Dec 31, 2013 by Janine |
Visited the park last week for Christmas. The birding wasn't spectacular, but because of the warm and rainy "winter" we are having, there were lots of reptiles about.

Gator at Eco Pond. The site was flooded with salt water and muck during Hurricane Wilma in 2005 and has taken many years to recover. It was encouraging to see the gator (since they prefer fresh water to salt), plus lots of fish and birds.

The American Crocodiles were hanging around Flamingo marina, as usual.

Largemouth bass pairing off

A peaceful end to the day

That night on our drive back, we found a new snake. All I could see was a reddish tail disappearing into the grass, so we got out to have a closer look.

When we first got the flashlight on the head I thought it was a Rainbow Snake. This would have been an amazing discovery because the southern Florida rainbow snake, Farancia erytrogramma seminola, is extremely rare and has only been seen a handful of times. It didn't have the lengthwise stripes for a rainbow snake though, so we were puzzled. Upon closer inspection of these really bad photographs, it looks like an Eastern Mud Snake, Farancia abacura abacura. Still an exciting find!

Christmas 2013

Dec 24, 2013 by Janine |
The painted buntings really like the new feeder. The old feeder is still up too, but for some reason only one of the females will use it.

There has been more use of the birdbath lately too.

Another ancient wanderer found in the garden yesterday.

Last week I was working in Colorado. The highlight of the trip was a bald eagle winter roost. We saw at least 13 birds. I didn't have any decent gear with me, but we encountered some nice folks that let us look through their scope.

"Record shot." Those black specks are the eagles.

There were still a few patches of snow, but it was much warmer than I had expected. 60's during the day!

Watched a few prairie dog battles

Sunset lights up the prairie grasses in the most amazing ways.

Lights and skating in Denver

It is nice to be home now. I just put up a hummingbird feeder in hopes of enticing them to stick around for the winter. They tend to stopover in the fall and spring.

Rich and I (and the buntings) wish you a Merry Christmas!

St. Petersburg

Dec 15, 2013 by Janine |
Last week I took a couple of days off to enjoy the west coast of Florida.

I spent most of the first day at Ft. DeSoto Park. As always, it was great for shorebirds.

The most exciting find of the day was this large yellow rat snake polishing off a nest of baby squirrels.
Warning: some of the following shots are a little gory.

Raccoon family nearby

Finally I headed over to the pier to catch the sunset. This dolphin was stealing fish right off the fishermen's hooks.

These oystercatchers were beautifully lit by the setting sun

Perfect end to a wonderful day.

The next day I met a new friend at the Florida Aquarium. His name is Cliff.

Friday night- Finntroll!

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not post any painted buntings. Had to install another feeder to keep up with demand. This one is double sided to reduce squabbling.

There are still at least three males and three females visiting, along with the resident cardinals, bluejays, and mourning doves.
I've also seen a hummingbird a few times. Since their favorite flowers are not in bloom right now, I am going to put up a hummingbird feeder. Hopefully hummingbird pics will follow!