Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Florida Birds - Part 2

Following my earlier post on Florida Birds, here are some more highlights from the same birding trip.

For me, the Anhinga is a quintessential Florida bird, an it's one of my favorites. The way they move their snakey necks around like they're doing yoga poses is really cool to observe. And their loud calls are impossible to miss.


This Anhinga seems to approve of this sculpture by artist Paul Eppling at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve.


In the same location, a flock of at least 50 Magnificent Frigatebirds swirled high over the water. I've never seen so many before, and the sight of them silently gliding around the sky was stunning.  They were really high up and hard to photograph, but you can see in this photo that there is one juvenile in the middle with the white head, flanked by two males with red throat patches.

Magnificent Frigatebirds

Early one morning, we had an interesting encounter with some Bald Eagles. This adult had been hanging around a lake for a couple of days and I was hoping to see it on this morning.

It did not disappoint!

Bald Eagle

The adult eagle flew past me, followed by a second eagle. I could see them turning around at the end of the lake, so I waited for them to fly back towards me. Just as they came out from behind some trees, the eagles got into a skirmish right over the water.

Bald eagles fighting.

The eagle on the left (above) is an immature, and the adult (above, right) was not happy to have it on its turf.

The pair grappled in the air, shrieking loudly.

Bald eagles fighting.

To my surprise, the adult eagle plunged into the water!

Bald eagle in the water.

The immature eagle flew off, leaving the adult to flounder around in the water before recovering itself and taking off to chase after the young interloper.

Bald Eagle.

You can see in the photo below the eagle has its eye on something above it, which would be the other eagle.

Bald Eagle.

Bald Eagle.

The whole episode lasted just a few seconds, so I was ecstatic to have been able to witness it.

Black Vultures were numerous and could be seen almost everywhere.

Black Vultures.

Black Vulture.

Can you spot the Osprey in the middle of this photo? Ospreys are large birds, which shows just how enormous this palm tree is.

Osprey in a giant palm tree.

If you've been wondering where all the NYC ospreys go in winter, there's a good chance they're enjoying the fishing down in Florida.

Another bird I really love is the Pileated Woodpecker. They can be found all over the eastern US, but they are rare in NYC. I was able to see several during this last trip south.

Pileated Woodpecker.

Pileated Woodpecker.

Back in December 2019, I visited Manatee Springs State Park, where vultures and woodpeckers were the stars of the day. It turned out to be one of my favorite birding experiences and you can see my post about that particular visit here.
The creatures below are not birds, but definitely worth noting.

Lizards were everywhere I went during this trip. I am a novice at identifying them, but I think the majority were Brown Anole lizards.



This Gopher Tortoise had zero sympathy for me as I was being traumatized by a bazillion mosquitoes.

Gopher Tortoise.

And it wouldn't be Florida without an American Alligator.  This one was small - about four feet long - and was just chilling in a shallow lake, as they do.


I went crazy taking photos during this trip, so there will be more to come...

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