year he's right in time for my grandfather's 90th birthday. :) If you want to attract these beautiful birds to your backyard, put out a feeder …Read More
I found a tiny cardinal fledgling in our backyard in one of my bushes. He let me take a video of him as he fussed for food!Read More
We had two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds visit the yard in late April. They nectared on my salvia and didn't seem to mind my camera clicksRead More
We've had more Painted Buntings at our feeders in the past week or so. They're also fun to photograph!Read More
The Lesser Scaups in my backyard retention pond posed recently for my camera. I had fun trying to catch them in mid-dive.Read More
When the weather is gross, it's time for backyard birding. Goldfinches and Hooded Mergansers and a head shot of a Mourning Dove!Read More
This week's cold fronts brought some winter visitors to my backyard: a White-crowned Sparrow and Hooded MergansersRead More
They're back! We had our first of fall American Goldfinches in the yard this afternoon. Yay!Read More
Photos from my first afternoon in my new backyard bird blind. The House Finches, Doves, and Painted Buntings were cooperative!Read More
I saw my first-of-fall Painted Bunting in the backyard this afternoon!!Read More
You can imagine my surprise when I found THREE fledgling Brown Thrashers in my backyard this weekend. Two of them took a bath together. :)Read More
After years of gardening to attract hummingbirds, I have at least two juvenile Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in my yard this summer! Read More
Our backyard cardinal pair brought us a surprise today - this year's baby cardinal! He's just out of the nest and so cute!Read More
A family of Sandhill Cranes, including two juveniles, showed up to inspect our recent home construction project. Read More
Sadly, I've realized in the past week or two that the American Goldfinches in my backyard have migrated home for the summer. It's always sad to see them go. They are such cheerful little birds and their songs are so sweet. I enjoy hosting them for the winter. The video below was taken back in January when the birds had not yet started to molt into their breeding plumage. In …Read More
Sometimes it's great to go off to exciting places to take pictures of nature. Sometimes it's nice just to stay home and photograph the nature in your own backyard! You never know what you are missing until you spend a few hours curled up in a blind or hidden in some bushes. I know that our wintering Painted Buntings and American Goldfinches will soon be departing, so I spent a …Read More
I finally pulled out my bird blind for the first time this winter. It's a great way to get shots of the birds in my backyard. My blind is basically a big camouflage tent. There's room inside for me, the Beast, my tripod, even a chair. I zip myself in as Rich laughs, then I hang out in my backyard for a few hours. Last spring I got some great …Read More
The Hooded Mergansers continue to hang out at my backyard pond, and I've visited them several times over the past month. They are very skittish birds. I lie down near the pond's edge and use my groundpod to balance the Beast. The birds usually start out on the opposite side of the pond, but after I stay there quiet for a while, the birds relax a bit and start to …Read More
From our backyard to yours…a very Merry Christmas!
Yesterday afternoon I went down to our local retention pond where a flock of Hooded Mergansers can often be found diving. I got lots of funny looks as I walked down our residential street with my big camera and lens, carrying my groundpod. (The only bad thing about the groundpod is that it is incredibly awkward to carry long distances!) I reached the pond, where I counted at least …Read More
Our neighborhood Yellow-throated Warbler is back! We call him Bow Tie because his black and white colors remind me of a tuxedo, and his bright yellow tummy is his bow tie. We've seen him for the past couple of winters. He's one of my regular suet customers, although my first shot of him this year was on my mixed seed feeder. He comes in and eats when the Cardinals and …Read More
We drove by our local retention pond over Thanksgiving break and found that our flock of Hooded Mergansers is back! These diving ducks are such fun to watch and photograph. They are pretty skittish, though, so you have to move carefully or the whole flock will fly off. A cold front was moving through, and the winds were freezing cold, but I ran home, grabbed my camera, and returned to …Read More
Sometimes it's great just to bird in your own backyard. Like on a gray, drizzly morning when you're stuck at home waiting for a workman to show up. This morning I had several Painted Buntings (both males and greenies), a pair of American Goldfinches, a couple of House Finches, and an Eastern Phoebe (an occasional visitor in my yard, although quite common elsewhere). I heard my first-of-fall American Robins fly …Read More
This was a gray icky weekend - why is it that we have bright clear skies during the work week, then cold fronts over the weekends? It's a Florida winter pattern! So the cats and I birded from our house windows this weekend, and the pictures below were taken through the windows in the drizzle. But we had our first of fall goldfinches! I had been thinking that it was …Read More
I saw my first of fall Painted Bunting at my feeder this afternoon! I had just cleaned the feeder and refilled it with fresh millet this morning. My bird stayed for a few minutes, dining on the millet inside my bunting cage. Just as I got to the window with my camera, he flew off. I kept an eye on the feeders for the rest of the afternoon, and I …Read More
Our cats were enchanted by a guest visitor to our front trees last week. A juvenile Downy Woodpecker flew in and tried to find food. You could tell from his behavior that he was a juvie - the poor little guy was wearing himself out, pecking at a live tree, trying to extract sap from it! He hopped from branch to branch to no avail. Finally he found a dead …Read More
Thanks to everyone who notified me today that my website was down. I upgraded the hosting service today, so it took a while for the updates to go live. Hopefully the site will be faster now! The cats and I spent a pleasant hour on the porch this afternoon while I worked on the website. Whiskey and Squirt watched the White Ibis that were feeding in the backyard. It was …Read More
I'm sorry to report that my backyard migrant birds have left. :( Last Tuesday after work I had an hour of free time, so I set up my blind (yes, my actual blind, not my bush hideaway!) I set up a pretty branch perch next to their feeder, trying to get "the pretty shot." Unfortunately, only my piggy birds (Red-Winged Blackbirds) took the hint! Oh well, it was still fun …Read More
I've been enjoying watching the brightly colored birds passing through my yard in the past couple of weeks. I wrote recently about an Indigo Bunting that joined our feeder party, and he inspired me to get out in the backyard so that I could get closer to the birds. I have a blind, but I've also found that if I sit behind bushes or flowers, the birds get used to …Read More
Rich looked out at our bunting feeder tonight and found a new customer at our backyard bird feeder - an Indigo Bunting! He's the first one we've had visit our yard. Rich stopped and said, "What's that!? He's different!" I grabbed my camera and Rich grabbed binoculars and we both said, "Indigo Bunting!" He's a nice male who is almost finished molting into his bright blue breeding plumage. I wonder …Read More
My backyard has been filled with American Goldfinches for the past few weeks. They empty my six-port niger feeder in just a few days, so finally I had to break down and get out the 24-port feeder! They are eating us out of house and home. It's a good thing they are so cute and cheerful. I love their happy little calls as they eat. They are starting their spring …Read More
I glanced out the kitchen window yesterday afternoon to see FIVE male Painted Buntings eating at the feeder together! That's the most I've seen together ever in the yard. Luckily I had the Beast nearby, and luckily my motion of putting the camera in the window didn't scare them away. As I hit the shutter, several greenies came out to play too! (If you don't see the fifth male, look …Read More
Yesterday morning I spent some time birding in my Central Florida backyard, and I found the funniest thing: my Painted Buntings have a sweet tooth! I was observing them at my millet feeder, noting that there seemed to be more "greenies" (females and/or immature males) than there were a few weeks ago. Then I noticed the male Painted Bunting who hopped over to one of my Coral Porterweed plants, selected …Read More
I've had lots of time to enjoy the birds in my own backyard lately. It's a backyard winter wonderland! All the winter migrants are here and the backyard is full of activity. It's great! This weekend I had all these different kinds of birds: American Goldfinch Pine Siskin Painted Bunting Eastern Phoebe American Robin Cedar Waxwing Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Palm Warbler House Finch Northern Cardinal Yellow-throated Warbler Boat-tailed Grackle Red-winged Blackbird …Read More
My favorite wintertime birds are back - the American Goldfinches! I know, you're wondering why my favorite birds are the common goldfinches when I'm so fortunate to have Painted Buntings in my yard each winter. The Painteds are beautiful, and definitely great to have visiting, but they stay so aloof. They call to each other in the bushes and come out only to feed. On the other hand, the goldfinches …Read More
This is my mom's nemesis bird - the hawk that disturbs her little birdies at their feeders! He flew up on top of this phone pole the last time I was there. I grabbed the Beast and hand-held a few shots before he flew off. We knew he was either a Cooper's Hawk or a Sharp-Shinned Hawk, but the two are really similar. There's a pretty good comparison at the …Read More
I love our winter bird visitors! The backyard is so active these days. We have plenty of Palm Warblers that hop through the yard, and I finally saw Bow Tie, our Yellow-Throated Warbler that seems to come back from year to year. He likes to hop up on our window and peck at the glass. Whiskey and Squirt love it!
Our first-of-fall American Goldfinches arrived in the backyard right before Thanksgiving. These cheerful little guys are some of my favorite wintertime birds. Their happy calls that sounds like "Potato Chip!" and "Gold-y!" are such fun. Our cat Goldilocks loves to sit out on the porch and wait for her "Goldyfinches." I went out on Sunday to try to photograph them. They got skittish when they saw the Beast, and only …Read More
My Painted Buntings are getting more active in the backyard. Starting in early October, we'd see a single male at a time. Now we see males and females together, with a high count of two males and a greenie. You can hear them calling to each other from within our viburnum hedges. They are such fun to watch - and every time I see one, I still can't believe that …Read More
Whiskey Loopy was very intent on the window this weekend, and when we investigated, we saw these two little Common Ground Doves preening each other in our front tree. One of these guys was huddled on our porch during the strong winds - I guess our house offered him some shelter. The two together were very sweet. They are very skittish so I photographed them through the window.
