Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year to all!

Wow, can you believe it....another year has arrived...where does the time go?? I know personally that since I started birding that time seems to fly as I'm enthralled with each day as well as the promises of new adventures.
And...since I keep reporting my sighting to e-bird, it also means that the year list start anew....the race is on, here we go!
I hooked up with my friend Elaine and we started the day at the Shipley Trail - it was bright and early, humid and very warm. We spent some time observing this young Woodstork and also had the good fortune of seeing two Bald Eagle mating - I'd say that was a great way to start the New Year.

My E-Bird List for the Shipley Trail and My E-Bird List for the Bailey Tract. I saw a lot more birds than I took pictures this time around - in any event it was a great way to start the day. 
 Then, or course, another day comes along and more birds to be seen - I returned to the Bailey Tract bright and early with double duties this time, other than keeping my eyes open for the birds I am also looking for Coyote scats. You see, we have a growing Coyote population on our island and the University of Georgia has enlisted the help of local volunteers to collect scat from different locations with the aim of studying the DNA and figuring out how many families we are dealing with. Those Coyotes have been feasting on Sea Turtle eggs during the summer and have eliminated our Least Tern nesting population. In any event - I found no scat this morning and few bird sightings - but oh - look at the promises of this brand new day!

On my way out of the Bailey Tract, this female Common Yellowthroat bid me farewell. My 29 species E-Bird List for the Bailey Tract. Then I'm off to the Wildlife Drive in Ding Darling. gotta love those pink Roseate Spoonbills and how they brighten up the day.

A young Raccoon along the drive was poking his nose in the dirt - probably looking for some small insects. This Raccoon did not look well and was moving rather slowly.

I arrived at the Tower - the tide had been coming in for at least 3 hours according to the tide chart - but there was still enough low areas for several shorebirds to rest/eat/preen. The Reddish Egret "Ding" always draws plenty of attention.

The White Pelicans always take my breath away with their size and majestic look.

As I'm watching I see in the corner of my eye something come for a landing - I look and I look again - sure enough it's a.....

Redhead! How about that sighting!

This is not a common duck at Ding Darling - this is a treat and it will go nicely on my new list.

The sun is bright and the view is just fabulous.

Try these on for size - White Pelican versus Brown Pelican.

The Redhead found the Blue-winged Teals and stayed close by.

A preened Pelican is a beautiful Pelican....

well technically their lives depend on it - those feathers are their lively hood - without them they can't be flying or dive for food so it's important to keep those feathers in tiptop shape.

More White Pelicans coming in....

"Oh look guys, Thelma and Louise have arrived".

One big happy family.

The triple notes that I had heard previously had made me think of the Greater Yellowlegs....and sure enough...

here they are - two of them among the Willets...

Look at the size difference between the Yellowleg and the Willet - amazing!

Well, folks, I'd say this was a great start into the New Year - more to many many birds and so little time....I'm already looking forward to tomorrow....stay tuned!       My E-Bird List for Ding Darling Wildlife Drive.


  1. Hi France--great to travel along with you, as always. Something you said--in Sarasota, on
    Siesta Key, our least tern colony also failed this spring. There were about 30 nests, with lots
    of activity, and then one morning as we came upon the site--silence. Such a disappointment.
    You're thinking coyotes--the Audubon year- end magazine I just got blamed Fish Crows for
    the failure of the nests at Marco Island. We've even wondered if the posts used to hold the
    cordons marking off the area gave the crows perches from which to harass the sitting hens.
    Was it dogs? Raccoons? Coyotes (I don't know if they are on Siesta Key yet)? Such a loss!

    1. Path, SCCF and Ding Darling have installed motion detection camera and it is because of those equipment that we have more answers to some of the wild things happening on our island. It was heart breaking to see coyotes snatching sea turtle hatchlings as they were emerging from the nest - one after another, after another. Yikes!

  2. Awesome captures here! I initially noticed your "birds eating fish" shots. The female anhinga once looked like it has a hugehuge staring down its captor's throat here! So could the bird really manage to win the struggle and gulp that whole thing down entirely okay?? Does the fish put up a good fight, if eaten, does the unlucky fish get swallowed wriggling all the way as well?!

    Also was the heron able to swallow that entire gar too?