Backyard Birding – Maybe Part III

Gator and Sandhill Cranes 05-20-20 by Lee

Gator and Sandhill Cranes 05-20-20 by Lee

“Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established.” (Proverbs 4:26 NKJV)

In Backyard Birding – Maybe Part I and Part II, I referred to our gator that hangs out at the edge of our backyard. Here is the video I promised.

The two Sandhills had been on our back lanai and we had shooed them off. They went down to the water at the end of our yard and started teasing the gator. They jumped up a few times and just looked at him. Then they flew across to the other bank, and that is where I captured this on video.

[I thought I knew how to kill parts of the sound, but it killed it all. So I left the sound on. We were eating our breakfast when all of this was occurring. I was sitting in my chair filming this.]

From the following articles, it is obvious that Sandhill Cranes are quite common here in central Florida. They are fun to watch, except when the peck on the back sliding door.

Sandhill Cranes ousidet window Coventry by Lee

Sandhill Cranes ousidet window Coventry by Lee

“Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 8:7 KJV)

“Sandhill Cranes mate for life, choosing their partners based on dancing displays. Displaying birds stretch their wings, pump their heads, bow, and leap into the air.” [All About Birds – Sand Hill Cranes]

More about Cranes:

Backyard Birdwatching – Maybe Part II

Old Bench for Backyard Birdwatching

Old Bench for Backyard Birdwatching

Our gator adventure has been keeping me from using my bench, but we still have lots of birds to watch. Just from a safer distance. In Backyard Birdwatching – Maybe, I explained why I haven’t used my bench too much yet. The talk of the neighborhood, “our own gator,” brings visitors to the water. As I mentioned before, we don’t get to see it most of the time because of the embankment.

When he [or she] moves more to the middle of the water, then we get to see it. When we came home from church, Sunday (5-17), there he was. We both grabbed our cameras, which we now keep at the table by the door. Here is what I saw:

Dan taking a photo of the gator and me taking of photo of him.

Dan taking a photo of the gator and me taking of photo of him.

Then I zoomed in on what he was taking a photo of:

What Dan Was Photographying by Lee 5-17-20

What Dan Was Photographying by Lee 5-17-20

We still have that Variant House Finch stopping by. He feeds at the feeder up by the door. Much safer there. The sun was shining brightly, and it made him almost glow. Here a few I took a few days ago:

Variant House Finch 5-14-20

Variant House Finch 5-14-20

Variant House Finch 5-14-20

Variant House Finch 5-14-20

Also recently, the three species I mentioned in the first post, we spotted though the door on May 16th. Here are a few more closeups:

Great Blue Heron close up

Great Blue Heron close up

“And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.” (Leviticus 11:19 KJV) – Don’t Eat List

Great Blue Heron with neck bent in S

Great Blue Heron with neck bent in S – Sandhill Crane in foreground

Great Egret 5-16-20

Great Egret 5-16-20

I know these are not the greatest photos, but I sure do enjoy seeing so many interesting birds to watch, and even the alligator. Stay tuned for a video I shot this morning.

Backyard Birdwatching – Maybe

Birds of the Bible – Herons

Birds of the Bible – Cranes

Wordless Birds

 

Backyard Birdwatching – Maybe

Old Bench for Backyard Birdwatching

Old Bench for Backyard Birdwatching

Recently, we laid a few blocks down in the backyard so that I [we] could use our old bench. My goal was to be able to watch some of the numerous birds that stop or fly by. Needless to say, the bench needs a little TLC [tender love and care] This was taken May 14th.

I grabbed my camera and took a few photos, thinking I’d start a new series called: Backyard Birdwatching. Real original, right?

Great White Egret - First bird spotted from bench 05-14-20

Great White Egret – First bird spotted from bench 05-14-20

Had to wait for him to get in the clear.

Great White Egret finally in the clear 05-14-20

Great White Egret finally in the clear 05-14-20

I took a few photos and then the next day, decided that plan may be put on hold for awhile. Why? Hang on.

On the 16th, I was able to capture three different species through our door. We were having breakfast when they all appeared. A Great Blue Heron and Great Egret by the water’s edge and the two pesky Sandhill Cranes.

Three species from our door 05-16-20

Three species from our door 05-16-20

Why was I shooting through the door instead of from my bench? Well, this dude showed up the 15th.

Alligator Taken from my neighbor's yard. 05-16-20

Alligator Taken from my neighbor’s yard. 05-16-20

This Alligator is at the end of our yard. Because of the incline by the bank, we don’t get to see him often. So, I went to my neighbor’s yard and took this. She was with me, so if I had to waddle away fast, she could help me. Our neighbor, from across the water, told us that he comes and has layed on our bank at about 6 or 7 every morning for that last few days. Yikes!!

Needless to say, I have not been using my bench, yet!!

“Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.” (Genesis 6:20 NKJV)

We know that at least two of each kind of birds and creeping things were kept alive in the ark. I wonder if the alligators were on board, or swimming? Never thought about that before. Have you?