Goldilocks and I had a nice morning on the porch. We had breakfast al fresco and saw lots of birds in our backyard. (Goldy also caught a lizard.) The best birds were the returning out-of-town guests. We saw our first Palm Warbler of the fall (the one who comes up to Goldy's window is known as Mr. Warbles). We saw a fussy female Common Yellowthroat. Best of all, I heard …Read More
Sometimes it's good to just stay home and be lazy. Goldy and I were eating breakfast out on the porch when a hummingbird visited our yard! I didn't get a very good look at the hummer, but I think it was a female or juvenile Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. It hovered over my pentas plants that surround the porch, seeming to look straight at me. Then it took off for my nectar-rich …Read More
Our resident backyard cardinal's name is Beaky (since he goes and "beaks" at Carla's window). He's one of our most reliable feeder customers, but lately, he's been branching out and acting like what my mom calls a "real bird." I left some sunflowers to go to seed, and he discovered them. Now he sits on top of the biggest flower and reaches underneath to pluck out seeds. He says it's …Read More
I glanced out the window into our backyard last weekend to see our pair of Common Ground Doves initiating a mating ritual. Rich laughed as they mated and I raced for the camera. By the time I got outside, all I got was a birdie portrait…
I haven't seen a male Painted Bunting in about a week. I checked my blog from last year, and the buntings left around April 15. So I took yesterday's rainy, icky morning opportunity to photograph my little green birds while they are still here. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may…
A few weeks ago, I took this picture of Bow Tie (our favorite little Yellow-throated Warbler) feasting on suet in our front yard. Several times a day he would stop by, and he always attracted our attention with his happy calls (and our cats' attention with his pecks at the window!) But his place seems to have been taken over by the mockingbird, who is getting more territorial as nesting …Read More
The American Goldfinches that are cleaning out my niger feeder on a regular basis are starting to turn yellow! On a recent rainy weekend morning, I sat in my favorite upstairs window ("bird blind") and photographed the little finches. The finches will line up waiting for their turn at the feeder. When they change places, it's amidst much fluttering. On this particular morning, they actually managed to squeeze six finches …Read More
One of our "greenie" backyard Painted Buntings got his name today: Pinocchio! Juvenile male and female Painted Buntings look alike until their first spring, when the males molt into the beautiful red, blue, and green tones that make bird photographers go "oooh!" Pinocchio's transformation has started – you can see tiny bits of blue starting to show around his face, and a general bluish cast to his wings. Hopefully he'll …Read More
I was going through old pictures today and came across this Sandhill Crane. It made me chuckle. Here's looking at you!
A flu bug has kept me home for the past few days, and the cats and I have enjoyed watching out the windows at our backyard birds. This afternoon as it started to drizzle, all the little birdies came out to bathe in the raindrops. The House Finches headed for the birdbath just like they do every time it rains, and the warblers and Painted Buntings splashed in the water …Read More
Our little Yellow-Throated Warbler, known by family and friends as "Bow Tie," appreciated my recent efforts to clean and refill bird feeders. He likes the suet that hangs near our living room window, too. Our cats love it when he comes and taps on the window.
I had to do some minor repairs to the fountain in our front yard. I drained it right before we had freezing temperatures for several nights around Christmas. The poor cardinals are used to coming to the fountain for their nightly drinks and baths, and they found it empty! Mr. C kept coming back to check and make sure the water wasn't there. The freezing weather passed, I finished my …Read More
I feel so lucky to play host to Painted Buntings during the winter. Each time I look out and see them at my feeders I still feel a surge of surprise and delight. We've had at least these three birds for the past couple of months. I see two greenies and a male together fairly often. I recently upgraded their cage a little to make refilling it easier. I also …Read More
When I took yesterday's picture of the Lesser Scaup, a Snowy Egret was fishing down at the pond. He was fun to watch as he hopped around and fished for his dinner. With each hop, he made his way closer to me, until he was almost full frame. Then he got his prize – a nice big fish!
We had a small flock of Lesser Scaups on one of the neighborhood retention ponds for a few weeks in December. I went down one afternoon with The Beast and took some pictures. I got lots of strange looks from the neighbors as I walked back with The Beast!
I love being on vacation! It's been cold and windy in the mornings, which tends to put a damper on early morning photo shoots (well, the wind does, because it keeps the birds from posing. The cold doesn't bother me as much. Stay tuned for more on that!) But the cold mornings turn into nice sunny afternoons, and yesterday I spent the afternoon sitting out in my backyard watching "my" …Read More
After Dyeyo and I went to Merritt Island last week, we stopped by my neighborhood pond where the Hooded Mergansers have been hanging out. We got there around 3 in the afternoon, when the afternoon light was hitting the pond at a great angle. I love how the green trees in the background color the water, sometimes bright green, and sometimes a golden glow. The Hoodies are a pain to …Read More
Dyeyo and I wrapped up a trip to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge yesterday with a walk down to our neighborhood pond, where a small flock of Hooded Mergansers have taken up residence in the past few weeks. Dyeyo enjoyed the opportunity to get so close to the birds. Rich did us the favor of walking around the pond to get the very skittish ducks to move in the direction …Read More
Today I noticed a small flock of Hooded Mergansers in the pond by the back entrance to our subdivision. It was my first opportunity to see Hoodies up close this winter. I went home, got The Beast, and carried it up to the pond. The Hoodies promptly swam away to the other side, so I had Rich walk over to their side and send them back my way. The pond …Read More
We had our first-of-season American Goldfinches in the backyard on Sunday! What a nice surprise. These are my favorite little winter visitors. In our house, we call them "Goldy's finches" or "goldyfinches" after our cat…
With the new standard time hours plus my crazy work schedule, our evening walks happen in the dark, if at all. So it was great this weekend to get out in the "golden hour" of sunset and walk around the neighborhood. Besides the Lesser Scaups from yesterday, we saw our Belted Kingfisher is back. This Great Egret also posed at the pond by the entrance to Pebble Ridge. In order …Read More
As I drool over the reports of Hooded Mergansers arriving throughout Florida, the Least Scaups have arrived back in our neighborhood. So at least we have some ducks on our ponds, even if they aren't cute diving hoodies!
We had a Goldfinch false alarm last week. I thought I saw one on the niger feeder, but it turned out to be a House Finch. I did hear goldfinches at the Circle B Bar Reserve last weekend. I can't wait until they make it to our backyard! They are my favorite little winter birds. In the meantime, here's an image from last year.
Now that it's dark so early, Rich and I see our neighborhood fountain lit up on our walks. It's really pretty, and for weeks I've been thinking that I should go down to the pond at night and do some long exposures. I finally did that over our Thanksgiving break. What was unexpected and really cool was that the neighborhood Sandhill Cranes were also out, and let me photograph them …Read More
I got home from work last week to find four Sandhill Cranes hanging out in my front yard. It was drizzling slightly, and then didn't mind when I grabbed the Beast for some head shots. I like the effect of the rain droplets in the background.
Today's picture is from my husband, who used his iPhone to capture and send me this shot of a House Finch clinging to our stucco-ed column while waiting for his turn at the window feeder. Silly bird! I guess the cats were asleep or those birds would have been scared off rather quickly… :) As for me, 15 hours on my off-Friday was quite a long day! But it means …Read More
I had the Beast outside one afternoon when I noticed both our male and female Painted Buntings hopping into their feeder cage for their dinner. I was hand-holding the Beast, so the video hops around a little. It's such fun to see these pretty birds in my backyard!
The House Finches have been active lately, visiting Goldy's feeder often, much to her delight. Their bright red is pretty at this time of year.
I was pouting on Friday morning because the rain kept me from going to the Circle B Bar Reserve for a sunrise shoot. But if I hadn't stayed home, I wouldn't have seen the TWO male Painted Buntings that visited our yard together! I checked back in my records, and this was the first time we've had two males together. They obligingly posed on the shephard's hook for me. How …Read More
This weekend we had a very special evening in the backyard. All three cats were on the porch with us as we ate dinner. First we saw Baby C, the latest offspring of Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal. We were surprised to see him this late in the year, and the cats were quite entertained by his hopping around at the feeder. (Note: our cats do not go outside!) The cardinal …Read More
It rained for a good part of the morning, then the sun came out briefly in the afternoon, then the clouds built up again. So I ended up staying home, doing yardwork and birding a little in the yard. The cats loved the breeze on the porch. We all enjoyed watching the Palm Warblers flit about the yard. Whiskey goes nuts anytime one comes close to the porch!
I've been working crazy hours, but I did finally have some time this weekend to sit in my backyard and enjoy the sounds of the returning winter birds. I spotted two Painted Buntings, a male and a female! They've been frequenting our feeders all weekend. Woo hoo! I think they might be here to stay. :)
Last year I was thrilled to play host to a small flock of Painted Buntings during the winter months. I've had my millet out for several weeks now, hoping to entice the birds back to my backyard this winter. On Saturday night we saw our first visitor, a bright red male who came to sample the mixed birdseed in the tube feeder right around dusk. I didn't have the camera …Read More
We were excited to see Bow Tie, our neighborhood Yellow-Throated Warbler, high in a palm tree on Saturday. Each winter he comes and hangs out at our feeders. His bright yellow stomach is so cheerful. I call him Bow Tie because his yellow colors contrast with his black-and-white wing feathers, which remind me of a guy's suit. All that's missing is his bow tie! Why are most first-of-fall pictures really …Read More
There are all sorts of reports of migrant warblers across the state on Birdbrains this week. I've been watching the neighborhood for Bow Tie, our Yellow-Throated Warbler that comes to our yard each winter. I'm a little disappointed that I haven't seen him yet. At Wild Birds Unlimited two weeks ago they told me that people were starting to report Painted Buntings. I've had my millet out for a few …Read More
I felt badly for the poor Mourning Doves this afternoon. It rained and rained, and the poor birds just stood there. They didn't even try to find a dry spot.
I had a good time watching this mockingbird in the backyard a few nights ago. He was standing on the roof of the house, doing his little flap-the-wing-to-shadow-the-insects routine. Except there aren't many insects on the roof! Every once in a while, he hopped into the crape myrtle and grabbed one of the seed pods and ate it. The light wasn't great, but I had fun photographing him.
