Beyond the Backyard

Seeking the Ash-throated Flycatcher in Florida

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Ash-throated Flycatcher

After visiting the nesting Great Blue Herons at Viera Wetlands before Christmas, Michael and I drove down the road to the Moccasin Island Tract to see a rare Ash-throated Flycatcher in Florida.  Ash-throated Flycatchers typically live in the western US, so this guy is a little far from home!  We parked, spotted a flycatcher-like bird on a post, and I got two very quick shots before the bird flew off.  Why is it that lifer shots are always bad ones?  My settings were all off and I severely underexposed him!  But at least I got a shot.  Lightroom helped me lighten the image so that I could post it and add it to my Life List… A friendly Eastern Meadowlark was very cooperative for us.  Maybe he felt badly that we didn’t get great shots of the Ash-throated Flycatcher, so he decided to pose.  He sat on a fencepost and sang his heart out for us.  It was very windy, and I was hand-handling the Beast.  It was hard to keep the bird in the frame with the wind blowing so hard!   I kept hoping he’d hop down to a berry bush below his fence, but he wasn’t that […]

Beyond the Backyard

Betcha Can’t Go Just Once!

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On December 31 I made yet another trip to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, this time with Dyeyo. He had never been on Blackpoint Wildlife Drive. We carefully planned to go on a day when it would be sunny with little wind. Then we got there and it was a little windy, and there were not as many birds as my last visits. Go figure. Our goal was for Dyeyo to see the Horned Grebe and a Reddish Egret (Big Red doesn’t make it inland to Circle B Bar Reserve, so Dyeyo hadn’t ever seen the Drunken Sailor Dance!) Dyeyo got to see both his birds. :) The Horned Grebe has been hanging out by the culverts at the bathrooms for the past few weeks. Dyeyo and I set up by the culverts, watching and waiting. It didn’t take long for the grebe to appear–and then disappear back into the culverts! We must have sat there for about half an hour to get glimpses of this silly little bird as he darted out and then went back in again. I guess it was less windy inside the pipes. Then as soon as we left, the bird came out and posed […]