Beyond the Backyard

A Rainy Day First

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I had a photography “lifer” yesterday at Viera Wetlands – my first up-close Stilt Sandpiper. He was hanging out with some Black-Necked Stilts in a nice shallow part of the water. He’s molting into basic plumage, and look at those wings! They show a lot of wear and tear from his long trip south. Non-birding friends are often surprised to hear that fall migration begins so early in the summer. They are even more surprised to hear that these birds nest in the highest reaches of the Canadian Arctic, then fly across the planet to winter throughout South America. Talk about a long trip!

Beyond the Backyard

A Morning of Firsts at the Click Ponds

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I saw several birds for the first time this morning at the Click Ponds: two Wilson’s Phalaropes, Black Terns, Stilt Sandpipers, and a Semipalmated Sandpiper.  It was a fun morning to be out! I arrived at the Click Ponds (across from Viera Wetlands) just after sunrise.  The Click Ponds have all but dried up and now have “gone green.”  It’s so strange to see grass growing where the water is supposed to be.  The migrating shorebirds don’t mind it this way, though. There were at least fifty Sandhill Cranes roosting at the ponds when I arrived.  (According to Michael Libbe, I just missed the four Roseate Spoonbills and the Egyptian Goose. Oh well!)  Donna Faylo joined us and we all stood watching the cranes as they danced in the gorgeous morning light.  Most the cranes were adults, but there were a couple of juveniles mixed in. In small family groups, the cranes began to take off and fly away for their daily routine.  Most of them flew away from us.  We talked to the cranes and encouraged them to fly towards us. The light was gorgeous!  I used my zoom lens and dialed in an extra stop for compensation.  Finally […]