The weather forecast called for rain, so I stayed home this morning. Then of course it didn't rain. Oh well! :-p So I spent the afternoon working in the backyard, planting more hummingbird-attracting plants. As I worked, our neighborhood pair of Common Ground Doves flew into the yard. Usually these guys are very skittish, and it is hard to get a clear picture of them. But today I guess they …Read More
One morning this past weekend, I looked out my window at the sunrise, and I saw a hawk on our neighbor's roof. The hawk's silhouette was beautiful against the orange colors of the sky. I quickly grabbed the camera. As if he knew I was watching, the hawk turned his head towards the sunrise. I had to tweak the Hue and Saturation so that the picture would look like the …Read More
This is a special guest post by our cat Goldilocks. We call Goldy our resident ornithologist. She spends most of her days at our windows, watching outside to see the birds there. When she was younger, a call of "bird bird bird!" from anywhere in the house would bring her running. Now she is training our kitten Whiskey in the beginnings of bird-watching… Now, Whiskey, stop chasing after kitten toys …Read More
Rich and I were eating dinner on our porch when we noticed a hummingbird fly into our yard and nectar on the Mexican sunflowers!!! I did not get the camera fast enough to get a picture. All I saw was the glistening green of his back feathers, so I can't say whether he was male or female. But he was here!!!!!!
I was out on the porch with the cats when we heard the unmistakable sound of a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher. These tiny birds are technically year-round residents of Central Florida, but in the summertime, they tend to be scarce. I've been told that they go to the very tops of pine trees to make their nests and raise their young. It's usually around the end of August before I start hearing …Read More
Whiskey and I found a pair of Eastern Bluebirds on the back road CR 545 on our way home from my parents' last night. The birds were perched on the phone lines. I didn't have my camera with me, so for today's blog post I have a Fracalius-ed image of a bluebird taken at Callaway Gardens last year. I can't wait for our vacation there…the hummers will be plentiful!! :)
The Mourning Doves love this time of year. Very few other birds compete with them to access the birdseed in my feeders! My backyard flower beds are full of tall Mexican sunflowers in bloom right now. You can see some of them in the background of this picture:
Normally I seem to photograph juvenile Cooper's Hawks. The other night we were walking in the neighborhood, and we came across this adult Cooper's. Look at that bright red eye! The lighting was quite uneven, but I like how the light shows the eye so clearly. The hawk looked at me for a split second, then flew off, to the relief of all doves.
It's the time of year when Mallards molt their flight feathers, and become flightless for a few weeks. We've seen far fewer Mallards around for the past week or so. But some are still flying:
We've had a bumper crop of baby mockingbirds in our neighborhood this year, but not as many young cardinals as usual. So we were happy to see this young cardinal feeding at Goldy's window feeder. He didn't mind when I got closer to the window to take his picture.
Goldy and Squirt (and Whiskey!) have been in indoor kitty bird-watching paradise for the last week or so. This juvenile White Ibis has taken up residence in our backyard. He spends hours wandering back and forth across the yard, looking for bugs and things in the rosebeds, and searching for dropped seed under the feeders. (The doves are his new best friends. They drop food for him on a regular …Read More
I've been after a good Swallow-tailed Kite picture all summer. This weekend I was supposed to go to the Hernando County location where the kites are feeding on a field overrun with grasshoppers. But that opportunity didn't work out, and I was a little disappointed. Then I was working in the backyard this afternoon, doing weeding and dripping with sweat, when I looked up and saw a Swallow-tailed Kite dipping …Read More
Rich and I don't usually walk down by the lake during our walks, but we did a few days ago. This Loggerhead Shrike was posed in sweet afternoon light. I like the soft blue of the lake as his backdrop.
It was well past sunset a few nights ago when Rich and I came across this little family of Mourning Doves down the street. The parents were feeding their baby, who looked like a recent fledgling. The baby was fun to watch as he flapped his wings and stuck his beak up Mom's throat. After watching wading birds at rookeries this spring, it was a little different to see how …Read More
A few nights ago on our walk around the golf course, we came across two Sandhill Cranes lying down near the pond. I guess they went to bed early that night! They didn't mind as I walked across the golf course to get their picture. One just looked up at me as if to say, "you don't really want me to move, do you?"
We were eating dinner on the porch last night when we spotted a Northern Bobwhite crossing the backyard. His head stuck out over the tall grasses. I dropped everything and ran for the camera — this was only the third time that I've seen a bobwhite in the yard. He let me get fairly close without seeming too concerned, but he wouldn't come out into the open to let me …Read More
We haven't been able to walk much lately because of the rains. I'm curious if the Black-necked Stilts are still hanging around the pond in the back of Spinnaker Cove. They seem to be around at twilight and they don't let me get very close…two factors that work against my camera!
It's fun to watch the little House Finch juveniles as they learn how to live. They usually travel with Papa, and their chirping begs for food can be heard across the neighborhood. Here, Daddy took a well-deserved break from his little ones to get some food himself.
Rich went for a walk without me the other night, and wouldn't you know that he found a baby mockingbird at the base of a tree, posing beautifully in the setting sun? I was proud of him — he took out his iPhone and took a picture of it! (Probably just to rub in what I missed, hehe). So here's his image for all to enjoy… We've returned to the …Read More
These Mallards were definitely having a "bad feather day." The wind was blowing down by the pond! Now cross your fingers that we get some rain…
The House Finches have been showing up at our feeders with their recently fledged little ones. The babies are so cute to watch as they flap their wings to beg for food. Their sweet little chatter is fun to listen to. I wish I could find one of their nests…
The Mallard babies at the Stoneybrook ponds are almost as big as their parents. So we were surprised to see two tiny chicks the other night. They are so cute when they are little! I'm constantly amazed at how baby ducks look so different than their parents. Unfortunately, we went back the next night, and we only found one little Mallard. We named him Chico. He's fun to watch — …Read More
I posted recently about the poor mockingbird in our neighborhood who is missing a tail. We continue to see him regularly-usually on his favorite stop sign-and he continues without his tail. Hopefully it will grow back soon. I told him all about the Snow Bunting that came to visit Palm Coast this winter, and how he grew his tail back. In the meantime, Rich and I have nicknamed this guy …Read More
We finally met our new little Loggerhead Shrikes. I've been watching the adults for a while, and I figured we'd see the babies any day. This guy was hanging out in a palm tree at the Town Commons/Tour Point intersection. You can tell he's a juvenile because of the orangey edge to his beak. I think it's left over from when he was a tiny fluffball in his nest, when …Read More
Rich and I were walking by Black Lake last week when we noticed this Mallard. He's missing part of the top of his beak. Poor thing. It must be hard to go through life as a duck with the top part of your beak missing. This guy and his friend were under the same tree (in the same shade!) every time we walked there in the past few weeks.
It's getting to be the time of year that we saw fledgling Loggerhead Shrikes under the weeping willows last year. We've been seeing the shrike parents sitting in their usual spots, but no little guys yet. Where are your kids, Shrek the Shrike?
The Mallards are the only dependable birds on our walks these days. There's one with a bright green head that appears to be the father of the juveniles at the Pebble Ridge pond. He's pretty.
…and they aren't the only ones! Happy birthday, Dyeyo D!! Believe it or not, these are the Mallard babies that I photographed as tiny chicks just a few short weeks ago…
The Brown Thrashers were active on the golf course tonight, hunting for their dinner. This guy got a bug!
We came across a young Brown Thasher tonight. He was out for a walk with his parents. He's almost as big as they are, but his pale blue eye clearly sets him apart as a juvenile.
There's a mockingbird that hangs out at the entrance to Fox Hunt a lot these days. He has no tail! We wondered if he lost it in a fight with one of the crows or other big birds (hint: if you see a tiny bird flying after a big bird and fussing, it's likely that the little bird is a mockingbird!) This little guy seems to have balance issues when …Read More
An incredibly tame dove found the extra birdseed under my seed cake feeder tonight. I wonder if she's the baby dove that we saw a few weeks ago in a nest at Ian's house? I know Mourning Doves are common, but this bird intrigued me. She let me crouch down and use my 70-200mm lens to get eye-level shots of her. I wish the rain lily hadn't been in the …Read More
A couple of Common Ground Doves have been visiting the yard lately. They miss my grapefruit tree just like I do. At first I thought they were fledgling Mourning Doves, but then I saw their orange beaks. These are Common Ground Doves! They are pretty skittish, but I finally got a picture. ?
There seem to be a bunch of active Brown Thrashers in the neighborhood right now. We have at least one, maybe more, that come to our birdbath regularly. The mulch in all my flower beds is re-arranged daily for me as they thrash it around, looking for worms. Tonight there were several down by the pond, posing in the sunset light. I wasn't quite on the right angle but I …Read More
There is usually a Black-Necked Stilt at the pond behind Lakehurst these nights. Sometimes there are two, but more often one. I wonder if there's a nest nearby?? I'd love to have babies close by!
We came across two Mourning Doves on our walk tonight. One was bigger, seemed wary of us, and flew off as we approached ("look out below!!") The other was smaller, and he sat watching as I squatted down to take his picture. I wonder if he's a relatively young dove. He wasn't bothered by our presence at all. I know these birds are common, but they are pretty in their …Read More
The backyard was alive tonight with calls of the mockingbird fledglings. It's fun to see them come out of the hedge and learn to feed themselves. They remain quite fussy, and when this guy saw his mom fly by, he was sure was going to get a snack. He pouted when he didn't!
On our walk tonight, a girl showed us a tiny baby mockingbird that she had found on the ground. It had fallen from its nest. While I was happy to have an opportunity to photograph such a young bird, I wish it had been under better circumstances. The baby mockingbird in our backyard is still fussing — a lot! I was able to photograph him for three days in a …Read More
I spent some time in the backyard this afternoon, removing spent winter flowers and transplanting roses to prepare beds for spring. It was very sad — I shovel-pruned several rose bushes, including 'Nancy Reagan', 'First Prize', and 'Pope John Paul II' (which had nothing to do with his beautification today!) These roses don't seem well suited to the humidity of Florida. They were some of my favorite roses to photograph, …Read More
We saw the baby Mallards at the pond tonight. They were all grouped together in the middle of the pond. Mama landed on the other side of the pond, causing these guys to start calling to her and swimming in her direction. I guess they are getting big enough that she's not with them all the time now. Watching them swim in their little huddled group, it's clear that they …Read More
Ian introduced us to our newest neighbor tonight. The Mourning Dove nest at Kathy and Sean's has hatched and there is a small baby on the nest. Rich and I wonder how the mother manages to come and go from the nest to bring it food, without knocking the poor little guy out of the nest! Mourning Doves are not exactly known for their agility. I wonder how long it …Read More
This weekend I spent some quality time at my favorite bird blind, my back window. I had fun watching the birds hopping around the backyard in the evening. I've been letting the wild grasses and weeds grow a bit in the rosebeds, because the Painted Buntings clearly enjoyed them. Apparently they also promote good bugs, which the mockingbirds and cardinals were happy to gobble down…
Rich and I ate dinner on the porch tonight with Squirt. The backyard was very active, pairs of Northern Cardinals, Northern Mockingbirds, and Brown Thrashers hunting for worms and bugs. We watched one mockingbird in particular as he grabbed worm after worm, then carried it repeatedly to the same spot in the viburnum. Each time he went into the viburnum, I heard high-pitched calls, so I figured there was a …Read More
We haven't seen the Mallard babies at either pond for a few days now. :( But this adult obligingly flew right in front of me the other day!
