Hatchling and Fledgling!

We checked on the Tri-Colored Heron's nest that had 3 blue eggs last week.  It appeared one of the eggs had just hatched and the other two had pips in them.  You can see the pips in the photo below.  We may try to go back tomorrow and check on them.  I hope to see 3 pretty little chicks when we do!  Look at this little face!

This is one of the proud parents fishing nearby.

Nearby, in the LIttle Green Heron nest, the chick is almost a fledgling!  He was flapping his wings, jumping from branch to branch, and even went down near the water and leaned over to peer into the water to watch for fish, just like his parents had taught him to do. He still has a bit of fuzz on his head and body, but he also has the pretty wings.

The watchful and proud parent Little Green Heron

As we walked down the Indigo Trail to the nests, we could see the tracks of a large gator that led a long way down the trail.  He was dragging his tail as you can see in the photo below.  His foot prints were a good 3 feet apart, at least.  We stopped and talked to the volunteer at the pay booth for the refuge.  He said the gator walks down that trail every couple of days or so and that he is about 10 ft. long, and old and irritable.  Everyone stays out of his way!  Uh, yep, we will, too!

Yep!  Got it!

The tide was high in Ding when we drove through.  We only saw 2 birds to photograph which were a couple of Yellow-Crowned Night Herons.  But, they posed very nicely for me!  

We did see this Tri-Colored Heron fly overhead, though.

Back at home, I've gotten a photo of the female and also the male Anhinga sitting on the new little nest.  I have a much better view of this Anhinga nest.  I haven't seen how many eggs are in the nest yet, though.  The female has the light colored throat.

I believe this is a fledgling Cardinal.  He's a bit ragged looking and wasn't as scared of me as the adult Cardinals usually are.

We were recently told by the person delivering some plants from the landscape nursery that the plant we have thought was a night-blooming cactus is actually a Dragon Fruit plant!  Who knew?!!  Pollination is difficult for them, since they need a certain bat or a large moth to pollinate them!  We didn't have as many blooms this year, but we had probably 20 blooms on this plant last summer.  It would be great if we had some Dragon Fruit we could just pick from our plant and eat.  I saw the fruit for $5 each in the grocery store a couple of weeks ago! 

This bee was doing his best for us!  Look at all the yellow pollen he's lugging along!

This spider built a huge web in our pool cage.  They are the strangest spiders.  It's called a Spinybacked Orb Weaver (aka crab spider).  It reminds me of a clown face with a spiky wig, which is probably just as scary as a spider!

Baby bird update!

We checked up on the nesting birds on the Indigo Trail and then drove through the refuge today.  The baby Little Green Heron has grown and has started to get a few more feathers and a little less fuzz.

The adult Little Green Heron was sitting on a branch near the nest.  The colors on this beautiful bird are amazing!

We were fortunate to be near the Tri-Colored Heron's nest just in time for the changing of the guard!

As they moved apart, you can see the 3 eggs are still there (bottom left of the pic).

All settled in . . .

How would you caption the photo below?  This Spoonbill behavior always makes me smile.

I'm not sure if I like the pink feathers better against a blue sky or against the green trees.  I'm glad I don't have to choose!

We found this pretty Little Blue Heron fishing at the edge of the water and being successful.

This beautiful Great White Egret posed for us as we left the refuge.  Another beautiful (and hot) day on Sanibel Island!

Baby birds and more!

We took a walk down the Indigo Trail at Ding this morning and met a lovely lady, Beth, who pointed out several nests that we might have otherwise missed.  I'm so glad she shared the nest locations with us!

This Little Green Heron baby chick was fuzzy and adorable.  Due to the age of the chick, It's possible that the remaining egg may not be viable.

One of the parents was on a limb nearby.

The parent bird went into the nest and seemed to herd the baby away from the edge.  The chick appears to be wondering if food might be coming soon!

Hey, wait, come back!!!

This female Anhinga seemed to be fairly young.  She was a bit klutzy and adorable.

We watched another Little Green Heron near the nest that could have been one of the baby's parents.  It is amazing how they can be perfectly still for long periods of time, just waiting for lunch to swim by.

It was fun watching the Little Green Heron hang vertically to catch fish!  So agile!

This juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night Heron was sitting in a nest nearby.

A pretty Tri-Colored Heron was sitting on another nest.  In the second photo below, after waiting quite a while, we finally got a glimpse of 3 pretty blue eggs when it stood up to move around.

