Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cruising Ft Lauderdale

We took a long weekend trip to Florida to remind ourselves about sunshine and to see a few birds that migrated south. When we got to the rental car counter, Mike decided to upgrade to a convertible.







We were a bit too early to check in at the hotel, so we decided to go to Brian Piccolo Park to see if we could find burrowing owls. This is a small park, mainly for soccer, baseball, jogging and skateboarding, just outside of Ft. Lauderdale. It happens to attract burrowing owls, and there are about 10 owl nests burrowed into the ground leaving small mounds of dirt that make them easy to find. The nests are scattered around and mostly on the side of the roads within the park. The park has each nest roped off to protect it. After a few minutes, we figured out where the nests were, but we didn't see any owls. We drove from nest to nest and then noticed there were a few other cars with retirees cruising the area as well. A little different experience than cruising Ft. Lauderdale at spring break in the 70s.



We did see some monk parakeets however.



Monk Parakeet



Anyway, we went out for lunch and to pick up some champagne for mimosas the next morning, came back and now that it was a bit later in the afternoon, we saw two active nests. Unlike most other owls, they are active in the day but they do avoid the noon heat. At Brian Piccolo Park, owls are accustomed to cars and joggers going by, so they don't mind a little activity near the nests and are easy to observe.


Burrowing Owls

Burrowing Owl

As we left one nest, we saw some sand that the owl was throwing, and when we returned to get a photo, he was back in his burrow. We read that in spring you can see the owls standing outside the burrows with their chicks.

These owls were featured in the book and movie Hoot about a group of school children trying to stop the construction of a restaurant near the Burrowing Owls' habitat in Florida.

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February 27, 2012 at 9:45 PM  

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Heron: Photo by Joe

I woke up this morning and found this beautiful bird sitting in my back yard. Considering how cold it was this morning and how close it was to my house, i had to take photos from my bedroom window. It stood approx 3 feet tall and didnt seem to mind my 80lb dog that was in my yard when it landed. I am not sure exactly what kind of bird it is but suspect it is a Heron. Any information you can share on this bird, i would love to read.



Joe, This is indeed a heron, a Great Blue Heron

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk 

On cold winter days, many birds come to our feeders. Unfortunately, this hawk is aware of the congregation and sits in a nearby tree waiting for an opportunity to make a meal out of one. It's hard to sit by and do nothing, but we have to let nature work things out. If only the hawk would go after the squirrels instead - we are having our usual winter battle with them. Chris finally decided if you cant beat them, join them and bought a corn block for the squirrels. Now they're eating that and still getting on the bird feeders!

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Birds near Shanghai, China

Mike took a business trip to China last week. Here are few photos of birds encountered near Shanghai.

Cormorants used for fishing

White Wagtail
White Wagtail

Long Tailed Shrike
Long Tailed Shrike


Yellow-browed Bunting

Yellow-browed Bunting

Yellow-billed Grosbeak
Yellow-billed Grosbeak

Light Vented Bulbul
Light Vented Bulbul



 

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