Swallow-tailed Kite

My last post shared my added lifer, #202 the Burrowing Owl, from yesterday morning.

Would you believe I saw another lifer within a half hour of the Burrowing Owl?  I did!!   😊

Welcome to my lifer list, #203 the Swallow-tailed Kite!  I have seen these beautiful aerial acrobats in flight several times in the last couple months but was never able to stop and get a photograph.

This time a Swallow-tailed Kite wasn’t in flight, but perched right alongside the road for me to see AND where there was ample space to pull over.  My adrenaline was a-pumping!

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Swallow-tailed Kite

 

The kite was performing it’s morning yoga wing stretching……

 

….fluffin’ up and tail stretching.

 

 

I departed with a big thank you and huge smile, leaving the Swallow-tailed Kite to its morning ritual.

Two new lifers within a half hour, what a great morning!

 

 

Burrowing Owl

Florida’s dwindling population of Burrowing Owls are having trouble finding homes.  These pint-sized owls were listed as threatened in 2017 by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Marco Island and Cape Coral on Florida’s Gulf Coast hosts Florida’s largest urban Burrowing Owl populations.  Approximately 500 Burrowing Owls live on Marco Island with about 95% of them living on vacant lots.

In January 2020, the Marco Island City Council agreed to set aside $5,000 every year to pay residents $250 who agree to host burrows in their yard for these vulnerable birds.  Wildlife crews will dig the holes, and then it’s up to the owls to move in.  From 2017 to 2019, almost 100 burrows were dug with Burrowing Owl residency occurring in about 1/3 of them so far.  How cool is that!

 

After my two previous visits and no sightings to one of their already established and protected grounds, this morning I was able to finally see and photograph my first Burrowing Owl.

Yes, another lifer for me; thank you #202, the Burrowing Owl!

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Burrowing Owl habitat – can you spot the single owl?  (dead center)

 

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Burrowing Owl

 

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Burrowing Owl on guard at the entrance of its burrow

 

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Burrowing Owl

 

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Burrowing Owl

 

See all the white spots around the owl’s burrow?  It is shredded toilet paper!

Per “Owl Watch,” a volunteer-run group under the management of Audubon of the Western Everglades’ statement, “Looking for toilet paper? Ask the owls – looks like this pair has plenty!  Burrowing owls decorate their burrows at the start of nesting season as part of their courtship, using whatever materials they can find around their burrows. This owl seems to have found a stockpile of toilet paper to shred and display!”

I hope that rose a chuckle from you in these trying, empty-shelf times.  😊

 

 

Series: Take A Moment and Enjoy A Sunset

Time to unwind from the day…..

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Sunset over the Barron River

 

“When your world moves too fast and you lose yourself in the chaos, introduce yourself to each color of the sunset.” – Christy Ann Martine

 

 

Black-crowned Night Heron

Not only did I get great opportunities with the Warblers I shared in my last post, I felt very lucky spotting this Black-crowned Night Heron hiding on the tree branch over the water.

I’ve never had one of these herons pose so nicely for me instead of jumping/flapping away!

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Black-crowned Night Heron

 

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Black-crowned Night Heron – Closeup #1

 

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Black-crowned Night Heron – Closeup #2

 

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Black-crowned Night Heron’s feet

 

A nice view of their backside of feather coloring.

 

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Black-crowned Night Heron’s backside

 

Some of my shots had him/her starting to droop its eyes for a nap.  Mid-day….yep….nap time!

 

 

Three Warblers

I photographed these three warblers yesterday morning along a new location ventured, the scenic (dirt) Loop Road in Big Cypress National Preserve.  The best part?  One is another new bird for me.  😊

Welcome #201, the Black-and-white Warbler.

 

Black-and-white Warbler

 

My other two warblers aren’t newbies but both were a delight to hear and see.

A single Prairie Warbler; whew, I got lucky with just one good photo.

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Prairie Warbler

 

Getting to experience again a flock of Northern Parulas moving high through a tree canopy, foraging and singing beautifully, was pretty awesome.   Again, I got lucky as warblers do not stay still!

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Northern Parula feeding on a Cardinal air plant

 

 

Northern Parula singing

 

Warblers are a delight!

And so wasn’t the Loop Road that had many more wonderful photo opportunities.  🙂

 

 

Pileated Woodpecker

Sometimes my get-around choice for birding when we’re RVing is a relaxing ride in my birding-mobile (golf cart) with cameras in tow, enjoying the scenery and looking for the ‘locals’.

Early this morning, I ventured off this way to see who I could find around Everglades City (golf carts allowed everywhere except Rt 29, how cool!).

One of the ‘locals’ that love the palm trees is the Pileated Woodpecker.

These are photos of a male, identified differently from the female by the red stripe on his cheek.

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Pileated Woodpecker (male)

 

Flash back in time.  Do you remember the cartoon character, Woody Woodpecker?  He was created by Walter Lantz and designed after the Pileated Woodpecker.

 

 

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Pileated Woodpecker (male)

 

Yep, took those two photos from my birding-mobile!  It’s been a couple years since I last shared a photo.  I love and have a lot of fun with it; and as long as I don’t get off, the birds aren’t bothered any more than with a car.

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Donna’s birding cart

 

Can you see me cruisin’ the streets, looking for the ‘locals’?  😊

I hope I made you chuckle!  Now go have one of those silly, crazy, Woody Woodpecker kind of days….  Wha ha hahaha! Wha ha hahaha! Hahahahahahahaha!

 

Southern Stingray

Looking down into the clear water while walking along a dock provided an amazing sighting for us, a Southern Stingray.

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Southern Stingray

 

Southern Stingrays have a wingspan of up to 6 1/2 feet.  This one was about 3-4 feet across and showed a cut injury on one wing.

 

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Southern Stingray

 

The Southern Stingray has a venomous barb on its tail that it whips up when it feels threatened by a predator.

 

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Southern Stingray “Waving Goodbye”

 

How beautiful it was as it glided through the water and away!

 

 

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