Beyond the Backyard

Hot Summer Days at Orlando Wetlands Park

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Snail Kite

It’s been quite a while since I last visited Orlando Wetlands Park, so when my friend Michael Libbe suggested that we go there for sunrise, I was excited to go back.  Summer days at Orlando Wetlands Park are very hot, but there was a nice breeze to keep us comfortable.  We arrived a good half hour before sunrise, and we found fog and clouds to obscure the horizon.  So we had some time to catch up on our recent trips to Oregon and Maine as we waited for the light to illuminate the swamps. When the sun finally came up, it was a bright yellow orb behind the fog.  I thought it was pretty with the silhouettes of the distant trees underneath.  There were also a lot of grasses in the foreground which blurred and obscured the horizon.  I played with this image some in Nik Color Efex to add a vignette and a slight film grain.  I liked the mood of the resulting picture. Michael told me that a Snail Kite had been seen recently at Orlando Wetlands, so we headed off to find her.  We found her pretty easily, perched in some trees at the back of the […]

Beyond the Backyard

More on the Snail Kite

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I received information today about the banded Snail Kite that is hanging out at the Circle B Bar Reserve lately.  According to FWC, After getting in touch with the University of Florida researchers who banded the bird, I found it was born in June of 2011 on East Lake Toho in St Cloud. We’re glad to see she (?) is doing well, the notes said she was the smaller of 2 young in the nest. My guess is female because there’s a fair amount of white around the eye and chin. The cinnamon/tawny color is typical in younger birds, but the white around the face isn’t. Hopefully the expanding apple snail population at Circle B will keep this bird interested…and maybe she’ll bring a friend to help her establish a local population?  :)

Beyond the Backyard

The Snail Kite at the Circle B Bar Reserve

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The Circle B Snail Kite is banded, and I was pleased to get a decent shot of the band numbers on Saturday. It’s not often that I use both teleconverters on the Beast! The left band reads “2510” and the right bands read “7Z”. I tried to report this to the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, but I haven’t had any response. Maybe I don’t have enough digits off the left band. If you know a better way to get information on this bird, please let me know. It would be fun to learn where she was banded! The Snail Kite is such a beautiful bird. I was really happy when she left her feeding ground (facing into the sun) and stretched her wings over the water (away from the sun! finally!) That beak looks pretty strong – nice to admire from a distance! :)

Beyond the Backyard

My First Snail Kite

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It was a beautiful off-Friday morning today at the Circle B Bar Reserve. I arrived before dawn and walked out to the Wading Bird Way trail for sunrise. I wasn’t really hoping for any bird in particular – it just felt so good to be there! As I walked out, I thought about the recent posting about a Snail Kite sighting in the area. I thought, “nah, I’ll never see it.” I enjoyed my sunrise opportunities, the various birds that flew overhead (Least Bittern and Caspian Terns were nice surprises, and a pair of Belted Kingfishers kept me entertained.) The morning was breezy and cool. At a glance it seemed as if there were not a lot of birds, but as I stood there watching, I realized that the sky was full of birds in flight. I tried to catch one of the many Limpkins in flight (they always flew behind me, into the backlight of the sun). Then as I turned to leave, there was the Snail Kite sitting not too far from the trail. What a fun way to end the morning! My picture isn’t great (seems like lifer shots never are!) but that’s just incentive to go […]