Beyond the Backyard

A Quick Stop at Joe Overstreet

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Last Saturday on the way back from Blue Cypress Lake, we stopped at Joe Overstreet Road on the way back to Orlando.  It was mid-day, so I wasn’t sure there would be much bird activity, and the light wasn’t great.  But Joe Overstreet can be a good place to see Crested Caracara, Bald Eagles, and occasionally Whooping Cranes, so I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. We found a flock of Tree Swallows lined up on a telephone wire.  Occasionally they would all take off, fly around, and then eventually reconvene on the wire.  It can be pretty hard to photograph these tiny, fast birds.  I love to try, though.  Their bright blue iridescent feathers make for wonderful images.  This flock was a little too high, so I mostly got shots of birdie undersides.  The picture below is of a juvenile bird who has not yet gotten his bright blue feathers. The road is lined on both sides with fences, and birds often pose out on the fenceposts.  We didn’t see any many birds out this time, though.  There were just a few Eastern Meadowlarks, a few Loggerhead Shrikes, and a small flock of Savannah Sparrows.  We reached the lake […]

Beyond the Backyard

Early Morning at the Viera Wetlands Click Ponds

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I had a great morning with friends at the Viera Wetlands. The morning started at the Click Ponds, two small ponds adjacent to the wetlands. After a post to Birdbrains yesterday about a Common Loon, which I’ve never seen, I was anxious to try for one. But we didn’t see one. We did see my first Horned Grebe, but he was so far away that I won’t embarrass myself by posting it. :) Suffice it to say that even a Beast sometimes yields pictures where the subject is a small pinpoint! I was surprised to see several Green Herons in the grasses. They stood with their necks stretched, and they reminded me of Least Bitterns. One flew in and posed right in front of me for a few seconds. The light was absolutely horrible, so I ended up sharpening this picture in Lightroom. The sun actually did come out during the “golden hour”…for about five seconds. Lucky for me, I had just found the three Redheads and single Canvasback, and the sun’s light came at the perfect time. The ducks dove, splashed, then came up “all in a row.” I exposed to the right and then adjusted the image in […]

Beyond the Backyard

Early Fall Migrants at Fort De Soto

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Rich says I must have lost my marbles.  I got up at 4:45 this morning and drove to St. Pete in order to search for Marbled Godwits.  It’s been a few months since I’ve gone to the beach, and I was in the mood for some nice shorebird photography.  It’s funny that after photographing lots of birds around the state for the past few years, I still haven’t seen some of the most common birds, including the Marbled Godwits.  But I did today! It’s a little weird to think that fall migration has already started.  It’s only July!  It’s still really hot out!  But a variety of shorebird species leave Florida in late spring, lay their nests and raise their young in the tundra of Alaska and northern Canada, then immediately turn around and fly back down to Florida.  It’s a really long trip for these little birds. I arrived at North Beach at Fort De Soto just after sunrise, around 7:00 in the morning.  The area around the concession stands was simply covered in Laughing Gulls.  They feed around the picnic tables, where people share their picnic lunches (some willingly, others  not!)  The gulls are starting the molt into […]