I've never noticed the light colored feathers on the back of the Tri-Colored Heron. 

The Roseate Spoonbill on the left is young.  Notice the head is not bald, the eye is not pink, the legs are light pink instead of dark, and the wings are not as dark.

They were strutting their stuff!

My neighbor down the street let me know that this iguana was in her back yard.  He was around 4 ft. long.  

It wasn't until I zoomed in that I realized he was shedding his skin.  I don't find them pretty as it is, but with that skin just hanging . . .

It seems it is the season!

These signs are on the second floor outside of the visitor center at Ding.  They mark the level of high water from years gone by.  It's strange to stand on the ground underneath the sign, look up, and imagine that water would have been 12 ft. above ground level here during a flood from a hurricane in 1873.  Ground level at our home on the island is about 4 ft. above sea level.

Spoonbills galore and more!

Even more Roseate Spoonbills at Ding today, along with Yellow-Crowned Night Herons, a Great Blue Heron, and a snake.  There were at least 22 Spoonbills in this spot for a while.

Look at the orange tail feathers on this one below!  I'd never noticed that before.

I love to see a Great Blue Heron with its mating plumage.

Notice the rabbit in the background to the right of the Yellow-Crowned Night Heron.

I think this is a Florida Water Snake. We saw it crossing the road at Ding when several people stopped to take a photo of it.

We took a quick walk on the beach.  There were no birds in sight until we were ready to leave and then we were treated to a couple overhead.

This Magnificent Frigatebird was very high up, so the photo is not great.  But, I love watching them.  I think this is a juvenile since it has white on the chest and under the wings.  An adult has a wing span of over 7 feet!!  They can soar around for weeks without landing anywhere.  It makes me tired just to think about it!

This little lizard on our back deck gave me a friendly warning!

A colorful sunrise from my back deck.  I wish I'd been at the beach where I'm sure it was even more beautiful.

Pink on a hot day!

A quick drive through Ding this morning yielded lots of views of pink feathers . . . some of my very favorite.  Did you know that the Roseate Spoonbill was virtually eliminated from the United States during the late 1800's, mostly due to plume hunters.  The hunters wanted their beautiful pink feathers for fans and hats.

As a Roseate Spoonbill matures, they become more pink.  Their head also gets more bald!  Hmmmm . . . 

These were the most that grouped together while I was there.  Someone said there were a couple dozen Spoonbills here a short while earlier.  These were finishing up with their grooming and flew away one at a time.  It gave all of us a chance to grab some photos of them flying.

I took a short video of the Spoonbills grooming.

This Great Egret was fishing and then bringing his meal to the sand bar.

This Fiddler Crab has a really crabby face!!

On a trip to Lighthouse beach a few days ago, I was able to grab a couple of photos.  You can see the Osprey perched on the opposite side of the lighthouse.

The Osprey stayed until we walked around to the opposite side of the lighthouse.

These two Brown Pelicans were sitting on top of the cover over fisherman's pier.

It was fun to watch this Brown Pelican catching fish under the pier.

See!  I ate the whole thing!!

This big guy was booking along and grazing through the beach grass.

Birds Galore!

A drive through Ding and some photos at home produced several different birds and some rabbits to photograph!

Pink is one of my favorite colors on a bird!  I took far too many photos of the Roseate Spoonbills.  But, it leaves more to share for another day!

And then, one of my other favorite birds, the Great Blue Heron!

The brown on this Brown Pelican's neck looks like velvet!

This pretty Tri-Colored Heron waited so patiently for me to take his photograph.

This Reddish Egret looks a little mad.  But, I think he was just enjoying the sun since we haven't seen much of it lately!

We took a quick trip by the beach to see the condition of the erosion.  We were pleased to see that a good deal of sand had been deposited back on the beach.  

It is so good to see our beautiful blue/green clear water.  

Back to our yard and our neighborhood.  The Anhinga chick in the nest behind our house is growing so fast!

It seems a bit young to be wingersizing, but it was doing it with gusto!

I think this is the daddy Osprey from the nest behind our neighbors house.  Sadly, one of the two chicks did not thrive and did not make it.  The other one has grown and appears to have fledged.  I've seen the dad sitting in this tree several times, overlooking the empty nest.

Here he is again, a couple of days ago on an overcast day.

This Yellow Crowned Night Heron posed for me while drying out his wings.

When you have an itch, you just have to stop and scratch!

