Catching Up!

Lots and lots of birding this last week has been good for my year count but not so good for my blogging or Flickr postings.  I guess I’ll catch up sometime, next year!!! 

Saturday I had the privilege of birding a good portion of the day with three friends.  Alan, Ruth, Linda and I started at Station 1 East with the Everglades chapter of the Audubon Society.  The water was a little to high so there were only a few shorebirds to be seen.  We did see many Purple Swamphens and many Ospreys.

(Clicking on any picture will resize it and sharpen it for your screen)

This image doesn’t even do justice to the numbers of birds in this one field. Imagine another image to the right and to the left, there were that many birds!!

We then went on a trip looking around many of the normally good birding spots in Western Palm Beach County.  The farmers are about 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule this year in draining the water from the fields.  We had a difficult time finding any large groups of shorebirds but did find this field with just an amazing number of Waders and over 50 White Pelicans.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper … This is the 202nd species I’ve seen and photographed this year in Palm Beach County Florida!

I next took the group out to some sod fields on US 700.  I had initially seen these fields when visiting the Cliff Swallow nests back in June.  I had kept them in mind to look at for “Grasspipers” and today it paid off with multiple Upland Sandpipers and a couple of Buff-breasted Sandpipers.  Unfortunately the birds were way, way out in the field and while I had decent scope views my picture leaves a lot to be desired.  The Upland is on the left and the Buff-breasted on the right.  The smaller size and Rufous front are solid field marks for the Buff-breasted.

Loggerhead Shrike

On the road leading out of the sod fields was a plowed field that we stopped at and looked at a couple dozen Pectoral Sandpipers and a lone Ruddy Turnstone.  While we were watching them this Loggerhead Shrike flew in with a Mole Cricket and proceeded to swallow it whole.

Pectoral Sandpiper

We visited the Barn Owl roost on Browns Farm road where we saw 3-4 Owls.  We tried a couple of more fields with limited success.  We did have a lone Pectoral Sandpiper on Sam Senter Road that was as cooperative a subject as I’ve had.  He must have been finding lots to eat and refused to leave the water lettuce.

I had a wonderful day with some great people and while we didn’t have an epic day of birding we did see some cool stuff and I did manage to add a new year bird.

Prothonotary Warbler … This is the 203rd species I’ve seen and photographed this year in Palm Beach County Florida!

The last two days I’ve spent at the Green Cay Wetlands.  There has been a nice group of Warblers and a young Orchard Oriole hanging out back in the Chickee Hut woods.  We’ve had Black and White, Yellow-throated, Praire, Northern Parula, American Redstart and best of all a Prothonotary Warbler.  I’ve seen one once before at Green Cay and and extremely thankful to get one for my big year.

Orchard Oriole … This is the 204th species I’ve seen and photographed this year in Palm Beach County Florida!

The Orchard Oriole was also a new bird for the year and also a new one for my Green Cay list.  It’s been hanging out for a couple of days and while it normally feeds high in the canopy I have been able to grab a picture or two as it feeds on the ripe berries.

American Alligator

I’ve seen literally 100’s of Alligators in my years romping around South Florida and usually don’t bother taking their pictures but this one had just lunged out of the water and had caught my attention.  It was posing so nicely and the lighting was perfect so I just had to take its picture.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck … Another one for my Mug-shots folder!

One advantage of Green Cay is that the birds are really acclimated to humans and allow for very close approaches.  This Black-bellied Whistling Duck sits on the railing most mornings and as long as you don’t try to touch it, it won’t fly away.  It may be hard to see here but the reflection in his eye shows off the boardwalk and the clouds in the background.

Thank you all for visiting and I do appreciate any and all  comments!!!

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About sheriffsmith

I have worked for the Broward County Sheriff's Office the last 13 years and spend most of my free time birdwatching / naturewatching and photographing the birds and nature that I encounter. I believe God has blessed us with a world that is so absolutely fascinating and wonderful and I'm doing my best to discover and show others all that he has provided us with in nature.
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4 Responses to Catching Up!

  1. Deb Platt says:

    I especially loved your photo of the Pectoral Sandpiper amidst the water lettuce. And that Loggerhead Shrike with the mole cricket? Very nice!

  2. Terri says:

    That is the best pic of a shrike I have seen honey! So clear – wonder why he didn’t impale it…wow – all those birds – amazing!!!!!!

  3. Cindy says:

    You never cease to amaze me little brother! I love following your blog now!

  4. More beautiful shots as usual, Tom! I am truly amazed at your wide array of birds in your area, most that I have never seen before. I see the boardwalk & clouds reflecting in the duck’s eye, awesome!

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