Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Awww....a new year, a new beginning - don't you just love the possibilities that are associated with the New Year? For one thing - I get to start fresh with my bird list and with more knowledge under my belt - who knows where that will take me....I am eager, able and willing - so, let's go!
Today began with a drive through the Wildlife Drive of Ding Darling with my husband, what a great way to start the day. 
The White Pelicans welcomed us with open bills.

The Blue-winged Teals on the other hand were busy feeding and paid us no attention.

The Red-breasted Merganser entertained us with its diving and dashing moves.

It was pretty overcast this morning but not enough to keep us from viewing 100s of birds....each white dots represents a bird, some are pink aka Roseate Spoonbills.

Some White Ibis - adults, juveniles, immatures - as well as a Great Blue Heron and 2 Great Egrets in this frame.

3 White Pelicans gossiping about the Great Egret.

The Male Hooded Merganser was feasting on shrimps - yum, my favorite seafood.

Reddish Egret - aka "Ding" was spotted too, can you see its antenna? It is a great tracking device which is solar operated - quite useful to keep tabs on where it goes. (My E-Bird List for Ding Darling)

It was time to head home and get some breakfast, on the way we made a quick visit to see the Bald Eagle - I was glad to see that it was still there.

Then it was time for my roving shift at the Bailey Tract - an interesting afternoon this turned out to be. My first contact was with the Stokes - Lillian was sporting her bright colors and she reminded me of a beautiful Painted Bunting - meant with admiration. I also bumped into Elaine Jacobson and we chatted about birding, vegetation, Audubon, warblers, lectures etc....a lively conversation. While we were parting ways we could hear the chatter of....

a Bald Eagle - I believe he might have been defending his territory as he kept chasing a younger Bald Eagle away. Onward and forward, I chatted with several people along the trail answering their questions and pointing them to the last Alligator sighting spot. A bit later I bumped into Ed - another Ding Darling Volunteer - who eagerly shared his discovery of a....

Polyphemus Moth Nest - what an incredible find! The Polyphemus Moth is one of our biggest moths, growing up to a 5 1/2 inch wingspan. These moths are usually found in forests, but can also be seen in marshes and parks. In the caterpillar stage, when ready, it wraps itself in a leaf and builds a cocoon with silk from its mouth. Look how well disguised the cocoon is within the vegetation! Thanks Ed for sharing and for opening up new knowledge.

As I was reflecting to myself that I was seeing more people (101) than bird species (28), a pretty Frittilary Butterfly fluttered by - making me smile and reminding me that "Life is Good". Soon after, fast wings past me and landed in a nearby tree.....

"Sweet! an Orange-crowned Warbler". A small warbler with sharply pointed bill, subtle and blurry streaking, pale patch at bend in wing and a longish dark tail. Its good ID point is that it is "drab and very low contrast" (The Warbler Guide).

It might have been busy with foot/bicycle traffic but a few hours on the trail beats anything else hands down. My E-Bird List for the Bailey Tract.


  1. Another reason I so enjoy looking at your bird blog "you never now what you will see." More photos of the white pelicanšŸ˜. Then the great blue heron (my dad) then the bald eagle...