Sunday, May 31, 2009

5 Lined Skink posing

I think I have a new friend. It’s been on the front deck a couple of times now. He’s about 2” longer than the other one, and even though this one posed for a few pictures, I still like the photo of the one on the log under the leaves, in a previous post.skink2 001cs

It likes kind of like a Mae West pose, doesn’t it?

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I had to play with this one….”How do you like my snake look?” or ..I suppose it could be …hands on his hips…wondering what I’m looking at.skink2 004cs

We were having a “sun-shower”…you can see the drops of water on his back. It wouldn’t come out of the shadow enough for me to get the beautiful blue of his tail, but I’ll keep trying.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Northern Parula Warbler and young one

I have been following the singing of the Northern Parula Warbler all over the yard. I can hear it in the trees but can only catch a glimpse. I decided to take a walk with the camera and see if there were any insects I could find that would be interesting, when I heard it singing again and some cheeping. I could see some activity in the tree above me so I started taking pictures. I couldn’t see anything in the camera. They are so small. I was thrilled to get 2 pictures that were so so. Here’s the baby waiting to be fed.

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Here’s mom or dad and the little one.

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I have been trying to get pictures of this little bird for months, so I am not going to complain about them. Even more thrilled to get the baby.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Red Bellied Woodpecker in the Elderberries

I have been watching the Elderberries. They are very pretty when they start to blossom.5.7.09 074cs

Then they get green berries.5.7.09 080cs

This particular bush is a favorite of the wild turkeys. The can reach most of the berries with just a few jumps. Most of the other bushes are too tall.5.7.09 083cs

I didn’t realize until today that the Elderberries are getting ripe. This Red Bellied Woodpecker stopped to eat a few. You can see a mix of green berries and the deep purple ripe ones.5.28.09c 031cs

After checking the bird book, I would think this is a female. The red doesn’t go over the top of the head.

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After a quick bite she joined a male in a nearby tree. It’s not a good photo but you can see the red covers the top of the head on the bird on the right.5.28.09c 037cs

I was able to get one more photo before they flew off.5.28.09c 038cs

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Northern Parula Warbler

I have been listening to this little bird for months. I was able to get a very bad photo of him in February. It was just good enough to check with my bird book to be sure what it was.

They are so small and quick that I’ve been having a terrible time trying to capture a picture.

I stepped onto the front porch to watch the squirrels testing my “squirrel proof” feeder, again…..when this little guy landed on my Bottlebrush Bush.5.28.09c 058cs

I stepped back inside and got the camera…he sat there long enough for this one picture.  I cropped in for a closer look below.5.28.09c 058cs (2)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pileated Woodpecker

I spotted this Pileated Woodpecker working on a tall dead tree, just a ways back in the woods. I can see him from my back deck. This is not a great photo but my camera was zoomed as far as it would go. He is facing towards the camera with his head down. You are looking at the top.5.6.09 008cs

I will keep watch of this tree. Perhaps it’s checking out a nesting area.5.6.09 009cs

Or already has one. “Woody” and little “Woodys” ….wouldn’t that be something to watch?!! 

The Pileated Woodpecker eats Carpenter Ants….and there are a lot of them running around here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Honey Bee

I don’t see many Honey Bees back here in the jungle, most of the time. They do come when the Tangelo Tree and the Elder Berries are in bloom. I know they are in the blossoms of the palm trees but they are so high I can’t see them. A few come to the Bottlebrush. This one was here in April.4.3.09b 024cs2

My neighbor has a couple hives and his honey is good. If you have allergies, it helps to eat a little honey everyday. But, it must be local honey. The bees need to be picking up the pollen that you will be exposed to. Many people believe bee venom is good for arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other diseases. 4.3.09b 022cs1

I’m not allergic to bees and it would be nice to have a hive.  Here’s a closer look.4.3.09b 022cs 4.3.09b 024c

He’s working very hard to help my Tangelo Tree produce well. I’m surprised any show up with all the Orange Groves nearby.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Armadillo… under my screen room?

A few evenings ago, I was on the computer when my husband called me to get the camera. This Armadillo was wandering around the backyard.Armadilo 036cs

He was kind of darting to and fro, and didn’t seem to realize I was following.Armadilo 037cs

He raised up several times but I wasn’t able to get a clear picture of him standing on his hind legs. It was like he was sniffing the air to see where I was. Once he spotted me he headed for under the screen room. This next photo is blurry but you can see his big claws.Armadilo 039cs

They eat mainly insects and I was surprised to read they also eat ants. I had suspected it, since most of the big holes in the yard are where there were fire ant mounds. My husband was all for encouraging him to move someplace else until I told him about the fire ants. Normally after a big rain there will be several big mounds. So far, nothing. I guess he’s been a busy little eater. The holes in the yard are pretty deep so he’s getting the whole mound.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

5 Lined Skink….a real cutie

I was in the back yard, helping my husband hang the bird feeder. Evidently the Raccoons figured our how to jump from the tree to the feeder, so we strung a longer cable. Now they really have to walk the tightrope to get to it. This is my old feeder, not the new “squirrel proof” one I hung in the front yard.