On our walk around the neighborhood, we saw this pretty Little Blue Heron and several rabbits!

Rainy day Heron

Memorial Day weekend looks like it will be a soggy one in SW Florida.  We really needed the rain, though.  It makes it hard to get photos, but I managed to get a few around my home.  This pretty Yellow-Crowned Night Heron found an abundance of worms in our yard.

When you are a bird, you can shake off the rain and still look really cool!

This Osprey landed in a dead tree across the street with his lunch.  He was too far away, with too much rain, to get a good photo.

A couple of days ago, before the rain started, I got an early morning photo of this beautiful Osprey posing on one foot in a tree across the street.

Stay at home day!

Some days, you can just stay home and get all the photos you need, at least at my house!  Our yard is pretty much a zoo most days.  I was taking pics of the baby ducks when my neighbor noticed an eastern screech owl in their bird box.  Just a few days before a woodpecker was inside this box tossing out 4 eggs on the ground.  

There were 4 little baby ducks following Mom around.  I couldn't get a good photo of all of them because the mom was herding them to safety!  They were adorable, though.

The two baby osprey (orange eyes) are getting big.  It won't be long before they will be testing those wings and leaving the nest!

The next photo is just to show the yellow-crowned night heron sitting on a nest on the upper right tree limb and the anhinga on a nest on the limb underneath.  Both limbs are hanging out over the lake behind our house.

I took this photo of the two woodpeckers from my back door.

There were 2 Ibis in our tree, but I could only get a good photo of one them.  It seems to be posing and smiling in the morning sun!

Black-Necked Stilt babies and much more!

So many birds to photograph!  We started out the morning seeing two eagles in a nest on Sanibel just as the sky was getting light, then on to the Bailey Tract where we saw many birds, including a Black-Necked Stilt and her 3 babies.  We saw several other birds, including one of my favorites, the Roseate Spoonbill.  Now, who doesn't love seeing a big pink bird fly over your head?!  While we were there, a very nice lady walked over to talk and asked if I were Beverly.  She was from Wisconsin and visiting the island.  She was so complimentary of my photos and it was great to hear from one of the 41 people who follow my blog and also isn't one of my family, close friends, or neighbors!!

This momma and her 3 babies were the hit of the photographers and birders this morning.  Look closely and you'll see an extra pair of legs under the momma.  The other two babies were a little more bold and exploring.  I missed getting a photo of all three babies with their mom.

After a while, the little one came out from hiding under momma's skirts.  They certainly look different when young!

They are so adorable, though!!

This Black-Necked Stilt was being a bully on the other side of the pond.  He made his presence known to all the others!

He came around behind this Ibis and bullied him to fly.  Look at the Tri-Colored Heron's reaction!  His hair stood on end!

Sometimes, you just have to shake it off!

A quick drive through Ding didn't produce many photos.  I did get this one of either a Little Blue Heron in its white phase or maybe a Reddish Egret in its white phase.  It just seemed a bit big to be a Little Blue Heron.  I'm sure our friend, Hugh, will tell me in the comments section!

Just as the sky was getting light this morning, we saw an eagle in this nest on Sanibel.  There is no way to get close to the nest, so the pics are grainy.  Even with the long lens, all I can do is crop in as close as I can.  It's still exciting to see a Bald Eagle.

The sun started coming up and we changed our vantage point.  I snapped this photo without realizing there were two eagles in the nest.  I apologize for the quality of the photos.

I love the broad-chested bad-ass look!

And then we saw this Swallow-Tailed Kite in the early morning light.

The moon was so bright and pretty this morning just before the sun came up!

I can only imagine that you are tired of scrolling through my photos right about now.  But, I have some photos from a fews days ago to share, if you want to keep going.  My apologies for so many photos!

My neighbor let me take pics from her deck of the Osprey babies feeding.  Look at those two mouths, wide open and waiting for food!

Hmmm, looks like he was expecting a bigger bite!

Now it's time for some "wingersizing"!

Talk about a chip off the old block . . . those eyes!!

The butterflies and bees are super busy on all the blooms right now!

Pond Apple Trail bike ride

We took a bike ride through Pond Apple Trail today.  It was a great day for photo ops!  We saw many Anhinga, Common Gallinule with their babies, Mottled Ducks and babies, a gator, a turtle, and the Juvenile Black-Crowned night Heron below.  Our friend, Hugh, will correct me if I'm wrong on that identification, though!  It was bigger than I would have thought.  When it first flew to this branch, I thought it was a young Limpkin, but then realized that the beak wasn't long enough.

