Monday, January 23, 2017

Woodpecker Wake Up with FWC!


As part of Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) 75th Anniversary Celebration, a biologist guided birding field trip was held at the Babcock-Webb WMA in Punta Gorda.  It began with a pre-dawn rendezvous and a van ride to a Red-cockaded Woodpecker colony....hopefully to see these rare and endangered bird leave their night roosting cavities.





Wikipedia Photo
The Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) is a habitat specialist in our rapidly diminishing southern pine forests.


 It was a cool and very foggy dawn in the pines.....

World hushed in silence
          Birds unable to keep still…
             The chorus of dawn

                a Haiku by Helen Manassian Ghali




Slash pine (Pinus elliottii) forest is one of several habitats at "The Webb,"  but certainly the most intriguing on a foggy morning.



Four biologists, 16 enthusiasts, and a million dollar's worth of cameras and optics!  Very, very "birdy."



Getting light....bird peeping out...it seems curious about all the activity.  Small bird....will leave the roost in a flash and go off foraging for a breakfast of ants and beetles.
Patience....tripod, monopod....and more patience.



 Peek a Boo....through the misty fog.

We were watching an artificial cavity....as one of the biologists had seen a bird enter it last evening.  There are several colonies of RCWs at the Webb...lots of natural cavities and some improved by the studying biologists.







 Not the best photo day for me....below is a post I did last May (2016) during nesting season.  The birds were feeding young and stayed close-by while foraging.








Want to know more about the Red-cockaded Woodpecker?  You can get a copy of McFarlane's book on Amazon.com for a penny and postage.


Audubon painting of RCW.  Binomial naming was by Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot in 1809.


You can visit this RCW colony....just off the Oil Well Grade at the Babcock-Webb WMA.


Many thanks to Florida's WMA biologists who were knowledgeable, friendly and provided a great outing for us "birders."

Monday, January 16, 2017

Ani and the Big Dog!

 Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani).

Facebook's SW Florida Bird Alert "WENT HOT" with recent reports of a Smooth-billed Ani seen at the north end of Ft Desoto Park, a barrier island in Pinellas County, Florida.


This is a tropical bird, in the cuckoo family, seen only in south Florida...and rarely in SW Florida....so the report sent us off to Ft Desoto



 This multi-use park has 1,136 acres with 7 miles of beachfront....and an impressive 326 species bird list!





 Here is "The Big Dog".....Liv's Nikon P900 with 83x telephoto.  Great for a rare bird outing when you don't want to carry a 50lb lens and tripod.
The lead pic on this post was taken (hand held) at 428mm (that's 2000mm equivalent 35mm film), 1/500 sec, f6.5, ISO 150.



 Above is a crop up taken with my Nikon D330 with 70-200mm zoom.  Taken at 200mm, 1/640, f 6.3, ISO 200.






 Same photo as above before the crop up.  You just cannot beat "Nikon glass."



 The P900 has a view finder, but here Liv uses the screen.



 A couple of more Ani shots.  Wonder if this one is a stray or a pioneer of a colonization?
Taken a bit closer to the bird with the Big Dog.  321mm, 1/500 sec, f 6.3, ISO 160.


 152mm, 1/500 sec, f 5.6, ISO 110.




 The monopod was a great idea...of course we left ours in the car!!



 Always a great day at Ft Desoto....whether birding, biking, fishing, paddling, picnicking, or beaching!




Mid January!  No ice, no snow....just sunshine and miles of beach.
Come on down....you just might see an Ani!





Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sandwich Tern

 Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis) is one of six species of crested tern.  Spotted here in Punta Gorda....slender black bill with yellow tip.


I suspect this is one of the southern and Caribbean subspecies, Sterna sanvicensis acuflavida.  


Although not uncommon, and of least concern....I rarely see them among the SW Florida terns.