Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Snail Kite at Babcock/Webb WMA

 Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis) seen 5/2/2017 at the Babcock/ Webb WMA in Punta Gorda, Florida.
Female? Or maybe a juvenile?

 Not a great photo....into the sun...but shows the downward curve of the wings.  This tropical bird is found in the U.S. only in southern Florida.....and Punta Gorda would be at the northern edge of it's range.

Wikipedia map

Olivia Scott photo

Olivia Scott photo
This close-up shows the specialized bill for feeding on apple snails.  The Sibley Guide says the Marsh Hawk can be mistaken for a Snail Kite....but the bills are a key.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Greater Coucal: Spirit of the Tropical Garden

During my many stays at the Furama Resort Danang I have heard a haunting bird call from the high tree canopy of the lush tropical garden.  Only my most recent stay was I lucky to get a quick view of the bird responsible...the Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis).

This shy crow sized member of the cuckoo family (Cuculidae), is rarely seen, but it's haunting call is often heard...

Widespread and of least concern throughout Asia, they are commonly called the Crow Pheasant and their deep calls are associated with spirits and omens in many versions of Asian folklore. 
The Furama is a wonderful resort on the site of the old "China Beach" R&R Center and has many memories for vets like me.  Then it was a respite from combat it is a restful and luxurious home away from home for Vets With a Mission teams after working in the mountains and countryside.

A quiet place to sit and listen to the the lagoon pool in the midst of the tropical early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Papilio polytes: Common Mormon Butterfly

 This tropical swallowtail, Papilio polytes, or Common Mormorn butterfly is widely distributed across Asia.
It mimics the toxic species Red-bodied Swallowtails (Pachiopta polydorous) and several other red- bodied and inedible species.
This mimicry is evident in the female which is polymorphic...
wiki photo

This beautiful female was seen nectaring in the tropical garden of the Furama Resort Danang, Vietnam
Proof is, as always, in the binomial ....  Papilio means butterfly in Greek ... polytes means many.  Thus Mormon is reference to the practice of many different wives! 
Lots of interesting things to see when traveling....keep your eyes open and camera ready!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sleepy Barred Owl

 Barred Owl (Stryx varia)  here caught sleeping in Port Charlotte, Florida.

Sleeping now....but active at night!

Normally found in dense forest, this one was napping in a small suburban park (Kiwanis Park) in Port Charlotte.

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 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 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 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 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 just might see an Ani!