We found a new family of ducks by the pond tonight. At least, I think they are another family. The babies seem smaller than the ones that I found last week. These guys launched into the water and followed Mama off into the sunset… There were two Loggerhead Shrikes in the usual weeping willow tree. We call them Shrek and Fiona (Shrek the Shrike, try saying that five times fast!) …Read More
The windy weather forecast kept me at home this morning. So Rich and the cats and I had a lazy morning. It can be nice to stay at home and enjoy your backyard birds, too! I'm pretty sure there is a Brown Thrasher nest in the backyard. I've been seeing Brown Thrashers in the yard regularly for the last two weeks, always near the back rose bed. Last week I …Read More
We continue to play host to a little group of Painted Buntings in the backyard. They've been here since December, and it's going to be sad when they leave! We haven't seen a male in a few nights, but we usually see between three and six "greenies" in the evenings. "Bunting hour" tends to be between 5:30 and 7 in the evening. Several of our "greenies" are little boys. They …Read More
We came across a Killdeer on our walk this evening. We hear them around the neighborhood every day, but this guy was unusual because he was pretty close to the sidewalk. He didn't mind much when I got closer, either. I've missed seeing these guys at the Circle B Bar Reserve in the recent weeks.
I enjoyed having my zoom lens along on our walk this evening. The light of the sunset reflected on the water of the Pebble Ridge pond, creating awesome ripples of color. Then Rich pointed out the Wood Stork about to fly in just over the pond! Score! The sunset was beautiful. I zoomed all the way back to 70mm (which feels really wide after The Beast!) and aimed at the …Read More
There was an adult Bald Eagle down by Black Lake a few nights ago when we walked. We walked right past him, then I pulled Rich back and said "look!" Some neighbors were a little suspicious of my camera and wondered what in the world I was up to. They hadn't seen the eagle either, hehe. I wished the light was a little better. Maybe on our next walk! Kathy …Read More
There have been around 10 Wood Storks hanging around Stoneybrook West for the past week or so. I've photographed them in varying lights, which will illustrate the "Goldilocks" photography principle (posted today in honor of Goldy's 9th birthday!) The first time I saw the storks, it was the middle of the afternoon. The light was really harsh and the whites look awful. Goldy says "too bright". The next time I …Read More
I was feeling tired this morning, so I slept in instead of heading to Fort DeSoto to watch for migrant birds. As much as I wanted to photograph Indigo Buntings, I wasn't too sorry that I stayed home. Rich and I were driving down Stoneybrook West Parkway when I noticed an adult Bald Eagle and what appeared to be a juvenile Bald Eagle sitting in the pine trees by Whispering …Read More
We were walking by the Pebble Ridge pond last night when we came across a nice surprise: a cute little family of Mallards! The protective parents watched over the flock of energetic little babies. So tonight I went back with The Beast. The little family was right up in the grass near the sidewalk (how convenient!) I moved so that the sun was as far behind me as possible, then …Read More
The male Painted Bunting has been coming to our backyard regularly for the past few days. We see him around 6:00 each evening — his clock is almost as regular as Goldy's!! I've tried to go out and get better pictures of him, but he's very skittish. He tolerates me standing on the back stoop, but I'm not allowed to venture out into the grass. The little green birds are …Read More
I'm getting way behind in posting backyard spring pictures! So here's a nice collection of the birdie goings-on around Stoneybrook West… We have a pair of Brown Thrashers who have been making an appearance each afternoon in my back rose bed. They are quite regular. I wonder if they may have a nest in our viburnum? I had thought that I would trim it after the Painted Buntings leave, but …Read More
I love how the days are longer and I can take my camera with me on our evening walks! Tonight we heard high-pitched calls, then looked up to see our first small flock of Cedar Waxwings. Normally we've seen dozens of these birds by this point in the season. This year, for some reason, we haven't seen them at all (till tonight). It's not a great picture, but at this …Read More
The Painted Buntings held a little party in the backyard tonight. Previously I've only seen four little green birds together. Tonight there were five, joined by the first male bird we've seen in about a month! It was such fun to watch them hopping around the yard, sampling millet at the feeder and enjoying the clover and wild grasses that I've let grow for them. The male stayed under the …Read More
Rich spotted our neighborhood Sandhill Cranes by the Lakehurst pond — with a baby! He's a pretty big baby already, almost half as tall as his parents already. He's starting to get his flight feathers, although he still has some of that adorable baby fuzz to him.
We had a Brown Thrasher in our backyard this afternoon. I think it may be the first time I've seen one in our yard. I got a few quick shots before he flew off.
We saw several Purple Martins near Black Lake on our walk tonight! It's the first time I've seen Purple Martins around our neighborhood. I had fun trying to take flight shots, although the light was fading and my results aren't great. But they are proof that we have martins around! It's tempting to set up a Purple Martin house…
Rich likes to tease me about the JSW, the "Jess Standard Walk," which always includes a walk past the Pebble Ridge pond. A Tricolored Heron has been hanging out there a lot in the last few weeks. We also see him by the pond at the back of Spinnaker Cove. Rich caught a glimpse of our neighborhood Sandhill Cranes with their baby yesterday!
It's that time of year again! Everywhere we go in Stoneybrook West, we see mockingbirds hopping around. It's fun to watch the mating rituals — it's like birdie hokey-pokey. One hops to the left, the other hops to the right, they have this great little dance. Now do the hokey pokey and let the nesting begin!
We were walking near the back side of Pebble Ridge tonight when we came across Mrs. Beaky attacking the passenger side mirror on a car. My camera attracted the attention of several neighbors, who all came out to laugh at this silly bird. I wish I could explain to her that the mirror image is not a threat to her! She spends so much energy fighting with herself. I'm afraid …Read More
Mum-mum says that her warblers haven't been around much in the last few weeks. Ours are still quite active, hopping around and chipping to each other in the treetops, especially in the late afternoons. I love how I can take my camera on our evening walks again! Yay for Daylight Savings Time!
We saw Mrs. C. in the backyard today, and it looked as if she was starting to build a nest in the grapefruit tree! I watched her take several twigs up to the same place in the tree. She then went over to the flowerbed and started picking up other nesting material. I got the camera and tried to photograph her nest-building activities, but she left. After a while I …Read More
Here's a green bird for St. Patrick's Day! We have at least four green Painted Buntings that continue in our yard! I still can't tell if they are females or juveniles. But I keep having to refill the bunting feeder! They love the viburnum hedges. You can see them flitting in and out of the hedges all day long.
I found a Bald Eagle's nest near our house. It's in the pine trees near the Walgreens at the Stoneybrook West / Marsh Road intersection. But when I went over with The Beast, I didn't see anybody at home. It's marked as an active nest for 2011 on Eagle Nest Finder…
Daylight Savings Time is finally here! I love how I can now see the sunshine in the afternoon after work. I can start taking my camera on our walks again. Woo hoo!
The goldfinches this weekend weren't thrilled with this Turkey Vulture flying overhead. Every time the vulture swooped down, the goldfinches spooked and flew off.
I spent some time this weekend at my favorite blind — my guest room! I sit at the open window and aim the camera at the goldfinch feeder below. Since there are usual more hungry goldfinches than available ports, they line up to wait in the crape myrtle, giving me nice opportunities to photograph them. This photo really says "spring" to me, with the bright yellow colors starting to emerge …Read More
If you think the answer is six, then you might not understand the complexity of goldfinch feeding activity… :) Hey, Rich, I think we need more niger seed!
The weather kept me at home this morning, so I went outside to do some springtime gardening and sprinkler repairs. Being outside with our Painted Buntings was a lot of fun. I watched them diving into the viburnum hedge and the grapefruit tree, then hopping out onto the feeder to eat. The House Finches also figured out how to get into that feeder. I think the little birds enjoy having …Read More
We had a very tired Brown-Headed Cowbird hanging out under the feeders this afternoon. He just sat there snoozing as the other birds vied for the bird feeder ports above him. Goldy enjoyed watching!
These cardinals are too much! Beaky earned his name by "beaking" at the Smith window. Carla and Peter and Aaron learned to tolerate him. Then Mrs. Beaky picked up the habit. We caught a video of her as she repeatedly flew at the front room window and then retreated to the palm tree. Silly bird!
The Sandhill Cranes have been more active in our neighborhood in the last week or so. We've also started to see the pair at work regularly. Nesting season is a-coming!
The azaleas have started to bloom in our yard! I also saw my first American Robin to actually land and say hello in the neighborhood. I see flocks flying overhead almost every night, but they haven't been landing this year. We haven't seen our first Cedar Waxwing yet, either. :(
It's Friday! Here's a goldfinch to brighten your day. :)
There have been quite a few juvenile Red-Winged Blackbirds moving through the yard in the past week. You can tell they are juveniles because they are black, but they still have remnants of their striped juvenal colors. They haven't yet developed that pretty red patch on the wing. This bird was hogging my seed cake feeder!
We saw our first-of-season Brown Thrasher pair on our walk around Stoneybrook earlier this week. Spring is in the air! We've been seeing flocks of American Robins flying overhead, but I've yet to see the first bird land. I've also yet to see a Cedar Waxwing.
Our cat Goldy loves to watch birds through the windows. We both enjoyed these antics from our American Goldfinches. How many birds can fight over one feeder port?
