White-winged Doves at Feeder

Are you all participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend?

I did my count today, bird watching from my patio, under a blanket because it was cold down here in South Florida!

I watched for 70 minutes and saw 20 species for a total of 64 individual birds. I counted 10 muscovy ducklings but the great blue heron ate two before the day was done. Boo! He managed to fly out to the lake and land on one that got separated, floating like a swan for a few seconds which shocked me as I had never seen one do that before. But then momma muscovy flew in and started to attack him from behind, chasing him out of the water and lo and behold, the little muscovy survived to join his siblings. I had to save one of them the other day who got stuck on the wrong side of the house and was separated once again. Sigh. The ducklings give me such stress! Here is a little video of the white-winged doves at the feeder (who also get eaten occasionally by hawks) :

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Everglades Birding Festival

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Everglades Birding Festival. I ended up going on the South Dade Exotics and the Upper Keys Natural Adventure field trips.  In those two days I saw 46 species and ticked off 9 new lifers! Although I don’t have pictures of everything I saw, here are my favorites:

Red-Masked Parakeet, #336

Red-Masked Parakeet, #336

White-crowned Pigeon Pair, #337

White-crowned Pigeon Pair, #337

La Sagra's Flycatcher

La Sagra’s Flycatcher, #338

Chuck-will's-widow, #340

Chuck-will’s-widow, #340

Red-bellied Woodpecker, female

Red-bellied Woodpecker, female

Yellow-chevroned Parakeet, #339

Yellow-chevroned Parakeet, #339

Ruddy Turnstone, juvenile

Ruddy Turnstone, juvenile

Ruddy Turnstones

Ruddy Turnstones

Black-crowned Night Heron, juvenile

Black-crowned Night Heron, juvenile

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

All in all, it was a fun couple of days and I’m looking forward to the next festival and in the meantime, more birding around South Florida!

Savannah Sparrows

This past weekend Lita and I went birding on Merritt Island. It was really windy and quite chilly. That made for a great opportunity to snap some Savannah Sparrows that were warming up in the parking area of Black Point. They let us get within a couple of feet so we got down on our bellies and shot them at their level. They are tiny little things, just under 5 inches. Although I only added the Hooded Merganser to my life list, I did see tons of species and got some great shots of birds that I didn’t have pictures of. Plus, I shared a connected moment with a Scrub Jay and almost got eaten by a gator. That made for a magical weekend!

Wintering in Florida. Officially a snow bird! 😉

The Over-the-shoulder Model pose

The Over-the-shoulder Model pose

Field marks: pink feet, yellow spot before the eye, streaky breast, small head, notched tail.

Girl Birder checks out a Bald Eagle.

Girl Birder checks out a Bald Eagle.

 

Glossy Ibis in Breeding Colors

What a beauty!

What a beauty!

Taken on Merritt Island, Florida last winter. Looking forward to this years birding trip! Click on image to appreciate this stunner!

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2014! May it be filled with birdy blessings and love!

Welcome to 2014! May it be filled with birdy blessings and love!

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2014!

I wanted to share my bird-related haul from the Christmas season. Some of these I received as gifts and others I bought myself because well, you know…it’s hard to resist something with a bird on it! 😉

Birdy Scores!

Birdy Scores!

I got three calendars: The National Audubon Society BIRDS calendar. This is a daily calendar and I had it for the first time this past year. I like to slowly lift the page each day and try to guess the bird before revealing the species title. I’m pretty good until I get to birds in Africa.

Also for the second year in a row, I received the Audubon Songbirds calendar. This is a great calendar with a different bird shown for each day and all the pictures are gorgeous.

The last calendar, which I purchased is called Garden of Plumes. I thought it was beautiful and it will hang in the art room to inspire my bird-themed digital art.

I stumbled upon this unique book in Barnes & Noble on New Years Eve: WORDBIRDS: An Irreverent Lexicon for the 21st Century. It’s quite creative, humorous AND there are awesome birdy illustrations inside!

While at DisneyWorld earlier in December, I just had to have the MINE! MINE! coffee mug from Finding Nemo. It’s so cute and it reminds me not to share my stuff! haha! Just kidding! Maybe. No really, I’m a very good sharer! 😉 I got a tee-shirt to match which I will wear on my upcoming birding trip to Merritt Island.

I have to thank my friend Nichole for the perfectly pocket-sized birdy checklist notebook! She also gave me a coffee mug with a beautiful bird illustrated on it. Thanks Nichole!

Rounding out the haul were hummingbird notecards, owl napkins, birdy sticky notes and the cutest Snoopy birdwatching ornament from my dad. Now that was a fun December!

But now, it’s onto more important stuff like actual birding! Holidays are done, winter is here and it’s time to go bird! See you soon with images!

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas!

Happy New Year!

Sorry I’ve been off the grid this month…it’s been so busy and unfortunately, none of it bird related. Boo-hoo!

I’m looking forward to posting more fabulous birding images and birdy finds soon.

I have several birding trips in January scheduled and hoping to add new birds to the life list and share the experience with all of you!

Until then, enjoy this little watercolor I did for you all!

Birdy Blessings!

Laura

Mottled Duck

Snapped in my backyard. What a showoff! Click on the image to see a larger version.

Yes, I know I'm beautiful!

Yes, I know I’m beautiful!

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Female

She suddenly showed up for a split second while I was shooting the blue jay pics. I got one shot off and this was it!

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Female

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Female

My Little Family of Blue Jays

Peanut Duel

Peanut Duel

I have a family of five blue jays. I had a pair that had four babies that fledged in my garden last spring. They would bring them everyday from the nest to my fenced-in side garden, which is also canopied by a sky vine draped over a strawberry guava tree. It offered protection as they were trying to learn to use their wings. They would fall asleep a lot those first few weeks, waking up and squawking when mom and dad came by with food. Both parents would feed all day long. I got nothing done during that time, distracted by the activities of this little family.  I would sneak into the garden and take pictures of them. They didn’t seem to mind. Unfortunately one of them didn’t make it, but three survived and I named them Poppi, Oliver and Marco. That was ten months ago and now they are all grown, zipping around the neighborhood together. I can no longer tell them apart by their markings except for Poppi who always comes the closest and will almost eat from my hand. Peanuts are preferred of course, but they also love almonds. The other day I slipped outside with my camera, filled a stake feeder with peanuts and sat down to snap away. So, here ya go…my little family of blue jays as babies and having some fun at the feeder!

Feeding Time

Feeding Time

Happy, Sleepy Fledgling

Happy, Sleepy Fledgling

Showin' off the Crop

Showin’ off the Crop

Let's Play Hide the Tail!

Let’s Play Hide the Tail!

Wing Display

Wing Display

Livin' on the Edge

Livin’ on the Edge

Ready for Takeoff!

Ready for Takeoff!

Anybody Want a Peanut?

Anybody Want a Peanut?

Now that's a Cropful!

Now that’s a Cropful!

Poppi the Blue Jay

Poppi the Blue Jay

The Old Crow

The old crow knows. What, I cannot say. But he knows.

The old crow knows. What, I cannot say. But he knows.