Backyard photography

Great-crested Flycatcher

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Great-crested Flycatcher

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 get many chances to photograph them.  What a nice bird!

Beyond the Backyard

Anniversary at Bok Tower Gardens

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It’s hard to believe that Rich and I have been married for seven years.  We were married at Bok Tower Gardens, so we decided to go back there today in honor of our anniversary.  Rich didn’t mind that I brought The Beast along.  We saw lots of great baby birds. Since it’s our anniversary, I’ll be nice and post a turtle picture for Rich.  (He does remind me regularly that this site was inspired by cats and turtles…long before the birding craze began!)  So here are three turtles who were sunning themselves at the Window by the Pond. There were Blue Jays all over.  These common birds do not hang out in my backyard, so it’s always fun to see them.  I spotted a juvenile bird feeding with its mother at the bird feeder (squirrel feeder!) by the tower overlook.  This adult was near the Visitor’s Center.  After years of saying I wanted a longer lens, it’s nice to complain that I clipped his tail because I needed to take off my teleconverter… :) Carolina Wrens could be heard singing throughout the gardens.  When I finally spotted one out in the open, he was in shade.  I didn’t have my […]

Beyond the Backyard

So Many Fence Posts, So Few Birds…

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After reading about how Joe Overstreet Road is such a great place for bird photography, I’ve been meaning to get there all winter.  But I didn’t get the opportunity until this morning.  It wasn’t exactly what I expected.  But I did end up with some fun pictures! I wanted to visit Joe Overstreet for Eastern Meadowlarks, Crested Caracara, Swallow-tailed Kites, and maybe even a Snail Kite.  It seems that the kites are my nemesis bird this vacation.  I keep seeing them when I don’t have a camera in hand!  Not fair.  I didn’t see the first one today.  Actually, about 20 minutes down the road, I was shooting the sunrise mist in the fog, wondering where the birds were.  I even shot an empty post, to put on the blog in case I didn’t see any birds!  But as I drove down the road, I did finally start to see some. My first bird of the morning was an American Crow.  He posed on the road in front of me, making me wish I could customize a car for photography without a windshield!  But I was happy to have my windshield a few seconds later, when a big truck came […]

Beyond the Backyard

Summer Heat Begins at the Circle B Bar Reserve

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It was hot this morning!  We arrived at the Circle B Bar Reserve at 7:00 and hiked the Alligator Alley trail loop.  This Great Blue Heron was trying to cool himself with the funky wing position – he wasn’t the only one who was hot! We checked on the Great Crested Flycatcher nest by the Nature Center.  A very tolerant flycatcher let us get pretty close to him as he brought food in to his babies.  It’s a shame that there’s not a window on the side of the nesting box! We came across a Pileated Woodpecker down by Lake Hancock.  There were several new woodpecker holes, and we wondered if any of them would soon house babies.  This bird was pecking away at the back of a tree, and he had stripped a long section of bark away. We heard the baby hawks at their nest before we saw the nest itself.  Two weeks ago, I thought these guys were the Odd Couple, with one baby significantly older than the other.  Now that older baby has fledged, and he spent his morning sitting on a branch not far from the nest.  The small baby is still in the nest.  […]

Beyond the Backyard

Circle B Says Goodbye to its Winter Migrants and Hello to the Summer Residents

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I spent a quiet off-Friday morning at the Circle B Bar Reserve this morning.  It’s always a treat to be on the trails without the weekend crowds.  I started off on the Heron Hideout trail to say hello to the little Sandhill Crane, then I turned left onto the Alligator Alley trail and hiked that loop back to the Nature Center.  It was a nice breezy morning and it felt awesome to be out! I arrived at the reserve just after sunrise, determined to catch the Sandhill Crane family as it crossed the Heron Hideout trail in its morning trek across the marsh.  Last weekend I almost missed them.  So it figures that this morning I had to wait about half an hour for them to meander across the marsh!  It was a bit cloudy, and I’m sure that contributed to the slow start for the birds. As I waited for the Sandhill Cranes, I watched the Osprey nest in the palm tree.  One bird was incubating on the nest, and the other bird was perched in a tree close by.  As I watched, the bird on the nest stretched her wings and flew off.  The other bird took her […]

Beyond the Backyard

Rainy Morning at the Circle B Bar Reserve

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Finally!  We got some rain!  Although it cut our morning at the Circle B Bar Reserve a little short, it also kept our hike cooler than usual.  And boy did we need the rain! The morning started out darker than usual, due to the cloudcover.  We took the Shady Oak trail and got all the way out to Lake Hancock before sunrise.  We were rewarded by a fun sunrise. I had read that if you stop down to a high f-number aperture and shoot the sun, you are more likely to get the beams of light radiating from the sun.  So I tried it…and it worked! :) We did not see the Barred Owls in their usual tree at the end of the dock.  As a matter of fact, we walked a long way before we even took our first pictures.  The rain yesterday and the cloudcover today kept the birds from their usual early-morning activity.  I stopped to look at an Osprey holding a fish, when Dyeyo noticed this Barred Owl standing right in front of us.  He flew to a nearby tree after we started watching him.  He was clearly in hunt mode, turning his head all round […]

Beyond the Backyard

Another beautiful morning at the Circle B Bar Reserve

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Dyeyo and I arrived at the Circle B Bar Reserve at 6:30 am to enjoy a nice warm morning of birding! The sunrise over Lake Hancock was gorgeous.  Since our favorite Marsh Rabbit Run trail is closed, we took the Alligator Alley trail instead.  The breeze down by the lake felt wonderful as we enjoyed the great morning light. We saw the two owls in their usual tree, but I didn’t take many pictures of them because they weren’t posing very nicely.  Then it was so funny, I had just finished saying that I wanted to see another Black-Crowned Night Heron, and then we saw one right next to us!  (Later I tried that trick again, saying that I wanted to see a Red-Headed Woodpecker, but none appeared. Too bad, Dyeyo!) Usually there isn’t too much activity on the Alligator Alley trail by the time we get there in mid-morning.  It felt like a totally different trail this morning when we went there first.  There were Ospreys in the trees everywhere. I went out on the little boardwalk over the lake and saw an Osprey fishing for his breakfast.  I got a fun silhouette shot with fish in claw, but […]

Beyond the Backyard

Songbirds at Bok Tower Gardens

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A rose-breasted grosbeak was recently seen at Bok Tower Gardens, so this morning Rich and I went to bird-watch at Bok.  We didn’t see a grosbeak, but we did see some fun songbirds. The first bird we saw this morning was a male Eastern Towhee.  He was on the ground, rooting through the grass, digging for worms.   His call really does sound like the “Drink your tea!” mnemonic on our bird CD.  Then he took the worms over to his baby and started to feed it.  A few minutes later, the birds flew into the tree right over my head, and I was able to snap a few pretty clear shots of the baby. Up by the tower, the swans were happy to pose for me (and beg for food!) There were tons of blue jays and cardinals out today.  I think I heard a bunch of baby cardinals, but I didn’t see any. I heard tons of great-crested flycatchers today.   I followed them from tree to tree, but I wasn’t able to get any decent close-ups.  Rich noticed this bird nesting box by the Exedra outlook area, and we realized that the flycatchers were flying in and out of […]