We haven't had many big flocks of blackbirds-Red-Wing Blackbirds, Brown-Headed Cowbirds, Common and Boat-Tailed Grackles-this winter. So it was kind of fun to look out and see a bunch of them congregated in the trees, waiting for their turn at the feeder. Feed us! Feed us! Where's mine?
I've had some questions about the little cage shown in my Painted Bunting pictures. It's a wire cage from Wild Birds Unlimited (on loan from my mom, thanks again!) The buntings are so small that they fly right through it. Bigger birds can't go through it, so they leave the buntings alone (mostly). In my case, the feeder is also in the middle of my yard, so I have a …Read More
This afternoon Rich and I were thrilled to see a male Painted Bunting at our front feeder when we got home from work. Though the green birds have acclimated to the new feeder in the back, the male seems to prefer the shelter of our trees in the front. The male doesn't come as often as the females, either. It's been a week and a half since I've seen him. …Read More
It was 6:30 tonight when we went for our walk, and there was still light outside! It's just a few more weeks until Daylight Savings Time starts again! This White Ibis was hanging out on the golf course. There was a single juvenile bird in the flock, and I tried to photograph him. But something startled the birds and they all flew away. :-p
I was happy to see a single male Hooded Merganser at the retention pond by the back Stoneybrook West entrance a few days ago. I know Hoodies are common birds, but they are such fun to watch diving, and they are quite pretty.
For the past two years, Carla and Peter have been annoyed by our neighborhood cardinal "Beaky" as he comes and taps on their windows. They have tried fake snakes, window screens, suncatchers, wind chimes, everything…and the silly bird won't quit! We had hoped that Beaky would stop this activity last spring after he met Mrs. Beaky and raised a brood of babies. Nope. Now Mrs. Beaky has joined him in …Read More
The goldfinches have been quite active in our yard this winter. This weekend it rained a lot, and I didn’t want to refill the feeders and let the seed get soggy in the rain. So the poor goldfinches were left to argue amongst themselves over who got to eat at the two available ports. I set up The Beast halfway across the yard and set my 7D to its 8 …Read More
Unable to go to Circle B this morning because of the thick fog, I decided to start the spring rose prune at home. It's been a while since I've spent the morning working in the yard. It was nice to see "my" birds for a change! The Painted Buntings were around all day. I saw three green birds at the new bunting feeder in the backyard. I was worried that …Read More
Rich and I took a walk this weekend and saw this White Ibis flying overhead. I've been trying for good flight shots of these guys. I really like their bright white plumage and black wing tips.
The Painted Buntings continue to visit our front feeder on a daily basis. This weekend we had a record number of three green buntings visiting at the same time. Look carefully at the picture below and you'll see two birds on the feeder and one on the branch in the background. The male birds do not come as often as the females, and the males usually come alone. I estimate …Read More
On Saturday I was driving back from Circle B when I saw these Eastern Bluebirds on CR 545 outside Winter Garden. I did a double-take, then quickly turned around and pulled over. I've never seen bluebirds around our house before! Ironically, I saw these near "Red Bird Road" (haha). I think it is a male/female pair. How cool!
I've been noticing small groups of Double-Crested Cormorants starting to hang around the golf course when we come home in the evenings. They hadn't been around so much during the wintertime. This one was content — he had a fish!
I recently attended a great talk on wintering hummingbirds, presented by Fred Bassett at the Lake Region Audubon society. Fred spoke about the numerous hummingbirds that stick around Central Florida during the winter. He catches hummers to band them and study their migratory habits. He has seen the same Ruby-Throated Hummingbird in Lakeland for seven consecutive years! Fred is a great speaker and he had a beautiful collection of photographs …Read More
The rains kept me inside tonight, hoping that our backyard birds had found dry and safe places to weather the storm. So I'll post a picture I took this weekend. A bunch of gulls flew over the backyard, and to practice flight shots with the Beast, I aimed and shot. I laughed when I realized what I had taken — one of the gulls had his mouth full with a …Read More
We had a new visitor to our backyard this evening — a Prairie Warbler! I went out to set up the new Painted Bunting feeder, and this little guy greeted me from the top of our viburnum hedge. He obligingly hung around while I ran inside to get the Beast, then re-appeared at the top of a crape myrtle so that I could snap his picture. I'm finding that it …Read More
It's hard to be a bird when the winter fronts come through. First it rains and rains, and it's hard for the birds to find a nice warm dry place to stay. Then the winds come, and the birds get blown around. It's hard to eat at bird feeders when the feeders are swinging in 30mph gusts! This video was taken from my favorite "bird blind", also known as the …Read More
Our little Yellow-Throated Warbler, known better as "Bow Tie", has been quite active lately. He appears at our front feeders several times a day, and he's known to come "beaking" with Beaky on our front window. This weekend I noticed that he has taken to our suet feeder, too.
It rained almost all day today. The birds didn't like it and neither did I! Although we certainly can use the rain in this drought. But why can't it rain during the week when I'm stuck in a cubicle without windows? :-p We didn't have many birds today (but we did have at least one Painted Bunting sighting!) This picture was taken a week or so ago, after I broke …Read More
We have a small group of Painted Buntings who have been visiting our feeders for about a month now. I've been reporting them to the Painted Bunting Observation Team (PBOT) at paintedbuntings.org, a team that has been studying the expanding range of these beautiful birds. We feel so lucky to have them in our yard. These pictures are taken from my dining room, through the window out to their favorite …Read More
Our temperatures dipped into the low 30s again this morning, and the birds liked it even less than I did. All I can do is fill the feeders and offer them the shelter of our bushes. These doves accepted! This dove was in Carla and Peter's oak tree. He blended in so well that I almost walked past him. Then I went back to get the "camouflage" shot.
We had some Ring-Billed Gulls over the Pebble Ridge pond this evening. I liked this juxtaposition, with the smaller duck in the background.
There seem to be more Northern Mockingbirds than usual in our neighborhood. They like to pose on tops of bushes, where they blend in pretty well. It's just the annoying woman who carries what Rich calls the "bird deterrent device" (a.k.a. my camera!) who seems to spook the birds into flight. :)
I keep hearing and seeing flocks of American Robins at Circle B, and today I heard them flying over our house, too. It seems like the birds fly very high in the fall, so you don't really see them and you're lucky to hear them. In the springtime they seem to come down a little closer, and then finally flocks will cover our oak tree and spread berries all over …Read More
The little Palm Warblers are abundant hoppers on the sidewalks these days. They aren't too afraid of people, either. I knelt down to get a nice background, and then got this full-frame shot.
The goldfinches are eating us out of house and home this winter! I'm having to refill the niger feeder every couple of days. The birds line up in the crape myrtle in order to wait for a free port at the feeder. I went out with The Beast and tried to capture some videos of the goldfinches fussing as they changed places at the feeder. They of course stopped fussing …Read More
It was a nasty overcast morning and I was a little disappointed not to be out birding…until the birdie party came to me! Rich and I have been observing Painted Buntings at our feeders all throughout our Christmas break, but only one bird at a time. This morning I looked out and saw two little green birds at the feeder!! One bird sat quietly at the feeder and ate. The …Read More
We were driving around the block at Stoneybrook West this afternoon when suddenly I let out a yelp, "Rich! Those are Hoodies on that pond!" My very patient husband agreed to go back to the house, grab The Beast, and do several more pond drive-bys. The neighbors must have thought that the lady with the big lens was a little crazy, but I waited for the happy, diving Hoodies to …Read More
Today a male Painted Bunting came to the feeder!!! We didn't see the female, but the male stayed for a while and ate. He seemed pretty skittish. Now I'm spoiled…and I want to see a male and female together…and for them to bring their friends!
Rich gave me the most awesome lens ever for Christmas! The weather has been gross (cold front = cold + wind) and so I haven't been out to Circle B with the lens yet. But here are a few pictures from around the house… Every time I get a new lens or piece of camera equipment, my first subject of my first picture is my cat Goldilocks. We've had this …Read More
On the first day of Christmas, Nature gave to me…a Painted Bunting in our front tree! This the fourth day we've observed her at our feeder. I wonder if she was coming before that, and we just weren't home to see. She's pretty regular in her schedule, usually coming to eat around 4-5 in the afternoon.
We spotted a female Painted Bunting at a tube feeder in our front yard this afternoon around 5pm. It may be the same bird as we saw two days ago. Painted Buntings are fairly rare winter visitors in Florida and it's really exciting to see one in our own yard! Maybe she will bring her boyfriend next time…the male Painted Bunting is one of the most brilliantly colored birds in …Read More
This afternoon we had a Painted Bunting in our yard! I was up taking pictures of Bow Tie, our Yellow-throated Warbler. I blinked, and suddenly Bow Tie jumped off the feeder and a female Painted Bunting jumped on! She sat there for a few seconds and let me snap a few pictures before flying off. This is the second time we've seen a Painted Bunting in our yard. In April …Read More
Another cold front passed through today, making our first day of Christmas break a very rainy one. We were cooped up inside all morning, then finally I couldn't take it anymore and we went for a walk between showers. It was an unusually active walk (or maybe I'm already used to our Standard Time nighttime walks with no birds!) We saw Bow Tie (our neighborhood Yellow-throated Warbler), an Eastern Phoebe, …Read More
Shrek the Shrike had no idea why I was standing underneath him with a big white lens aimed at him…
Mum-mum has been wondering what the differences are between Palm Warblers and Yellow-Rumped Warblers. Here they are, side by side…
Tonight on our walk we noticed that one of the neighborhood ponds has more than just Mallards in it now. A flock of Lesser Scaups is hanging out there as well. You know they are Lesser Scaups instead of Greater Scaups because of the slight bump on the back of their heads. The black ones are the males and the brown ones are the females.
We saw these Mallards by the pond on our walk tonight. But perhaps more exciting was the Bobcat we saw crossing Stoneybrook West Parkway this afternoon! Actually it almost became very exciting, and not in a good way, because the stupid cat ran right out in front of our car. Rich hit the brakes and the cat made it across the street safely. So is this an omen that Dyeyo …Read More
Goldilocks was pleased to eat lunch outside this afternoon and see at least eight Goldyfinches in her yard. A couple pecked at the niger feeder seeds, but most ate at the black oil sunflower feeder. It's nice to have their cheerful little calls back in the neighborhood!
