Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Feting The Yard Birds and Sky Sights

I took these photos early Saturday morning before I went off to kayak the Sopchoppy. One only has to look up into the sky to see many wondrous sights. Remember to look up into the sky often! I am feeding the finches, providing food for the other yard birds and generally trying to live in harmony with my fellow travelers!

I may be off to hunt at Fakahatchee Strand, and Oklacoahatchee Slough State Forest this weekend so stay tuned! It has been so rainy and cold that I have been trying to work to make some cash so I can afford to tramp around in the forest as much as possible!

I see that Cornell has a mobile search unit in the Apalachicola River Basin. I think looking around Wright Lake at Hickory Landing is in order, this year, as well! (for IBWO, of course)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sights on The Upper Sopchoppy

The Sopchoppy is a high banked river with many young cypress trees, small waterfalls from creeks, a karst here and there, and very few birds. It is too swift and deep for the wading birds. It is very quiet and peaceful. I had the good fortune to have two men along this time and Peter even helped me in and out of the kayak, which is a rare treat for me. Observant perusers of the blog may notice the stripping of bark on the pine tree near the blind.

Kayaking The Upper Sopchoppy

Friday, January 26, 2007

Waverly Pond

I did my birding the easy way today. Along about 3:30pm I gathered up my friend and off we went to Starbucks for Mocha Lattes and a visit to Waverly Pond. I had read on limeybirder's log that some interesting birds were hanging about at Waverly Pond.

Anyway, here is some of what we saw. The rare woodstorks (ha, Peggy) were hanging on the lawn enjoying the sunshine. Later they flew off when the noisy neighborhood children came running and I think they went back down to Munson or maybe over to PineyZ!

Tomorrow I am taking a kayak trip, weather permitting, on the upper Sopchoppy. So stay tuned...

Waverly Pond

Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Birds

More Friday Birds

I've discovered that birding on The Wacissa is much better during the week when the river goes undisturbed by weekend air-boaters so I planned to take off early this morning to see who, who, who was on the river! The light was a bit on the dull side but the birds were all about having morning snacks. The Barred owl was in the little spring watching for breakfast, the pileated woodpeckers were calling me to visit, and everyone was drying out or hunkered down against the cold. Wish I didn't have to come in to work this afternoon. I'm a river rat.

Wacissa 1-5-07

Monday, January 15, 2007

My Soul is a Hawk

Hanging out on The Wacissa River

More Sunday Images

Sunday Birds

This is Bob the Tame Limpkin. He was a further upriver Sunday than where we last saw him, hunting snails of course!
We know this is Bob because he allows us to come right up to him and photograph him! I have suggested he might be blind and judging from the way he hunts for snails, with his beak in the water most of the time, and his indifference to being photographed up close, I might be right.

The Wacissa River calls to me so intensely, I knew when I woke up Sunday that I had to go again. The birds are so varied and hunting them is challenging. I take my Canon Rebel XTi with a 75/300 mm zoom lens and hold it in my lap. Some people would not think of taking a camera and managing it while also paddling in a small, low to the water boat. But the only reason I would tip over in this river is if I was careless while getting out of the boat. Even when you hit a submerged log, it really doesn't cause enough trouble to "drop you in the drink" as my dad would say when we were little. I am occasionally startled by a jumping fish or otters, but I am learning what different splashes mean and mostly I don't startle anymore. In fact, I have been making songlines out of different splashing sounds in my mind and I am finding otters more easily. Turtles make single plops. Otters make splashes that are loud and last awhile. Fish often jump about three times in the river in a row and then no more.

I was a bit late getting on the river on Sunday, 10:30 am to be exact and the wind was blowing up the river, blowing all the vegetation to the starboard side of the river, where I like to begin my hunt for owls. I neither heard nor photographed any pileated woodpeckers all day. Nor did I see any ivory-billed woodpeckers. Many of the birds were elsewhere today, perhaps because of the weekends airboats or the weather conditions. But I did see some as you can see here.

I don't know the habits of pileated woodpeckers except from my deductions and phenomenological experiences. I see that they almost always fly in pairs so I expect another when I find one. I see that they also eat those red berries that grow on the trees along the river because I have seen them. They seem to hunt in their roosting area in the early am and then fly off. They seem to return at the end of the day and I often hear them again around sundown if I haven't seen them in a place I expect, during the afternoon. Some seem to hang out in one place a lot like the Jekyl Island pileateds. Some seem to visit an area in the spring but not other times, like my yard. (Now the bird scientists will write to set me straight!) Sometimes they hang upside down to eat berries which is comical!

They seem to call when they are flying into an area to announce their presence. They fly across the river but not downriver. They hang out on the ground a lot and I often see them on logs on the ground if I don't mistake the pecking as coming from above. Pecking sounds vary depending on where they are. The ground pecking is more dense. The high pecking echos across the treetops. I am hoping that using my senses to find them will help me find Ivory-Bills.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Blue Spring Peckerwoods

I floated down to Blue Spring and the little woodpeckers were flying about, eating berries and hunting grubs.

Turtles Point Out Friendly Faces

The turtles spoke to me again! Look behind you! I chatted with this handsome and friendly fisherman... and luck held out! I spied my good friends Ed and Linda taking a friendly float to Blue Spring! My friends will understand just why it was especially good seeing Linda for the first time in several weeks, in my favorite place...and let's not forget this friendly, fluffing limpkin...