state park on a peninsula between the Gulf and St. Joseph Bay. We hoped to see lots of shore birds given all that habitat, but it ended up being a big raptor day instead. We were greeted by one Bald Eagle in a tree, and later her mate came to join her. We even got to walk around in short sleeves with no jackets for the first time this week!
Friday, November 21, 2014
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
|Sea Turtle Snorting Water|
|Otto - Sea Lion|
Whenever we come to the shore, the Pelicans are my favorite birds.
I could sit all day watching them glide in formation. Have you ever noticed they they use synchronized flying? The front bird raises his wings, followed by the second, then the third. And how do they fly so close to the waves without getting their wingtips wet?
If you asked, I would discuss their feeding habits with confidence. They dive into the water to catch fish, then sit there for a bit to swallow, right? Well, this trip I've learned something else. We saw one just sitting on the water...
...Then it lifted a bit and I saw a fish in its mouth! Look closely and you can see it.
Another wing flap, tip the head up, and watch that fish slide down the gullet! Pretty cool!
Sometimes, you can look at them in flight, and see a kinship to pteradactyls. After all, they say birds are descended from dinosaurs!
Monday, November 17, 2014
The Conservation Park sounded good, and the map showed lots of ponds and wetlands. Unfortunately, the wetlands were full of bushes and trees in shallow standing water, so there was no place for any water fowl at all. The field guide describes the Brown-headed Nuthatch as a bird of the Southern pine lands, and we realized that's where we've always seen them. This little guy enjoyed standing in the warm sunshine.
A Red-bellied Woodpecker searched the cracks and crevasses of a dead pine branch searching for insects. The park is actually planted with young pine trees in rows, and part of it was closed for a few weeks while they harvest the older trees. Doesn't quite sound like a "park" to me.
|Southern Leopard Frog|
A few insects chirped in the brush, but everything else was quiet in the cold. One Leopard Frog decided he could warm up faster by sitting on the white sand of the roadway. He wasn't afraid of us a bit!
Down the road we found Lake Powell and Camp Helen State Park just as the shadows started to lengthen. The firm sand is perfect for walking on, even wearing shoes. I love the Pelicans, and will do a separate blog post about them, no doubt.
|Bald Eagle on the Beach|
As we turned back, I focused on a dark blob sitting on the sand.OMG! It's a Bald Eagle! I've seen them around the ocean before, but never actually sitting on the sand. Looks like a teenager - maybe 4 1/2 years old, and just growing his white head.
When he flew off, you could see the brown and white mottling, normally found in immature eagles. Anyway, it was a good afternoon.