The Red-Winged Blackbirds are almost a nuisance. They descend upon the yard in huge flocks, cleaning out the feeders in just a few minutes. They fuss at the other birds and make the little birds leave. Yet when they return in the fall, I always get excited, because it's such fun to have birds in the yard again. Today we had a small group of about 20 of them in …Read More
Rich saw the first American Goldfinch of the season in our backyard last weekend. Today we got home early enough that it wasn't dark, and I got to see him. Yay! The "Potato chip!" birdies are back!
The pond tonight was bright orange with the reflection of the setting sun. Two Pied-Billed Grebes made for nice silhouettes.
…put those seat backs up and the tray tables in the locked position! It's landing time!
To get to the acorns on the other side!! Then they flew off into the setting sun…
Tonight we saw this Loggerhead Shrike on our walk through the neighborhood. I don't think I could have asked for better lighting conditions!
Right on schedule, we had our first American Goldfinch in the backyard today. I wasn't home (I was chasing otters at the Circle B Bar Reserve, more on that tomorrow!) … but Rich assures me that there was indeed a goldfinch on the niger feeder this morning. He stayed for several minutes at least. Yay! The goldfinches are my favorite wintertime bird (closely followed by the warblers). I didn't see …Read More
We haven't had as many backyard visitors in the past few days, and tonight I found out why. This is either a Sharp-Shinned Hawk or a Cooper's Hawk, and he had the audacity to sit on top of my bird feeder to terrorize my poor birdies!
The Pied-Billed Grebes showed up in the Stoneybrook West ponds a few weeks ago. I finally got a decent picture — they are usually very very backlit by the sunset during our evening walks.
Tonight the Belted Kingfisher made an appearance at one of the Stoneybrook West ponds, flying in circles over the pond before landing in a tree. The picture is not great, but it's proof that our kingfisher does exist! The Yellow-Rumped Warblers were especially active tonight, and one even stopped for a few seconds on an open branch for me to photograph.
The pond that used to never have birds is turning into our "treasure pond"! Tonight there were Killdeer, Pied-Billed Grebes, a Tricolored Heron, and this Blue-Winged Teal.
We saw a Muscovy Duck on our walk tonight! He was hanging out on the sidewalk by the entrance to Rock Creek. At first I mistook him for a Turkey Vulture, then as I got closer, I made out the red marks on his face and realized who he was. I've never seen a Muscovy Duck before! :) The duck was very friendly, and he stood still on the sidewalk …Read More
The mockingbirds are usually too busy hunting for dinner to take much notice of us on our evening walks. Tonight this one posed nicely for us.
The Yellow-Rumped Warblers have definitely arrived! Like the Palm Warblers, it seems as if they arrived overnight — we went from seeing none to seeing tons of them hopping around in the evenings. Their evening call note distinguishes them from the Palm and Yellow-Throated Warblers around the neighborhood. This isn't the greatest picture, but the light hasn't been great by the time we take our walks in the evening.
On our walk tonight we saw our first-of-season Yellow Rumped Warblers. They were hopping high in the trees along with the Palm Warblers. We saw a Yellow-throated Warbler also. At the pond we saw a group of Mallards. They all took off as I watched. I like the contrast of the orange feet, blue wings, and green heads.
The days are getting shorter. We have to walk earlier and earlier each week in order to catch the good sunset light. This Great Blue Heron didn't mind posing for us by the Pebble Ridge pond tonight.
We like to make fun of our bird call CDs, where the announcer starts off the cardinal sound by saying that "the cardinal is a bird…" Goldy knows all about cardinal birds. She was very happy to welcome this one to our feeder, and she sat with her tail twitching as she watched it eat.
It's such fun to take walks in the evenings now, with the trees full of little Palm Warblers hopping around in the twilight. Carla said she's been seeing Bow Tie hopping around their windows, too.
Goldy and I saw a House Wren in our backyard this morning. Our first of the season! Then I heard it making some interesting squeaking noises, and wondered what in the world was wrong with the bird. Nothing — the noises were coming from Pete's garden shoes!! :)
The clear cooler days make for some beautiful sunsets. This oak tree was gorgeous with the orange sun backlight. Then I saw the neighborhood Sand Hill Cranes drinking of a pond, which was illuminated by the reflection of the sunset. I didn't have my split neutral density filters with me, so I adjusted the picture in Lightroom.
The neighborhood Mallards were enjoying tonight's sunset as much as Rich and I were.
There are times when no amount of photographic skill makes up for being at the right place at the right time. This afternoon I was pulling into Stoneybrook West after birding at Circle B, and I saw a White Ibis on the sidewalk, eating a nice big frog. Luckily there was no one behind me, so I pulled the camera out, rolled down the window, and shot and shot. I'm …Read More
We always enjoy welcoming new visitors to our backyard. Today's wasn't precisely in the backyard, but he sure was circling overhead. There were two or three of these guys, circling high in the sky over the pond between Pebble Ridge and Fox Hunt. I put the camera into spot auto focus, aimed, and tried to shoot while tracking the bird. (It's not as easy as it looks!) On the camera …Read More
Tonight I was going out to water the new sod when I stopped short, having just seen this cardinal hopping around in the flower bed right beside the door. He didn't mind when I came back with my camera and shot a few pictures through the window in the door. I'm not sure if this was Beaky or the other male cardinal who hangs around; what I do know is …Read More
Our neighborhood Yellow-Throated Warbler, affectionately called Bow Tie, isn't appearing at our feeders regularly yet. But we see him periodically in the treetops around the neighborhood. As Mum-mum says, he's being a "real bird," and we likely won't see him at the feeders while the insect population is plentiful. (With all the midge flies around Stoneybrook West, we need as many insect-eating birds as we can get!!)
This evening we noticed a Cattle Egret climbing on a topiary. We thought it was pretty unusual, then he reached in and grabbed a lizard! I had no idea that egrets ate lizards. Squirt wants!!
We had a great walk this evening. We saw several Palm Warblers, a Yellow-throated Warbler, at least five Killdeer, a Loggerhead Shrike, a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, and we heard an Eastern Phoebe and a Belted Kingfisher. I really liked the bokeh in this shot of the Palm Warbler by the pond.
Rich and I were happy to relax today after putting out 1 pallet of sod, 3 cubic yards of mulch, and 4 new sprinkler valves on Friday and Saturday! This evening I was outside connecting the microjets to the new valves (gotta love poly flexible pipe - it's so easy!!) I saw Zorro, our backyard Common Yellowthroat, hopping around. He really likes our viburnum. He doesn't come out in the …Read More
The Palm Warblers come back to Florida in September, but we don't seem to see them in the oak trees around our house until October 1. They have been pretty consistent over the past three or four years, always arriving within a day or two. Well, Goldy is happy to announce that we saw our first Palm Warbler tonight! (or Mr. Warbles, as he is more affectionately known around our …Read More
We saw Bow Tie last week, and I've heard him several times since, but today was the first day he posed for the camera. He was in the oak trees at the entrance to Fox Hunt. Since the original image was pretty dark (it was after sunset), I lightened it in Photoshop using Shadows/Highlights, Levels, and Curves.
The Little Blue Herons in this neighborhood sure like to fly away!
It's been really windy for the past week or so, and the poor birds are having trouble flying! Check out Missy's Diner for a picture of the hummingbird that is visiting Mum-mum and Dyeyo! How cool!! :) :) :)
Or rather, a newly identified visitor! Rich and I both had been hearing these Killdeer around the house, but it wasn't until we saw them at the pond tonight that we felt confident in identifying them. The picture was handheld in the twilight from across the pond…maybe next time they'll let me get closer and see them in better light. :)
We went pond-hopping on our walk tonight, and saw a Little Blue Heron in each. He kept flying off annoyed each time he saw me. Finally at the last pond, where we almost never see birds, we saw him eating a dragonfly. He tossed it around for a few seconds before doing the last gulp. I wonder if the dragonfly was an appetizer or dessert?
The Anhinga was fishing as we walked by the pond tonight. He caught two fish within a couple of minutes. Squirt wants!!
It's starting to feel a little like fall. The temperatures have cooled a few degrees, there's a nice breeze in the evening, and the sun is shifting in the sky, causing the evening light to be great. Tonight we saw a total of five Sand Hill Cranes on our walk.
Tonight as I was pruning roses, a tiny bird hopped out onto a rose cane. He stared at me, and I stared at him, and then he flew back to the shelter of the viburnum. I only saw him for a split second, but I saw dark gray and olive. I think it was a female Common Yellowthroat (Mrs. Zorro?) We didn't see Bow Tie or any other little birds …Read More
There were three mockingbirds in the backyard tonight, all foraging for their dinners. They are fun to watch when they flash their wings to try to scare up some insects. This mockingbird probably didn't realize how he was posing in great sunset light - but he did let me walk right up to him and take his picture!
It was a very exciting evening for bird-watchers at Stoneybrook West. First we saw Bow Tie, our little Yellow-Throated warbler that comes to visit Goldilocks each year. First we heard his little call (almost like a cardinal, but not quite) and then we saw him flitting through the palm trees. Welcome back, little guy! Free birdseed at Goldy's house! Then I glanced up at the pond and my mouth fell …Read More
Tonight on our walk we came across these two Sand Hill Cranes. They were pretty close to the path and I started to photograph them. Then they moved off on the golf course, and I followed a few steps. I was glad I did, because they started to dance. I had just my 400mm prime with me, so framing them as they jumped around was hard, but I got a …Read More
It was rainy and gross out and Rich and I pulled up into the driveway to see these two House Finches perched on the roof. They didn't know what to think about the camera that peeked out the window and went click, click!
This Tricolored Heron was posing on the Stoneybrook West clubhouse dock tonight. The evening light was great.
There's a tiny hint of fall in the air, as we enjoy sub-90 degree temperatures and a nice breeze in the evenings. We took our walk last night enjoying the first decent sunset light in over a week. These juvenile White Ibises were flying over Black Lake and I like the way the sun illuminates their wings.
We enjoyed watching this anhinga fishing in the pond by Pebble Ridge this evening. Then he came up with a fish! I was glad I had my camera and long lens with me.