More later. We had a great view of this gator and the two Sandhill cranes today. Stay turned!

Whoa!! From My Window

View Though Patio Door

When I showed the first From My Window, you could see this is just a neighborhood with a small retention pond behind our home. Well, the latest photo, taken by Dan, came as a surprise.

While I was finishing up my breakfast, I noticed, what I thought was a crumpled up paper on the other side of the bank. I kept watching as it “floated” toward our side of the pond. As it got closer, I mentioned to Dan that it looked like two eyes. I stopped eating and walked to the door so I could watch closer.

WHOA!!

Finally, my suspicions were verified. A back popped up behind those eyes. AN ALLIGATOR!!!

Alligator in pond between the yards. By Dan

Dan’s camera was handy, but he didn’t have his zoom lens on. So this is the best we could do. Here is the photo after I cropped it.

Alligator in pond between the yards. Zoomed By Dan

Alligator in pond between the yards. Zoomed By Dan

It was not a very large one, maybe four or five feet long. Just a guess. I have been watching for it since Thursday, but so far haven’t seen it again.

We have noticed all the ducks that were around the pond have disappeared. They must have flown off to one of the other ponds in the neighborhood. Playing it safe. I doubt that the gator could have eaten all of them in one day. We saw the ducks on Wednesday.

I did watch an Anhinga swimming with just his head up today. Typical for the Anhingas, but he came out after a while without getting eaten. Plus, a Great Blue Heron safely fished along the bank today. So, maybe Mr. Beedie Eyes [as I have named him] has left.

Stay Tuned!!

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” (Galatians 5:14-15 NKJV)

“Then he said to them, “The LORD had better be with you when I let you and your little ones go! Beware, for evil is ahead of you.” (Exodus 10:10 NKJV)

 

Shoreline Action: Birds, Turtles, and a Gator

Shoreline Action: Birds, Turtles, and a Gator

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Again He turneth the wilderness into pools of water, and the dry land into water springs.   (Psalm 107:35, Geneva Bible)

Water is a universal magnet for birds and other animals, so “pools” (or “ponds” or “lakes”) attract wildlife.  So having a pond (or a “lake”) in one’s backyard is good for birdwatching — as well as for watching other kinds of wildlife.

Birds-Zim.Golden-Guides-series-1956

JJSJ’s first bird-book (from 2nd grade)

During the latter part of this month, for a couple days (May 20th through 22nd), I once again had the memorable privilege of birdwatching in St. Petersburg, at the hospitable home of Chaplain Bob and Marcia Webel.    [Regarding this favorite backyard birdwatching site, see “Appreciating White Ibises (and Other Birds in Florida)”, posted at https://leesbird.com/2016/12/06/appreciating-white-ibises-as-well-as-dozens-of-other-birds-in-florida/ .]   On Monday (May 21st), on or near that lacustrine shoreline, in addition to feeding some large turtles and a hungry alligator  (about 4 feet long! — who stayed on the other side of a metal fence), we saw a lot of birds  – osprey (a/k/a “fish hawk”), great blue heron, Louisiana heron (a/k/a “tri-colored heron”), white ibis, wood stork, mallard, Muscovy duck, snowy egret , great white egret, boat-tailed grackles, anhinga (a/k/a “snake-bird”), etc.  –  and we heard the eerie calls of limpkins (a/k/a “crying bird”). Onshore we also saw birds in the trees, including blue jay and some variety of sparrows, as well as frenetic grey squirrels.    [Regarding Florida’s shellfish-snacking limpkins, see Lee Dusing’s “The Disappearing Limpkin”, posted at https://leesbird.com/2017/11/04/the-disappearing-limpkin/ .]

CommonMoorhen-wikipedia-ShantanuKuveskar

COMMON MOORHEN (a/k/a Florida Gallinule, a/k/a Marsh Hen) — photo credit: Shantanu Kuveskar / Wikipedia

In error, then, I thought I saw a Purple Gallinules family, but Bob correctly identified these candy-corn-billed rail-fowl as Common Moorhen (a/k/a “marsh hen” and “Florida gallinule”), and Bob’s bird-book confirmed Bob’s identification.  Meanwhile, at one point, amidst a lot of tossing pieces of bread unto the birds and turtles (and alligator), Marcia tossed some less-than-fresh tuna fish salad upon the shore  –  and the tuna was quickly gobbled up by a Louisiana Heron! (Louisiana herons are birds that I don’t often see – I first saw one at Aransas Bay, in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, on March 11th of AD1996, and I have rarely seen any since then.)  It rained quite a bit, later (on Monday and Tuesday), so I was very glad that we did our backyard birdwatching when we did  — here is a limerick to remember that time by!

Remembering Time (and Critters) at the Shore

Ducks afloat, hawks in the sky

Herons ashore, jays fly by;

Turtles near, some beyond

Gobble bread in the pond;

Busy critters catch my eye!


Happy birdwatching!