The light was really harsh and I couldn't get a good clear shot of the little Common Gallinule family, but I grabbed this snapshot of the parents and five little babies.

Bet you can't look at this next picture and not say, "Awwwww!"

This turtle never got into a position for a good photo.  His shell was probably about 12 inches across.

This small gator kept an eye on us.

This female Anhinga perched on a branch right over our heads so we could get some photos.

I usually have a hard time getting photos of a cardinal.  They just won't sit still for me.  This one was very accommodating, though!

I believe this is a Great Crested Flycatcher.

The Anhinga is still taking care of the nest in the tree behind our home.  Hoping for babies soon!

Eagles, Owls, and Kites . . . oh my!

This morning, we saw a Bald Eagle land in a tree on the island.  Through my long lens, I realized that the eagle was sitting in a large nest!  There was a juvenile eagle flying nearby, so maybe the juvenile came from that nest?  Now that I know where the nest is, we'll keep an eye on it for future photo ops!  The tree is quite a distance away, so the photos aren't as good as they could be.

I got a quick snapshot as he flew away.

A couple of Swallow-Tailed Kites were soaring around above our house.  This one had nesting material.  We are seeing a lot of these beautiful birds in our neighborhood this year.

A big thank you to my neighbor who told me about the pretty little Eastern Screech Owl in the nesting box in his yard.  She doesn't seem to be shy at all.

She gave me a little wink!

If I close my eyes, maybe you'll move along!

It's time for the Frangipanni plants start to blooming!  Yay!

The trunk of this old bottle brush plant was broken off just above the ground during Hurricane Irma.  Now, a short 6 months later, it has green leaves/stems growing and one flower blooming.

Goodbye snowbirds, see you next year!

Now that the snowbirds have started to head back home, there is a lot less traffic to maneuver.  We went to our favorite part of the beach this morning and found even more erosion than we'd previously seen.  In some areas, the sand has disappeared all the way up to the vegetation in the yards of the beach front homes.   Normally, we would be walking on the higher level of sand.  This doesn't bode well for the sea turtle nests this year.  Hopefully, we won't have to weather another hurricane before the sand can be replenished.

There were plenty of brown pelicans fishing in the clear water.  This one waved hello!

The osprey below had a precarious nest across the top of a tree.  They aren't known for their neat and tidy nests, though!

We drove through Ding even though it wasn't at low tide.  We saw a couple of birds.  This osprey was busy with his bath.

As sometimes happens, I found better photos back at home!  Our neighbor let me take some photos from her upper deck, so that I could get some closeups of the osprey nest.  There are 2 babies this year.

The little orange-eyed babies are starting to lose their fuzzy down and getting some feathers.

This male anhinga appears to be sitting on the nest, but the pretty egg isn't underneath him.  I hope it isn't because it is not viable.  Last year, there was an anhinga nest and a couple of yellow-crowned night heron nests on this limb out over the water.  This year, it just appears to be this one nest so far.  We've seen the yellow-crowned night herons in the tree, so hopefully there will be a nest soon.

This mallard duck is the king of the yard most days.  He has a harem of several females that he chases around.

These next two photos were taken from my back deck.  The swallow-tailed kite was in a tree a couple of houses away, across the lake.  I watched her preen her feathers.

And then . . . she had a gentleman caller!

Coyote!

My cat was sitting on my desk early this morning, very focused on something outside the window. I looked out the window and two ducks were in the driveway, standing very still. I thought that was odd since they constantly waddle around. Suddenly, a coyote came running around the side of the house and the ducks scattered and flew. He trotted on across the street into the woods. But, then another one came around the house not in any particular hurry. I ran downstairs, grabbed my camera, and opened the front door. He turned and looked at me just before going into the woods. And, oh, what a look!!

In the same vein with pictures that are just snapshots and not great photos, a couple of days ago there were 10 swallow-tailed kites hovering overhead.  I'd never seen that many at once.  They were too high up to get good photos, though.  I love watching these birds soar around.

I was able to get 7 of them in this one pic (just to prove I really saw them!)  

This bobcat came through the back yard last night and the wildlife cam caught him.  My yard seems to be the Sanibel Zoo!

Walking with Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society

We went on a walk through the Bailey Tract with the San-Cap Audubon Society early this morning.  We saw oodles of Easter Bunnies (aka marsh hares) and many beautiful birds.

