Birdwatching – South Lake Howard Nature Park

Eagle in Tree on a windy day

Eagle in Tree on a windy day

Today we were back at South Lake Howard Nature Park checking out the progress of the Bald Eagles and their two babies. When we got there, one of the eaglets was stretching its wings and looking over the side of the nest. By the time I got my scope set up, it decided to hide most of the time. What is there about getting out scopes or cameras that make birds “skedaddle?” I did get to see it several times through the scope and binoculars. I never saw two at once, but when I let someone else look through it, of course, the two popped up.

One of the adults eagles was sitting in a nearby tree watching. Some Turkey and Black Vultures flew too close for their comfort and the eagle let out its warning cry. My interpretation was, “okay, that’s close enough, now back off!” The vultures were coming by one or two at a time. When a flock of about 20 Boat-tailed Grackles decided to land in the tree where the nest was, that was a different story. The eagle let out several loud calls in rapid succession and then flew over to the nest tree. Needless to say, the Grackles decided to go elsewhere. Later, the other Eagle came to the nest with food and we could see it feeding the eaglets.

Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. (Proverbs 23:5 KJV)

Eagle in nest feeding eaglets by Dan

Eagle in nest feeding eaglets by Dan

It was quite windy this morning and we did not get real clear photos of the birds. Not allowed to get too close either, but some are included. We saw the following birds today:  Mockingbird, Cattle Egrets, Great Egret, 25 Robins, 2 Adult and 2 baby Bald Eagles, Black and Turkey Vultures, American Coots, Common Moorhens, Little Blue Heron adults and 1 immature Little Blue Heron that was still white, White Ibises, Boat-tailed Grackles, Blue Jays, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Mourning Doves, Monk Parakeets, and Anhingas. We also saw an alligator up on the bank sunning itself.

We were there about a week ago with four homeschoolers we are helping learn about birds. On that day we saw the following:  2 Eagles, Boat-tail Grackles, Black and Turkey Vultures, Blue Jays, Ospreys, Ring-billed Gulls, Anhinga, Fish Crows, Cormorant, Common Grackles, American Kestrel, Cattle Egrets, Mockingbird, Common Moorhens, Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers, Limkin, Tricolored Heron, Great Blue Heron, White Ibises, Great Egret, Rock Pigeons, Red-winged Blackbirds, Snowy Egret, Pied-billed Grebe, 4 Hairy Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpecker, Blue-gray Gnatchatchers, 2 Wood Ducks, Belted Kingfisher, (31)

American Robin by Dan

American Robin by Dan

For being a small nature park, we always seem to find a fair number of birds to observe. The water is really getting low in the pond. About as low as I have seen it. We are in a draught condition here in Polk County. In 2004, when the 3 hurricanes (Charlie, Frances and Jeanne) visited, there was too much water. We need rain, but not that way.

2 thoughts on “Birdwatching – South Lake Howard Nature Park

  1. Dan & Lee,

    I loved reading your blog about your visit to the nature park. It was great to see your there that day, by the way. And I was really glad that my husband, Dave, got to meet the two of you.

    Bradley and Brennan were excited when they saw you in the park that day too. I thought that was neat. They certainly have a better appreciation of birds since you have entered our lives. You guys are amazing in the impact you are having here in Winter Haven and world-wide.

    I love the eagle picture you put on the home page. We saw the same thing probably right after you left. Do you know how much longer the eaglets will be in the nest? We would love to see them out flying around.

    I will check back soon for the next blog.

    Lynda McCartney


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