Backyard photography

Neighborhood Ducks

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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!

Backyard photography

Stoneybrook Signs of Spring

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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 I’ve had so many birds moving in and out of the bushes that I think I may have to wait until after spring nesting season is over. The American Goldfinches continue to grace us with their sweet calls and cheerful presence.  I haven’t seen a male in the past few weeks.  (Males are distinguished by their bright black heads.)  The females continue to visit our niger feeder.  Their feathers are turning brighter by the day.  It’s going to be sad when they too leave us. The House Finches are bright red and they have started to sing as they attract their mates and begin to build their nests.  They’ve learned to appreciate the Painted Bunting feeder, which has a cage surrounding it to protect the little birds from being evicted […]

Beyond the Backyard

Diving Hoodies at Viera Wetlands

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Dyeyo and I drove over to Viera Wetlands in search of the Ross’s Goose that has been reported there on the BirdBrainz list serve.   We didn’t see the goose, but we did see a group of happy, diving Hooded Mergansers.  It was the first time either of us had seen a female Hoodie (we don’t typically see mergansers at the Circle B Bar Reserve where we normally bird.) We got to Viera and decided to drive around the perimeter once to locate the birds.  Except we saw so many birds that the “first lap” took more than half our morning! The first bird we spotted was a Wilson’s Snipe.  He was fishing in some short reeds and obligingly came out periodically to allow us to photograph him.  This was my first opportunity for full-frame snipe photos.  Usually the snipes are far away and I’m just happy to see them at all. We paused to take a duck inventory of the many American Coots, Pied-Billed Grebes, and Ring-Necked Ducks that covered the wetlands.  A Belted Kingfisher came screeching across the landscape and landed on a dead palm tree right in front of us.  With my new 500mm lens, he was practically […]

Backyard photography

Rainy Day Walk around Stoneybrook West

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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, dozens of Palm Warblers and Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Mallards, Blue-Winged Teals, Lesser Scaups, a Ring-Billed Gull, a Female Canvasback, Snowy Egrets, several flocks of White Ibises, Pied-Billed Grebes, and my first Wilson’s Snipe at Stoneybrook West. The walk started out on a somber note with a sighting of a Cooper’s Hawk in our backyard.  On top of our big bird feeder!  But he left without causing too much birdie distress. There has been a small group of Lesser Scaups at the pond at the intersection of Tour Pointe and Town Commons.  Usually the birds are off on the other side of the pond, but today they were on my side and I could get some closer pictures (but with horrible overcast lighting).  The birds are very skittish; as soon as you […]

Backyard photography

Lesser Scaups in the Neighborhood

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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.