While there I spotted a male Cuban Brown Anole. Not one of my favorites since they are taking over the territory of the Green Anole (my favorite). But I let everything live here that wants to. I did get some pictures that I’ll post one of these day, but while out there I spotted this young 5 Lined Skink. I love this picture. Isn’t he the cutest little bug eater you’ve seen today?5 lined skink adolescent2

The youngsters have a beautiful iridescent blue tail. He wouldn’t let me get a picture of it. adolescent skink

Here’s a closer look at his face. He’s really very pretty.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Sandhill Cranes

In  February we spent some time on the St Johns River, FL. If you follow along with the blog you’ll find that’s one of our favorite places. Each time we go I see something that I’ve somehow missed before.

We took a side trip up Blue Creek. It is just a nice meandering loop off the river, on the S side of Lake George.

I was surprised to see these Sandhill Cranes standing within a short distance from the creek, in what appeared to be wetlands.Sandhill Crane 1

We have seen them several times, but always in a drier area.  In Nebraska, we have seen huge flocks of them.

I don’t know one Sandhill Crane from another, but according to Wikipedia, there are only about 5000 of the Florida Sandhill Cranes left. They are protected here.Sandhill Crane 2

They are very large birds. Beautiful and graceful.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Carolina Chickadee

This is the first time I’ve seen a Carolina Chickadee in my yard. Perhaps they’ve been here before and I just missed the little guys.

Carolina CIt has been raining here for several days. It looked like he was trying to dry out after a bath.Carolina C.jpg2

It’s a cute little bird, about the same size of the Tufted Titmice that hang out in this same tree. They use this as a stopping point before going to the feeder.CC3Carolina Chickadee.jpg2

The black cap and white on the sides of it’s face really stand out.  I will definitely be looking to get better shots of this one.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Iguanas in South Florida

We spent Christmas on our boat in No Name Harbor, in Bill Baggs St Park on Key Biscayne,FL.

Each morning we would row our dingy over to the Mangrove trees to see the Iguanas. This is one of the biggest ones. They can be 2-3 ft, but the Park Ranger said there was one close to 4ft. I think this might have been it.

12.20.08 No Name Harbor, Key Biscayne, FL 031cs3 Here’s a close up of it’s face. I am guessing this is a male. He has a pretty big dewlap and spines. There were several like this one, but many more smaller green ones. I wasn’t able to capture the vivid color. They seemed more skittish than the smaller ones. 12.20.08 No Name Harbor, Key Biscayne, FL 031cs2

I don’t know much about Iguanas. I have read it’s hard to tell them apart until they are older. 12.20.08 No Name Harbor, Key Biscayne, FL 032cs

12.20.08 No Name Harbor, Key Biscayne, FL 034csHere’s a close-up of its face.12.20.08 No Name Harbor, Key Biscayne, FL 034cs2

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This one was sitting on a rock to get warm. We had a few cool days but the sun warmed the rocks up. 12.20.08 sunset No Name Harbor 056cs

The Iguanas are not native to FL. They are probably the offspring of pets that were released and since they have no natural enemies…they are taking over. I guess they do a lot of damage to gardens etc. They are herbivores, they eat plants. We saw them sitting on the “fenders” that guide you under bridges and on the hedges in peoples yards. I thought they were kind of neat and how much fun it would be to have them hanging around, until I found out they had become such a problem. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Carolina Wren

Although the Carolina Wren isn’t as beautifully colored as the Painted Buntings or the Indigo Buntings, they are still a pretty little bird. It has a very loud voice. We don’t need alarm clocks. This is our early morning wake-up call.warbler 004.JPG warbler 005.JPG

You can hear them most any time of day, even with the windows closed. They are not only fun to watch as they flit on and under the deck, or along the fence, but they eat lots of insects and spiders. We have a large variety of bugs here!!

Jim has a pair nesting in the shop. I like all the lacy looking leaves. wren 015.JPG

He has a small hole in the window screen so they have access to the nest even when the shop is locked up.4.4.09 010.JPG

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This nest is in a little bird box on my back porch.Carolina Wren home

Here’s a look inside

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No eggs yet, but it looks comfortable with all the feathers.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Osprey on the St Johns River, FL

We spent a few days on the boat. My next few posts will probably have some of the wildlife we saw.

On Lake Monroe, I took these pictures of an Osprey nest on one of the channel markers. 5.12.09 022 These markers are a favorite spot for the Ospreys, since they eat mainly fish, and there very few that don’t have a nest on them. They are a very large bird that can have a wing span of 6ft.

This nest had 2 youngsters in it.5.12.09 026c

The next nest was on the Manatee Zone marker.5.12.09 030 Look at the face on this little guy.5.12.09 030c

As we circled around for a closer look, Momma came zooming by, trying to distract us.5.12.09 023c

Farther up the river I spotted this one on the riverbank. I don’t know if he was fishing or getting ready for a bath.5.15.09 048c

When an Osprey catches a fish and flies with it, the fish is facing forward so it’s more aerodynamic and doesn’t slow the flight down.  I think the Osprey has outer toes that reverse and this allows it to hold it’s prey that way.