For those who may be new to my Blog I spend many of my days in the field at Green Cay Wetlands in Boynton Beach Florida. This is my “home patch” and since it’s only 2 1/2 miles from my house it is also very convenient on days that I have to work. Green Cay is still less than 10 years old and I am continually amazed at the variety of amphibian, mammal and bird species and the different interaction that we see among them all.
Predation is quite a common sight in the marsh and it’s not uncommon to see a bird with a frog, fish or snake for breakfast. I’ve witnessed turtles and alligators catching birds and mammals and I’ve witnessed Bobcats catching rats and birds. It’s the circle of life and while it’s not always pretty it’s a lot like a traffic accident where no matter how hard you try not to look … you’re still going to look.
Today I saw a Bobcat catch and dispatch a Great Egret. The series of pictures I took showed just how quick and effective of a hunter they are. The picture is not that gory but may be disturbing to some so I just wanted to give fair warning. I’ll post it at the end of the blog so if you don’t want to see it stop after I give the next warning!
Many birders and photographers marvel at how “tame” the birds are if Florida and it’s hard to disagree when we have birds that rarely if ever show themselves posing for us. Most of this is due to the constant steam of walkers and tourist that acclimate the birds to humans and as much as we hate the loud talking and the bouncing boardwalk it does allow us some fantastic closeups.
The Gray Catbird is a Winter resident at Green Cay. In Nov/Dec when they show up you are lucky to even get a glimpse of one but as the season progresses they find out that there is no harm from us and start to become nice subjects to photograph.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds Winter in Florida also but this year we did not have any regulars. With migration starting we have had a slow but steady stream of Hummers visiting the Butterfly garden and I finally managed an OK shot of a nice male showing where he got his name from.
Talk of migration in Florida is usually dominated by the returning Warblers and other songbirds. Often overlooked are the migrating shorebirds that are also returning from their Southern Winter homes. So far this Winter I had only seen 2-3 Wilson Snipes and they were all flying away. Well, the last couple of days there have been a huge influx with at least a dozen or more Snipe a fe Lesser Yellowlegs, some Least Sandpipers and a few Solitary sandpipers all concentrated on the North end of the boardwalk. Yesterday a Northern Harrier flew over and flushed them all which was a really cool sight to see.
Migration also brings us birds in or nearly in complete breeding plumage. The Warblers are all getting ready to mate and breed so the males are all decked out in their splendor. The Tanagers are going from their Greenish colors back to their Scarlet and Reds. We often don’t think of Gulls and Terns in this context but the other day at the beach I saw this Laughing Gull who was as decked out as any I’ve seen.
Ok, that’s it for the birds and as I told you that I would give you a warning before posting the Bobcat predation picture.
Warning!! Predation picture!
The entire event … from when the Bobcat pounced on the bird to when he drug the now deceased Egret back into the reeds took less than a minute. Talk about being in the right place at the right time and I was even fortunate enough to have the sun behind me. The circle of life continues…
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