While we were waiting to get started, we were treated to "pink in the sky" when a Roseate Spoonbill did a fly-by for us.

Always a big hit with bird watchers is the Black-Necked Stilt with their very long pink legs!

When breakfast is on the bottom . . . well, it's bottoms up!

The number of Easter bunnies that we saw was well into double digits!

It was also a day to keep your eyes on the sky!

And a few pics from my yard . . .

Foggy morning turned into beautiful day!

We started out at the Bailey Tract on a foggy morning.  It didn't take long for the sun to burn through.  The fog made for some interesting photos, though!  Many of the birds are decked out in their mating plumage.  The Anhinga below has the beautiful turquoise blue ring around her eyes.

This marsh hare was fairly far away.  It was so big that we did not think it was a rabbit until I zoomed in on the pic.

The fog over the little pond was almost haunting looking.

We saw a lot of marsh hares with their tiny little ears!

I love the concept of "If I close my eyes and get very still, then you can't see me"!

The sun finally started coming through.

I believe this is a Little Blue Heron in the white phase.

Ospreys always look so mad at me!!

We swung by the beach to pick up shells and find more birds!

The Gulf was so calm this morning.  This fisherman appeared so peaceful out in the calm water.

The next photos were from a couple of days ago in our back yard.

The osprey appear to be nesting and guarding their nest in my neighbor's backyard!

These two little squirrels were running around like crazy and playing all over the yard.  I'm amazed I caught any photos of them.

Finally back to taking some photos!

I finally found some time to get out and take photos!  The weather has been cool and beautiful lately.  Not a lot of birds during low tide today, but we found a few!

My daughter was visiting the island last week and we found a few birds along Pond Apple Trail.

It probably doesn't matter in which language you read this, you just need to be careful!  We stayed on our bikes and moved along!!

This photo came out almost surreal.  There was a big turtle just sitting on the bottom in the shallow part of the lake behind our home.  The afternoon sun was hitting him and the water was reflecting the blue of the sky.

I believe these are Pied-Billed Grebes.  Little cuties!!

Raccoon in the tree!

I walked outside to the front deck and heard a thrashing in the cabbage palm near our house.  There were a couple of these little guys eating all the berries hanging from the tree.  I was just glad it wasn't the rats or snakes that also love to live in cabbage palms!!

I caught the osprey below in the middle of preening an errant feather.  He gave me the evil eye and then continued preening.

This teeny frog hopped out of our hot grill just in time!  I love that I can see my reflection in his eye.

Super moon equals super low tide!

We waded through the crowds of people at Ding yesterday to see some of the lowest tides we've seen there.  There were plenty of chances to see many birds up close!  (Apologies ahead of time for so many pics!)

This fisherman had just caught a sheepshead fish.  Their teeth are eerily human looking.

Lots of Great Blue Heron action.  Roseate spoonbills are my favorite, but the Great Blue runs a close second!!

Sometimes, you just have to shake it off!!

And then you just look so handsome!!

Then, you see lunch over there and hurry over!  But, you can still look graceful while you do!

Look closely and you'll see his orange beak sticking through the fish.

We watched as he stabbed the fish, threw it down, stabbed it again many times and dipped it in the water to wash it off.

And then "down the hatch".  How does that big fish with sharp fins fit down that skinny little neck?

Don't you hate when you are the only one having a bad hair day?

And it is a race to the finish!!!

And the winner is . . .

Shrimp snack!

Yum!  Hit the spot!

Be vewwy quiet .  .  .  I'm hunting for little fish!

Ah, got it!!

I see one, I see one!!!

Got it!!!

IMG_0663.jpg

Ok, so this isn't wildlife, but it was on Wildlife Drive at Ding.  And it is the wildest paint job I think I've ever seen!

We have a huge Orchid tree in our yard.  The blooms are beautiful, but the tree makes a mess that my husband doesn't find amusing!

If you made it this far today, thank you for looking at my photos!

Slow day at Ding

We finally had a nice warm and sunny day, but the wildlife must have been hiding during low tide today.

This little Yellow Crowned Night Heron was doing his best to hide, but we caught sight of him among the branches.

A Great Blue Heron flew by at a distance.  It doesn't matter how far away they are, their huge wing span will catch your attention.

I'm not sure what type of ducks these are, but I hope that someone who does know will tell me!

This pretty little squirrel was checking out the empty bird house in our back yard.