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.

Cool, windy, but sunny day at Ding!

Taking photos midday is difficult due to the harsh lighting.  Today was no exception, but when there is a really low tide at Ding, we head over anyway!  I had to delete most of the photos, but here are a few to share.

This big gator had quite a crowd watching him sleep.  Sometimes, you just need to find a warm place in the sun and sink your feet in the mud, ya know?

I always love to come across a Roseate Spoonbill

I think this is the down of a thistle?!!  The bee liked whatever it is!

My hawk buddy was back in the tree across the street from our house!!

Start out the new year with birds!

With the full moon comes some nice low tides.  I love it when the low tides fall during daylight hours!

This gull and ibis were having a bit of a dust up.  I had to zoom in to see what was causing it!

I'm not sure exactly what it is, but it must have been worth the fight!

This tri-colored heron had found a quiet spot all to himself to fish!

The Anhinga is always eye-catching!

I know it was here somewhere!  We gotta find it!!!

I'm not an expert on gators, but this guy looked like he'd just had a nice big lunch.  His belly was really wide for his size.

Bird Sunday!

We saw lots of different birds today, some at Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge and some in our own backyard.  I love this time of year on the island!  The weather is great and the birds are plentiful! 

This osprey flew overhead with his lunch.

I don't get many chances to photograph a Wood Stork.  Not that they aren't around, just that I am not lucky enough to be where they are.  This one flew in circles overhead at Ding today.

This hawk appeared to be searching for food!

We saw several Blue-Winged Teals today.  They have such a distinctive face.

This Reddish Egret is one that has been tagged on his leg and also has a transmitter on his back.  The refuge is able to track it.

It's Cormorant bath time!!  He should have been clean when he was done.  This went on for quite a while!

There have been a couple of male Mallards visiting the lake behind our house.  One looks a little worse for wear!  They hang with the huge flock of mottled ducks.  To be honest, I don't think I can tell the difference between the mottled duck and the female mallard.  There can be 25 or more ducks out there every day.

The male Mallard below is a little prettier than the one above!

Sunday Birds

A quick drive through Ding Darling and a walk on the beach, gave me a few opportunities to get some pics today.  It was a beautiful day today.   We watched the white pelicans landing on the sand bar. 

LOOK OUT!  I'm coming in!!

Seeing a Great Blue Heron on the stretch of beach where we usually go is always exciting!  I mean, what isn't exciting about standing near a 4 ft. tall bird?

And back home to see this pileated woodpecker.

Majestic Eagle Overload

My blog is about the wildlife on Sanibel Island.  However, today we drove to North Fort Myers to see a famous eagle nest.  Dick Pritchett Real Estate has some pasture land near their office that happens to have a tree with an eagle nest in it.  You can watch the live web cams at www.dickpritchettrealestate.com/eagle-feed.html.  Harriet should be settling in to lay her egg(s) soon.  When we arrived, I could not see any eagles anywhere and thought the 45 minute drive was going to be for nothing.  But, thanks to the nice couple who pointed out that I needed to walk a little farther down the road for a better angle to see one of the eagles guarding the nest.  I took a few pictures, then the other eagle came flying in.  Right after that, the first eagle took off with some sort of food and flew to a nearby tree to eat.  All in all, I took around 190 photos!  Yikes!  Thank goodness for digital cameras!

This one below was sitting in the tree.  The one that flew in did not have any food.  I was busy taking photos of the one that flew in, when suddenly the one below flew out with something that was half eaten.  It looks like a fish, but the eagle was having a hard time eating it because it was so tough.  I guess it could have been a fish with a really tough skin?  However, that sort of looks like a leg hanging down?  

Landing in the tree!!

I'll just go ahead and apologize for so many photos of this eagle.  I was near enough with my longer lens that I managed some fairly closeup pics!

And then there's that moment when an eagle turns his gaze on you and you aren't sure whether to swallow hard and keep clicking away or run!!

And last, but not least, this pretty little egret walking through the grass under the tree with the nest.