Saturday, June 30, 2012

Great Balls of Fire

We headed out of the house a little before 5:30 am yesterday morning to watch the launch of a Delta rocket. We landed at Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral, where there was a lot going on to keep us entertained during the three hour delay.

A pre-sunrise walk on the jetty.

A cruise ship coming into port.

                                                           The sunrise from the beach.

A Skimmer skimming the shoreline.

Terns touching down.

A Laughing Gull soaring the skies.

A small crab putting up a fight.

Finally, the Delta rocket launching!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More Black....

Well, more black skies that is, if you live in this part of Florida. The Sunshine State has definitely not been living up to its name! There has been a tropical storm lingering in the gulf, which is now finally making its way across northern Florida. We have resorted to doing some of our usual activities in the rain....running in the rain, bird watching in the rain, hiking in the rain....We usually start out when there is a brief break in the weather, fooled by the almost decent looking skies. Yesterday, however, seeing black at the Click Ponds turned out to be a good thing! 

Black Tern

We came across 2 Black Terns!!! I have never seen them at the ponds, so I was super excited to get a chance to watch them racing about (in the rain). They didn't come very close, so I only ended up with these poor photos, taken from the car...

Black Tern

About ten minutes later, it was not longer raining and the sun was fighting with the clouds as it attempted to break through.

Common Gallinule family

I also saw this Common Gallinule, which is quite common here, with its brood of seven chicks! The typical familes I've seen here and at the wetlands usually only have 2-3 chicks. Sorry Gallinule, but these are probably the least cute chicks I've seen...

Green Heron

There continues to be a healthy population of active Green Herons feeding on frogs, fish, and even dragonflies.

Green Heron


There are also very large numbers of dragonflies and butterflies.

Florida Soft Shell Turtle

The wetlands have been closed to cars for the past few weeks so we have been walking, but we usually don't make it too far before the rain returns.

The weather has not been too kind to the migrating seabirds passing by this area. There have been numerous news stories this week about the unusually high numbers of migrating Greater Shearwaters (close to a hundred) that are showing up on the beaches in very poor condition. Even with treatment at the local wildlife hospital, most have not survived. Hopefully the weather will be improving soon!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Stormy Skies

This pretty well sums up the afternoon weather this week.

I made a few trips to the wetlands and ponds this week. The wetlands were closed to cars all week, so we enjoyed several peaceful, long (hot, humid) walks. 


When the sun was out, it was time to dry out!

Double-crested Cormorant

Snowy Egret

At the wetlands, the Cattle Egrets continue to nest. The majority of them nest on a large island in center of the wetlands. The Egrets can be seen coming and going from the mainland, taking nesting material to their own private island.

Cattle Egret


Loggerhead Shrike

Great  Blue Heron

The vultures were people watching. 

Turkey Vulture

Have a wonderful weekend:)

Monday, June 11, 2012

What's Mine is Mine.....

And what's yours is mine too, according to one Scrub-Jay......

This Scrub-Jay emerged from the shrub, pleased with its tasty capture.

Scrub-Jays are known to take part in feeding the young for several months after fledging as well as exchanging food with a mate to strengthen a pair bond. I'm not sure if this jay was intentionally sharing or if the second Scrub-Jay was just helping itself to the other jay's insect..... the Scrub-Jay looked a little angry, not to mention a little intimidating.....

A little more intimidation...

A remorseful looking jay....

Friday, June 8, 2012

Birding the Local Patches

We made it out to several of our local birding patches this past week. We started the week with a visit to the Moccasin Island Tract area. The drive out to the tract often times offers opportunities to view numerous species in action. Today, however, we only observed numerous Cattle Egrets as they mingled with the cattle. Eastern Meadowlarks were the highlight of our stroll along the trail. The Meadowlarks perch on fence posts that runs along the trail, singing to one another.

Eastern Meadowlark 

Our next stop was at the "Click" Ponds, which are location at the entrance to the tract. The ponds continue to be occupied by several varieties of herons and egrets. The Little Blue Herons continue to molt into their permanent blue plumage.

molting Little Blue Heron

The Green Heron and a Snowy Egret took turns chasing one another from this desired perch.  It was a rather unpleasant exchange between these two birds and the Snowy Egret seemed to have the upper hand.

Green Heron

Green Heron

It's always a good idea to scan the bushes, because you never know who my be lurking, like this Red-shouldered Hawk!

Red-shouldered Hawk

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge was our next stop. We arrived late morning and it was not a very active time for the birds. The highlights of our trip were seeing this Eastern Kingbird....

Eastern Kingbird

and this foraging pair of Black-necked Stilts.

Black-necked Stilts
St. Sebastian Preserve State Park was also on this week's agenda. I blogged about my birding adventure at the park on my monthly post at Birding is Fun!. Have a great weekend!

Birding is Fun!

Check out my monthly post over at Birding is Fun! and find out who lives here, as well as, who else is out and about at St. Sebastian Preserve State Park!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Noisy Neighbors

I took a trip to Jetty Park this weekend to spend the day at the beach. I brought my camera along, hoping to catch sight of some terns, gulls, skimmers, or shorebirds, but all were surprisingly absent . On the way to Jetty Park, I was passing through the small streets of Cape Canaveral when I encountered a whole lot of brightly hued feathers, and a whole lot of noise.

I stopped to take a photo of two Peacocks walking down the side walk when a nice woman on a bike told me to take a ride through her adjacent neighborhood if I wanted to see more Peacocks. Following her advise, we made our down just one of the streets and counted over 30 Peacocks! On fences, in trees, on patios, there were Peacocks everywhere! And did I mention the noise? The Peacocks' unmistakable mating cry-like cry could be heard resonating throughout the area.

In one yard, I noticed 5 male Peacocks displaying their feathers. A few minutes later I figured out why...

This lone Peahen was resting nearby, seemingly unimpressed by all the fancy feathers being flashed her way.

Peafowl (Peacocks and Peahens) are not native to Florida, but this flock has reportedly been residing in the Cape Canaveral area for more than a hundred years. Some believe that the Peacocks may have originated from a Peacock farm that existed long ago near the Banana River.