|Black Skimmer Colony|
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Wednesday, December 09, 2015
|Flamingo filter feeding|
|Flamingo webbed feet|
Flamingo Gardens Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary gives residence to permanently injured and non-releasable birds and animals, and is home to the largest collection of Florida native wildlife- including alligators, bear, bobcats, eagles, otters, panthers, peacocks and flamingos! All the enclosures were large and clean. We walked through a large free-flight aviary with this sign on the door. #14 struck me as especially important!
Since I spend many hours cleaning bird poop at Raptor Rehab, I appreciated all the work it took for this. They had good representatives of the raptors, as well as Pelicans, Gulls, and other water birds. All the birds were busy preening, a sign of their good health.
Unfortunately, since these birds were in captivity, we can't honestly include them on our list for this trip, but it was still exciting to see them.
|Oz the Opossum|
Tuesday, December 08, 2015
|Little Blue Heron|
- Open pond water areas to attract waterfowl and diving birds
- Emergent marsh areas for rails, moorhens, and sparrows
- Shallow shelves for herons and egrets
- Islands with shrubs and snags to serve as roosting, nesting, and basking sites
- Forested wetland areas for long-term habitat development
|Anhinga with nesting material|
|Iguana in orange|
But we have been really surprised at all the iguanas! I posted about a green one the other day, but these huge iguanas were perched in the trees and bushes at the wetlands, advertising for a mate with bright orange spikes and feet! The three species of iguana found in Florida (Common Green Iguana, Mexican Spinytail Iguana, and Black Spinytail Iguana) have been around for decades. However, over the past few years, their populations have exploded.
It's sometimes hard to decide what to do about family in your vacation area. Should you go see them or not? We decided to drive on up to Palm Beach and visit. However, you have to be careful about getting too enthused about your own hobby. I'm never sure if they are really interested or just being polite when I talk about birds. However, when the visit was over, we moved on to Loxahatchee National Wildlife Reserve. It too has large impoundments of water, but we were pleased to find some of the smaller birds in the trees around the marshes.
The little Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher gave his high pitched call, and flashed his tail that looks like a mockingbird. The Palm Warbler was in winter plumage, and we had to look in several resources to be sure of the ID. And a Black and White Warbler flashed in and out of the bushes before us. I'm never sure which warblers might still be in the country for the winter.
Saturday, December 05, 2015
Friday, December 04, 2015
We sat by the pool this afternoon, eyeing the purple skies, when people started looking in the grass. Did you find a lizard? I innocently asked. Not just a lizard, but one of the big green iguanas that have invaded Florida from the exotic animal trade. They are invasive and have become a real problem, but look at the fantastic camouflage! Once it moved away from the tree trunk, it disappeared in the grass.
|Lesser Black-backed Gull|
Well, no rain yet, so let's walk along the beach. Every time we come to the shore, I have to re-learn the differences between the birds we find- color, size, feet color and other markings make the difference for an ID. Even though, I'm not always sure I've made the right call. Nothing new there.
It's always good to see a group of birds on the beach. If I'm careful and can sneak up for some closer shots.
The Royal Terns always go bald in the winter. The younger birds still beg for food, so we heard lots of chirping.
I have yet to see Skimmers feeding, although I am still hopeful. Maybe I'll get lucky this trip.
|Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover|
Many birds stand on one foot while resting. It surprised me when they started hopping around on one foot. Oh, the poor little things! But then they second foot touched the sand and they walked as usual.
|Ring-billed Gull and Sanderling|
Size comparisons are always fun... What? You say I've said all this before? Probably so, but it was years ago no doubt, and I didn't expect anyone to remember. I'm just glad to get out when it isn't raining!