I had to laugh when I looked out at the birdfeeder in the oak tree and saw it being shared by a squirrel and a House Finch. The finch must have had good balance and a strong stomach, because that feeder was rocking and rolling with all the squirrel's motions! I looked out last night and saw the squirrel climbing the shepherd's crook in the back yard. First he nosed …Read More
A few nights ago I mentioned seeing lots of swallows flying over the neighborhood in the evenings. Today I took my new camera on our walk and got some pictures. I think they are Barn Swallows. They continue to fly over the neighborhood in regular patterns at dusk. Note: Gotta love ISO 12,800 on my new Canon 7D for capturing any kind of detail in tiny birds zooming over my …Read More
We've been seeing increased House Finch activity in the last week or so. I've seen juveniles flapping their wings and begging for food, and older males starting to molt (and looking extremely scruffy!) We've had six and eight birds at a time at the bird bath and bird feeders. It's nice to see the activity picking up again. This afternoon I watched this poor little guy all fluffed up in …Read More
Yes, that's right, we had a hummingbird visit the yard around 9:30 this morning! First it came to the rosebushes near the porch, when I first noticed it. Then it flew off to the Mexican sunflower in the back of the yard and stayed there for a bit. Of course, as soon as I got my camera in hand and went outside, it was gone. But we both saw it …Read More
The Mourning Doves in our yard aren't too thrilled about the summer heat. Each afternoon they seek shelter in the shade of the rosebushes. I never would have considered my rosebushes to be major shade sources, but I guess when you are a dove that only stands a few inches high, you don't need much! As we walked through the neighborhood tonight, we saw dozens of birds flying overhead. They …Read More
This little cardinal is so cute, hopping around our backyard every evening.
Or is it Beaky-etta? This juvenile cardinal has been so sweet for the last week or so, hopping around the backyard and chirping. She seems to spend a lot of time with a male cardinal, who I assumed was her dad, until I noticed him doing the "hungry baby wing flutter." So maybe he's her brother? The little female cardinal was hopping around on my back stoop last night, eating …Read More
The windy and cloudy weather courtesy of Tropical Storm Bonnie don't seem to be bothering the birds around Stoneybrook West. This group of juvenile White Ibises seemed to be having very good luck hunting for lunch this afternoon!
This morning we looked out to see Papa Cardinal with Baby C in the bird feeder. The baby was doing the "feed me!" wing flutter and Papa obliged him by depositing nice sunflower kernels right into his mouth. It looks like Baby C is a little boy (he is starting to molt into his adult plumage, and he has bright red patches starting to show).
It's been rainy for the past few days and the feeder activity has picked up some in the intervals without rain. This afternoon the backyard got quiet quickly, though, as this adult Cooper's Hawk perched on top of the big bird feeder and surveyed the yard. Lucky for our birdies, he didn't see any motion, and he eventually flew off.
This afternoon I observed a very light-colored House Finch at the front feeder. The patches of light brown, almost white, on his face were intriguing, so I got out the camera for a closer look. With my zoom lens I could see that this was a juvenile bird, molting into his male adult plumage. Goldilocks was more interested in the backs of her eyelids than in watching the bird-bird outside …Read More
The neighborhood is alive with calls from baby birds. Most have fledged and are fairly easy to spot on our evening walks. Just listen for shrill calls and watch for "I'm hungry" kinds of wing-flapping. This juvenile mockingbird attracted my attention with his calls, then he sat and watched me as I walked closer for a picture. It's a shame he decided to sit behind a twig! :)
Beaky finally found that wife! wife! wife! that he was looking for…and now he's a proud papa, too. We've been hearing the babies in Peter and Carla's oak tree for a couple of weeks now. Today they finally came to visit Goldy at her living room window. :) Beaky spent about 15 minutes chirping his little beak off, hopping around in the tree next to his baby. Since the baby …Read More
The house finches are sticking around for the summer. Although we don't see as many as we did during the winter, we hear them all over Stoneybrook West, and we have our faithful group that still comes to the feeder. I haven't seen any babies yet this year. There's always a decline in feeder activity around this time of year, then the traffic picks up again when the parents bring …Read More
We saw these Mourning Doves sitting on our fountain when we went out for our walk this evening. We're not sure how they managed the dexterity to both land, and they managed to stay, too! "Look out below!"
Rich and I saw a bunch of baby birds on our walk tonight. We finally caught up with our baby mallards, who we've been chasing for the last week or so. We keep seeing them as we drive out, when I don't have my camera. Tonight we were amused to see them crossing Pebble Ridge Street. They were on the way to the pond, just like we were! We heard …Read More
I love my new gimbal head! It's so easy to use. I went out in the backyard this evening to photograph the baby cardinals in Peter and Carla's oak tree, but I couldn't find the nest. This dove posed for me, though.
This evening, Rich and I set out on our walk, I mean, our quest, to the Weeping Willows that are Far, Far Away (well, the intersection of Tour Pointe and Town Commons). There we met two ogres (according to their prey!) named Shrek and Fiona. I began photographing them as Rich asked "Can we go yet? Can we go yet?" Shrek promised to come to a Royal Ball in Goldy's …Read More
I've been watching this little family of mallards for the last couple of weeks. They come across the golf course every morning to go wading in the pond in between Pebble Ridge and Fox Hunt. I've never had my camera with me to photograph them, though, and the babies have been growing up. Tonight, finally, I had my camera and the evening light was the textbook definition of "great light". …Read More
Rich and I were out for our evening walk the other day when we saw a mallard in the pond with a bunch of baby ducks. Of course I didn't have the camera with me that day, and of course we haven't seen the ducklings since. :-p So I'll post a pretty picture of a mallard pair instead…I love the color of the light in the evening!
Rich and I saw some wild rabbits twice last week during our walks in Lakehurst at "Bunny Hour", so this week I started carrying my camera in hopes of taking some pictures of them. (They are cute!) But of course we don't see them when I have my camera with me (Rich calls it my bunny deterrent.) But we did see this sand hill crane family out on the golf …Read More
We see our baby cardinals almost every day. Last week the babies were always with their parents, and the parents were still feeding them. This morning, the baby flew unaccompanied by his parents into our tree in front. He seemed to try to figure out how to eat out of the tube feeder without actually landing on the feeder. After a few unsuccessful attempts, he flew over to our tray …Read More
Goldilocks is pleased to continue welcoming her mallards to our backyard almost every afternoon. They go under the bird feeders and eat the seed on the ground. They're pretty friendly, and they let you get fairly close before they start to worry. Next door, Peter and Carla have a little pond, with a duck statue in front. These mallards sometimes go visit their pond, too. Apparently there's been some confusion …Read More
Papa Cardinal brought his newly fledged babies to the front feeders tonight. Mama Cardinal joined them after a few minutes. The parents ate at the feeders, while the babies hung out in our ligustrum trees. Every so often, the parents would hop over to the babies and feed them. There was such a commotion of chirping and baby wing fluttering each time they got fed! (Was Squirt a baby bird …Read More
I was out refilling bird feeders this morning when I noticed a new little bird hopping around in the rosebed. At first it was in shadow, and I assumed it was a migrating warbler. Then it moved into the light and I realized it had a green cast. "No, it can't be!" I thought as I quietly backed off to get the camera. My telephoto lens confirmed my suspicion: we …Read More
Happy Easter from the cedar waxwings! Happy Hatch Day, Pickles!
Our two goldfinches continue to molt. It's strange to only have the two visiting the yard. Usually by this time in the year, I've had to pull out the 24-port feeder, which I usually end up refilling several times a week! Where are all the goldfinches?
Here's a Squirt's-eye view of his favorite place in the house: the window feeder! He spends hours sitting underneath it, staring up at it, waiting, waiting, waiting….and then we hear a thud and the house finches fly away. Poor Squirt.
Goldy's ducks were back this morning! Both Pete and I grabbed our cameras and went to take pictures. You know when you have good neighbors when they don't think it's strange to see you hanging out the upstairs windows, taking pictures of birds! :)
I'm not seeing nearly as many goldfinches as usual this year. There's a pair that comes faithfully to my feeder; usually by now I've had to pull out the 24-port feeder and even then I'm turning customers away! Oh well, at least these two have stuck around, and one is a male, so I get to watch the molting process. Poor guy, right now he's not too attractive.
Sorry, Goldy, I accidentally erased the pictures of the ducks that visited the backyard on Monday…because I was in such a hurry to get out to take pictures of the baby sand hill cranes that were on the golf course tonight!!! :) There were two parents and two babies altogether. Aren't they cute?
Dyeyo and I went to Circle B Bar Reserve this morning, and then we saw this eagle circling my papitos' house this afternoon. I've seen an eagle flying over my own backyard this winter, too, but I haven't gotten a picture of it yet. They're so majestic when they fly!
The oak tree was full of cedar waxwings this morning. They stayed for about 10 minutes, until the brown-headed cowbirds took over the tree. I saw about 8 robins when I left work this afternoon. It's been several weeks since I've seen any - I thought they were all gone by now. This migration year is really strange!
Our resident yellow-throated warbler, nicknamed Bow Tie, has been visiting almost every day. He likes to hang out by Carla's back window, and then he gets a snack from our front tray feeder. Note: We stopped seeing Bow Tie shortly after this post. So I think he leaves to go back North around mid-March. Come back next year, little guy!
Didn't Mrs. Cardinal's mother teacher her not to chew with her mouth open?
What do you get when you cross cute yellow birds and the wicked witch of the west? "We're mooooolting!"
Mrs. C. (or is it Mrs. Beaky?) was a happy birdie, hanging out in the backyard this evening. It's fun that the days are getting longer and we get home early enough to see them. :)
We've been enjoying the cheerful sounds of the goldfinches each morning. They're so cute! It seems like some of them have left the yard, since the niger seed isn't disappearing as quickly as it was a few weeks ago, but we still have a couple of faithful guys that come every morning.
Our Dove Detector (a.k.a. Squirt) went crazy with squeaking when it saw this dove on Carla and Peter's roof. Ma-Ma-Ma-Ma…Mieu!!!
