Thursday, March 11, 2010

Yellow-throated Warbler at Everglades

Once in a while, we all get lucky. Well, today was my lucky day. I had my best-ever drive-by birding sighting to date. It happened around 10 a.m. as I was driving to the entrance booth at Everglades National Park, Eastern Entrance, when I saw this amazing little bird with a screaming orange throat, like fire, land a few feet away from me, on a concrete barrier. I believe the bird is a Yellow-throated warbler, though originally I thought it was a Blackburnian warbler. Perhaps it is breeding, causing the yellow throat to appear more orange.

I had to act quick, so with one hand on the wheel, I stopped the car, grabbed my digital camera out of my purse - fumbling like a madwoman - pointed and shot. Unfortunately in my haste I moved the camera setting dial to "sunset" so the photo is not crisp. I only had one shot before my bright little feathered friend flitted away. At least I have a lasting image to remember him!

Eastern Bluebird at Everglades

I saw my first Eastern Bluebird at the Eastern entrance to the Everglades National Park today! It was perched on a sign just before the toll booth!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Painted Buntings at Castellow Hammock

I saw my first painted buntings this past weekend and they were amazing! There were a few at the feeder at Castellow Hammock Park, a 112-acre park and preserve that contains a mature tropical hardwood forest in Miami-Dade County. The males were magnificent with their violet, blue, green and scarlet plumage. The females were a lovely pale green and lemon shade. My husband and I hung out with Roger Hammer for a while checking them out until a Coopers Hawk struck like lightning out of nowhere and frightened all the birds away.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bird of Prey in Lucky Hammock

On Sunday my husband and I saw this amazing bird of prey at Lucky Hammock, an area near the Eastern entrance to Everglades National Park. The bird perched on a dead branch, seemingly posing for us so that we could get a good close look. We also saw catbirds and warblers.

I could use some help identifying the hawk. It looks like it could be a Harrier, a Sharp-Shinned, Red-Shouldered or a Red-Tailed? It looks immature.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tiny Birdwatcher

A new generation of birdwatchers begins with my nephew Joey!

Lilac-crowned Amazon Parrots in my Backyard

Two Lilac-crowned Amazons in Coconut Grove, Fla.

Last weekend I was surprised and delighted to spot two parrots munching on palm berries in my backyard in Coconut Grove! My photos are a little bit blurry but I am pretty sure they are Lilac-crowned Amazon parrots. I checked their identity with an illustration in Parrots of South Florida by Susan Allene Epps. These parrots are native to western Mexico and according to Epps, they have been seen in South Miami in the past. Lilac-crowned Amazon Parrots are sold as pets and are known to act like clowns.

A Lilac-crowned Amazon eating palm berries in Coconut Grove, Fla.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Feathered Friends in the Everglades

In the movies, literature and art, it is not uncommon to see birds described with human characteristics. Owls are usually wise. Toucans are silly. Hawks are regal. Vultures are evil. I can't help thinking sometimes that birds are like humans, with personalities of their own.

These black vultures, with their balding wrinkly heads and evil eyes, remind me of a group of old hags gossiping.

This beautiful American anhinga looks so peaceful when it sleeps.

This wood stork looks like a grumpy old man standing guard over the marsh.