Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 17

28 Apr 2013, Lake Apopka Bike Trail

Stray, orphan, curious?  This cute Bobcat kitten ...

was crying nonstop and when we moved further along on the trail closer to the sound, walks right up to us.  No parent was around.  So what is the call?  Did the parent get eaten by an alligator or killed somehow?  Why would the kitten come to our feet unless it was starving and no parent around?  Hard call to make.  We informed the park staff, they marked the location and I gave them the tel number of Lindy at Back to Nature who said they will rehab it if it is rescued.  There is a slim chance that the parent is way out of range hunting so even though the behavior of the kitten seems desperate, you don't want to rescue a kitten that has a parent.  You just don't know for sure so this is a really hard call to make.

We heard two Yellow-billed Cuckoos for sure and a third one a mile away but we don't know if it could have been one of these two.  Twenty Cedar Waxwings and three Northern Bobwhite were some other highlights.  White Pelicans are still lingering.  Saw five Marsh Rabbits.  The best dragonfly spotted today was a Painted Skimmer.  Members in party were Karen Hamblett, Pam Meharg and Paulette Fiske.

26  Apr 2013, Lake Apopka Bike Trail

Janet Leavens and I had a good day on the Lake Apopka Bike Trail.  Eli Schaperow later joined us.  Both male and female Orchard Orioles along with fifteen Bobolink were the highlights.  Some late migrants still lingering were the Belted Kingfisher, House Wren and Marsh Wrens.  Other nice sightings were two Least Bittern, Black-crowned Night-heron in-flight (2 juv, 3 adult), Blackpoll Warblers and a Northern Waterthrush--61 species over a 3 mile walk.

25 Apr 2013, Lake Apopka Bike Trail

This Softshell Turtle is either injured or it is laying eggs but in either case it is covered with ants. I called FWC and they could not help me, saying it might be dying. I'll keep trying to find someone to see if it needs moved, it is OK just laying eggs or it is dying. Click the image to enlarge it. Not sure if those ants are fire ants. (update April 26 ... the turtle was gone so likely it was fine, just laying eggs).

Two male Orchard Orioles as well as ...

five Bobolinks were on the bike trail today.

24 Apr 2013, Wekiwa Springs State Park, Markham Tract

What is black and white and all over, as in all over one tree?

In close proximity to each other in one tree, there were two Carolina Chickadees (looked like they were copulating at one point), four Blackpoll Warblers and one Black-and-white Warbler.  A total of seven Blackpoll Warblers were in this general area, and there were at least four Carolina Chickadees and two Black-and-white Warblers.  Later, two Blue-gray Gnatcatchers flew in to break up the black and white show.

This angle from the underside shows the male Blackpoll Warbler's lateral throat stripe, pink legs and underside well.

This young Red-shouldered Hawk has a lot of learning to do ...

It tried to land on a young Longleaf Pine but had trouble getting a footing.  It finally figured out how to land but then took off  to grab some very small prey on the ground.  It proceeded to make three more quick attacks on the ground but grabbing prey that was very small, maybe bugs it gulped them so fast.  It looked like it was using up far more energy flying and attacking than what it was getting from its hunting--bigger prey will be on the menu soon if it hopes to survive.  The rufous shoulder seems more intense than most young of this species and the white crescent on the wing tips shows well.

23 Apr 2013, Mead Gardens

Re-visited the same location this morning, as did some migrants.  Or, was it a new batch of migrants replacing the old?

 Like yesterday, both male and female Cape May Warblers were present, as were the ...

Black-and white Warblers.  While watching two Black-and-white Warblers, a Blackpoll Warbler landed just above one of them.  I saw two brilliant male Indigo Buntings as well as females.  After seeing a good number of male Common Yellowthroats, a female finally showed and American Redstarts were plentiful.  The female Northern Flicker was hanging around the same territory but there was no sign of a male.  A thrush of the genus Catharus was seen but too briefly to make an ID.  More Ovenbirds were in the gardens today than yesterday.  I saw a female yesterday, and today I saw the male ...

 American Goldfinch.  They must have had a lover's spat since they were widely separated from each other.

22 Apr 2013, Mead Gardens

Anytime you can see an Ovenbird up off the ground and its clutter makes for a lucky day.

American Redstarts, both male and female, were in the swamp and Boardwalk area.  Near this Ovenbird, a Black-and-white Warbler was foraging, and near that warbler was a female Northern Flicker.  Ellen and Marcus reported Blackpoll Warblers from the other side of the gardens near the azaleas but I failed to find them.

The migrant of the day ...

 ... was the Black-throated Blue Warbler with multiple sightings near the boardwalk. 

I counted at least three male Cape May Warblers.  Marcus got the better photo of one of these guys but still it was my best to date for this species.

The female Cape May Warblers were close by the males feeding in the same flock.

I had to ignore this Prairie Warbler for a while because there was some good bird activity nearby.  You know you are having a good day birding when you say to the bird, "give me a minute, I'll be back to you in just a bit".

The Carolina Wren never seems to smile much; this one looks angry about something; maybe the ant tickling him on his belly will get him to smile.

A Florida Box Turtle made sure the reptiles were included in the photo spread.

Give a gift of a camera this graduation season.  It may start a lifelong passion of nature for a loved one.

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