Good news for Beaky! I went into the backyard this afternoon and found him chasing around TWO female cardinals in the crape myrtle. Maybe all his calls for a wife-wife-wife-wife-wife are starting to pay off…
I've been playing with focus refinement with Live View on my camera and it really does help. Look at all the detail in this house finch!
Mr. Warbles came to visit Goldy and Squirt! Note: Mr. Warbles is a palm warbler that visits each year. How do we know which warbler is Mr. Warbles? Well, he's the one that comes up to the bay window to visit the cats.
While Dyeyo enjoyed a nice trip to Circle B while Rich and I had to work, this shrike sat waiting for its next victim…
Happy Valentine's Day! I guess the robins and the cedar waxwings decided to go on a puddle-fishing date. Later they visited Peter and Carla's yard, too!
There were hundreds of robins and cedar waxwings by the town center this morning! Then some of them came to visit Goldy and Squirt at our house. I got to use my new flash extender - the morning was very cloudy and gross, and the only way I could get decent pictures was to use the flash. But I'm not used to seeing such reflections in the birds' eyes.
Finally! Bow Tie posed and I had the camera ready. I've been trying to get a good picture of this little yellow-throated warbler since he came back in September. He's so cute! This weekend is the Great Backyard Bird Count. If you have a Dove Detector named Squirt, all you have to do is count squeaks while he watches out the window. If you don't have such a twerp on …Read More
Usually by the time we get home from work, the only birds in the yard are the "piggies" (red-wing blackbirds, grackles, and brown-headed cowbirds). This piggy looked so nice by the sunset light that I couldn't resist snapping her picture.
Robins! In the fall it seems as if they migrate very high, and we only hear them from a distance. But in the spring they come down and hang out in the oak trees. It's fun to have them around!
This is our first azalea bloom of the spring. So sorry, Punxsutawney Phil, but I don't think my azaleas got the memo about the six extra weeks of winter!
Goldy and I were surprised to look over and see this Eastern Phoebe sitting in our crape myrtle this afternoon. Goldy was even more surprised when I grabbed my camera, laid down on the floor (to get a blinds-free view of the bird), and then scooted backwards until I reached a minimum focus distance and could shoot. Maybe the bird thought I was being weird, too…it flew away after a …Read More
Wow it was windy today! Beaky spent the whole morning hanging on for dear life in the top of the oak tree, calling out repeatedly his need for a "wife! wife! wife! wife!"
Hi Beaky! Carla says you drive her crazy, but Goldy and Squirt invite you to beak on our windows whenever you want.
This robin spent some time hanging out in the crape myrtle tree in our bay window this afternoon. It's the first robin I've seen up close this season. This picture was actually taken through our blinds…not bad, huh?
Today we had COLDfinches in our yard! So my cousin from South Dakota heard about our cold snap this week and called to ask if we had furnaces in Florida. "Furnace", how cute-around here they are called air conditioners, and we put them in "heat" mode for a couple of days a year! Well, cuz, you would have laughed to hear the hour-long segment of nightly news dedicated to the …Read More
We've been seeing the cardinals at the feeders a bit more these days. Mrs. C. has such pretty red accents at this time of year.
Squirt was ecstatic when this mourning dove landed on the porch roof right outside the window of his room! Mieu!
Bow Tie has been spending too much time watching Beaky! He's started to come peck at the window over the front door, just like Beaky. Goldy and Squirt get really excited when they hear the noise and see him hopping around. Happy house cats!!
The birds were cold today and so was I! They came out in the afternoon sun to eat and I took this picture from our upstairs window. Our goldyfinch count today was at least 7. :)
A close-up of one of our goldfinches is a very cheerful way to start the year. Happy Mieu Year!
While Rich and I were at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge today, these brown-headed cowbirds pigged out at home.
We got an early Christmas present today when we saw three goldyfinches in the backyard. I even got pictures! It's frustrating that the migration is so slow and irregular this year, but it makes the first sightings even more exciting. :)
Squirt had a good time watching the bright red house finches! We also saw our first goldfinch of the season at the thistle feeder in the afternoon. Yay!
Goldy's house finches say hello!
I saw an eagle flying over the backyard this afternoon! He was flying really low, so I saw his head and beak in wonderful detail. Unfortunately I had just put the camera inside, or I could have gotten an amazing picture. :-p We're excited that the eagles are back this year; we finally found their nest last year, and it's fun to have them in the neighborhood for the winter. …Read More
Finally! Goldy saw some birds in the backyard! The migration has been really slow this year, and we haven't been seeing very many customers at the feeders. So we were overjoyed to see this flock of brown-headed cowbirds and red-winged blackbirds descend upon the bird feeder. Now if only the goldyfinches would follow suit…
Uh-oh…now that the dove managed to land at the top of the bird feeder, how does he get down!?
It's the right time of the year to put out more feeders…but the regular migrants aren't here yet. :( So the house finches get a banquet.
We haven't been seeing as many birds as usual this year. We have a few resident house finches, a couple of cardinals, and plenty of doves. Carla tells me that she's seeing baby cardinals, too, but Rich and I haven't seen them in our yard. So I'll post a picture of what we see most: fat lazy doves!
The days are getting shorter and the sunsets earlier. This mockingbird sang to the cats as we ate dinner tonight.
I saw Bow Tie tonight! So now I'm sure that I've been hearing him for about two weeks now! (Bow Tie was our yellow-throated warbler visitor from last year. He regularly visits our front feeder after hanging out in Peter's palm tree.) Picture coming soon… :)
There was a hummingbird in this picture….yep, that's right, I saw a hummingbird in the bottlebrush tree this morning!!! I was so excited, and ran to get the camera, but it wasn't there when I came back.
The house finches spent the afternoon singing their heads off and bathing in the fountain. They were fun to watch…Goldy and Squirt had a great time!
Peter saw a hummer in our backyards tonight!!!! The first blooms from my new rose mini, 'Deja Blu', are starting to open. It's even prettier than I imagined.
Mr. C brought by his latest offspring to meet me this morning. The baby was so cute to watch, begging his dad for food, and then getting annoyed and lunging at his dad to grab what was in his beak. Don't worry, Peter and Carla, I don't think this is Beaky…both daddy and baby were acting far too civilized and seemed to have no desire to come beak at your …Read More
With baby birds starting to venture out of the nest, there's a lot of extra fussing in the backyard these days. This baby mockingbird was especially vocal!
Poor doves! Sometimes they don't even try to find shelter during our afternoon thunderstorms. At least we can say that at our house, we have all our "doves" in a row!
I finally got a picture of Mum-mum's Great Crested Flycatcher! Although I usually only post pictures from my own backyard on this page, I think it's worthy to make an exception when I finally capture a decent image of a bird Mum-mum's been chasing for about a month. ;-) More pictures from this weekend at my Papitos' are at Missy's Diner.
Today we didn't see Zorro (our new little black-masked Common Yellowthroat!) but we did see the cardinals in full force.
Maybe the aphids on my roses aren't such an annoyance…they attracted this Common Yellowthroat, another first-time visitor to the backyard! After several attempts I managed to get some pictures of him. He's much prettier in person than he ever seemed in the bird books.
Goldy's duckies have been hanging out in our yard every afternoon. They go back and forth between our yard and Carla and Peter's…a drink at their fountain, a snack at our feeders, and then a nap in the shade of the oleander!
Goldy and Squirt say thank you to Mom and Dad Yarnell for this nifty peanut feeder, which allows felines in screened porches to watch the commotion as big birds vie for the coveted center spot!
A new bird came to visit Goldy tonight - a Cape May Warbler! These birds mostly live in Canada and are only in Florida during winter migration, but we know that a group of them nested at Oakland Nature Preserve a few years ago. So we were very surprised - and excited - to see one in our oak tree!
Goldy had an exciting visitor this afternoon - three ducks! They looked like they were getting a snack from the feast underneath the feeders. Goldy was glued to the window watching.
The score is at least 10 to 1 in the Peter-vs-Beaky saga. The fake snake has ceased to scare off the stupid cardinal, who insists on repeatedly fighting his reflection in Carla's nice shiny window. So the latest cardinal scare tactic is a new set of screens…good luck, Peter!
Mum-mum loves her grackles, and even though I consider them the piggies at my feeder, I must admit that this one is kinda pretty, with the sun on his feathers.
Happy Easter! I don't think yesterday's picture of the Cedar Waxwings gives the scene justice…there were so many birds!! Here's another view.
We had an impromptu birthday party for Goldy today when about 200 of her Cedar Waxwing friends stopped by to congratulate her on turning seven!
Here's Peter's favorite cardinal and his wife. Rich and I call him "Beaky" because he spends his life banging his beak against Peter and Carla's back window! We think we saw where his nest is in a neighbor's viburnum. Hopefully those babies will hatch soon and distract him…
We saw our Sandhill Crane family again and the babies have grown so big already! It was just a few weeks ago that they were fluffy little guys, and now they are almost as tall as their parents. Their heads aren't red yet, though.
I think the goldfinches are migrating earlier this year than they did last year. I'm only seeing one or two at a time these days. This female in full breeding plumage was pigging out at our feeder. Happy Hatch Day, Pickles!!
There were great flocks of Cedar Waxwings flying all around the neighborhood this afternoon. I was out with the camera, trying to get some pictures, but the stubborn birds seemed to be camera-shy. But this little Palm Warbler didn't mind my presence and posed for me quite nicely.
The yard really comes alive around this time of year! Literally hundreds of birds pass through, the roses all flush with new growth, the grass is getting green again, and Daylight Savings Time gives us an extra hour to enjoy it all!
The songbirds love the oak pollen almost as much as Rich's allergies dislike it! Then in the afternoon we went to visit Missy's Diner (a.k.a. my parents' backyard!) They've had a Painted Bunting visiting for at least a month - lucky!!
Flocks of Cedar Waxwings have been passing through the neighborhood. This morning our oak tree was filled with at least 50 waxwings, all doing their shrill whistle call! But when I looked at the pictures, I realized I didn't just have waxwings in the tree…there were a few female brown-headed cowbirds in the tree as well…shall we call this the "Odd Couple"?
Howietta the House Finch is looking for her husband Howie. Any sightings should be reported to Goldy!