Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Wonderful World

Today started out as a regular day of waking up early, breathing deeply and heading to the Bailey Tract. A few of the regulars were around and I appreciated their presence....
The sun was about to rise and the Night Heron can be seen - what a beautiful glow on this Black-crowned Night Heron and check that red eye!

A bright eyed Red-Shouldered Hawk.

The Swallow-tailed Kites are still on the island - I had a count of 13 this morning, I will miss them when they head back to Brazil.

This Lily captured my attention with its simple purity, the water droplets drew me closer making me reflect on the sense of 'peace'.
Interestingly, later on I bumped into my friend Adele on the trail - she had many uplifting stories to share and she made my day really special that words can't hardly describe.
Thank YOU Adele for playing a big part in this "Wonderful World".

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Owls, frogs, crayfish - oh my!

What a beautiful morning this was - early enough so that it felt comfortable, light enough to see where I was going.
On my way to the Bailey Tract I encountered a few rain puddles and in one of them was a Screech Owl taking a bath - I wish it had been light enough to catch this treasure in a photo because it truly was a sweet sight. Shortly after I arrived at the trail and I was instantly greeted by a chorus of frogs - quite impressive....I love this time of the year - sure it's summer and it's hot but it sure holds plenty of surprises....come along and see.....
now, how do you like that? A Crayfish at the Bailey Tract (my first sighting at this location)! I watched it for a while and wondered why it kept its tail curved under and thought that perhaps it had been injured once upon a time - ha! - was I in for a surprise when I put the photo on my computer and realized that she was loaded with eggs! I read up on it and found that reproduction usually happens in the spring, sexual maturity is reached when crayfish are between 5 and 8 years old. During mating, the male deposits the sperm and guides it into the sperm receptacle of the female. After fertilization, the eggs remain attached to the mother's swimming appendages for anywhere from 2 to 20 weeks. Newly hatched young remain attached to the mother for several days more through a stalk. They shed their outer layer and lose their stalked connection with their mother. Still, they remain attached by clinging to her for up to 2 weeks. They eventually leave the mother temporarily and eventually leave permanently. Maturity is reached after they have shed their outer layer 6 to 10 times. Upon leaving the mother, they begin their adult life. Pretty interesting stuff!

After my frogs & crayfish fascination - I walked into the Bailey Tract and was greeted by the usual local resident - the Great Egret in the Ani Pond.

I walked through and headed to the Sanibel Garden Preserve to check on the Swallow-tailed Kites and I was not disappointed.....look how many were still roosting!

A very young gator was nearby - about a foot long at the most.

I walked another mile and found more views of the Swallow-tailed Kites....

just in time to see some of them take flight

while others watched.

I then ventured into a new trail and decided to

name it: The Cassia Lane.

After a bit I started my way back, I had to stop and admire this White Peacock butterfly - this particular one seemed to sport more blue hues than usual.

Several Mottled Ducks were spotted - obviously the young ones have now grown to full size.

A young Little Blue Heron - calico fashion.

A Green Heron right out in the open - perhaps he thought I might lead it to some crayfish.

One of the early shorebird arrival: A Spotted Sandpiper - no longer in breeding plumage - so no spots left.

On my way out  I searched for those singing frogs and I finally was able to see a couple...

some were more active....

than others. A great morning from top to bottom!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday's rituals

We had quite a few strong storms last night and some much needed rain too, this is welcomed as it cools the air some -  so, armed with my bins, camera and bug spray - I headed to the trails.... come along and see what was there....
One of the benefit of the lack of rain recently is that the ponds get very shallow, it brings the fish in a concentrated area and as such we get a gathering of the Egrets and Herons - sharing a meal together.

The Common Gallinule have been multiplying successfully this summer - I counted at least 20 this morning, most of them were immature.

A Juvenile Little Blue - it looks very elegant in this posture.

Summer also brings many more Magnificent Frigate birds in our area too and I love it - these two were quite a bit closer than usual.

Mr. Cardinal - looks like he's been around the block a few times.

A skip over to the Sanibel Garden Preserves - I found 4 Swallow-tailed Kites roosting.

And thank goodness I was looking down as I was walking along the pond otherwise I might have stepped over this very little turtle and that would have been horrible.

I have a dilemma as to whether this is a Slider or  a River Cooter - both species are in the Pond and Box Turtle Family. These are active mostly during the day and like to basks on logs.

Some of our White friends were around the corner - A Great Egret and Snowy Egrets.

I couldn't resist but admire this bright colorful bush filled with berries.

This Osprey was working the Smith Pond along the Bailey Tract Preserve - he gave me a funny look as he flew by.

And off he went to continue on with his fishing business.

I would have bypassed this colorful wild flower if it hadn't been for a tiny feather slowly floating down capturing my attention as it landed in it. There is so much to see and so little time to take it all in.

In some Mangrove recess, this Tri-colored Heron caught my eye making me think of a beautiful Monet painting.

This bird itself is worthy of an artist's paint brush.

Once again, it's been relaxing yet  an invigorating experience, at the same time it brought me much peace - I look forward to my next visit already. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

More snowy

I was doing turtle patrol duties when I came across this little family of Snowy Plover - I didn't have my zoom camera but needless to say the cute factor is still there.
This was mid-day, notice how the parent is shading her chicks....often time you can see the parent taking shade from 'protected area' posts.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Snowy Plover

A walk on the beach this evening brought me close to this little family of Snowy Plover - the chicks are two days old now.
The young first leave the nest 1-3 hours after hatching, stumbling as they walk and peck at food on the ground.

Subsequently they make longer, increasingly frequent foraging trips.

They walk, run and swim well and forage unassisted by parents....

but require periodic brooding for many days after hatching.

They blend really well to their surrounding - which is crucial for survival.

The two chicks are well taken care of, lets hope for the best.

Good luck little fellows.