Teamwork makes the Dream Work!!

Yeah, I know, not an original saying, but it is perfect for these eagle photos that I took this morning! It’s exciting seeing them work together on their nest. First they had a little squabble about exactly how to do it.

Not like that! Here, let me show you!

See . . . you go from this end and get it across the nest.

Ok. Now, grab your end!

Let it down gently . . . easy, easy!

Almost there! Just go straight down with it! We did it! Perfect!

Successful trip through Ding

There were several Roseate Spoonbills and other birds on our drive through Ding yesterday.  It won't be long before the winter birds will return, the feathered ones and the human type!

Yeehaw!!

An Osprey flew in, took a quick bath, and then took off again.

We watched this Reddish Egret do his dance for quite a while.  They are so funny when they are fishing for food!

The next three pics of Reddish Egrets are all different birds.  You can see the transmitter on the back of the Reddish Egret in the second photo.

We almost always see a couple of Yellow-Crowned Night Herons on the drive.

And then back home to find this pretty Great White Egret in our backyard.

Eagles back on Sanibel

I was so excited to see that the eagles are back on island and checking on the nest they built last season.   We hope they stay healthy and are able to produce one or more viable eggs this year.  I wasn't able to get a photo of both eagles in the nest today, but I've seen both sitting in the nest in recent days.  They seem to be guarding it to protect their territory.  I hope to get many photos of them to share!  This nest is at such a long distance away, that I used it as an excuse to get a longer lens!  Yeah, it's kind of a weak excuse, but hey, I take 'em where I can! 

Nest Update and more . . .

Last Saturday morning, I took a couple of pics of the Tri-Colored Heron chick.  It was branching out on a limb near the nest, as they do when they get a little older.  I had not posted the pics yet and went back this morning to get some more.  The person who works at the Ding entrance gate said that mid-week, the baby chick was gone.  It wasn't old enough to fly yet, so whatever happened is not good.   We walked down to the nest anyway, but the chick was indeed gone.  He told us that Ding volunteers said the parent bird was there mid-week and very upset. 

It was great to see all the other wildlife today, especially since the city just announced that 403 "tons" of dead sea life from red tide has now been collected on Sanibel beaches.  To see fish jumping in the water at Ding and the birds being active was very heartwarming.  That certainly wasn't the case two weeks ago.

Here are the pics of the Tri-Colored Heron chick from last weekend.  

It was quite overcast and cloudy for our drive through Ding.  I didn't expect to see much wildlife, only to be very surprised at all the birds, a gator, and even manatees!  

I had fun watching several Snowy Egrets bullying all the other birds.  They make a honking sound and fluff out their feathers as they chase any other bird away.  (And yes, I took far too many pics of them!)

Notice the transmitter sticking up from the back of the Reddish Egret below.

He strutted right over to another Reddish Egret and they did a little  Do-Si-Do dance.

If you click on the photo below and enlarge it, you'll see a transmitter on the other Reddish Egret, also.

Got a little wave from a Manatee.  There was a lady that had been watching the manatees closely and said she thought there were at least 8 in the water.  Some of the manatees were adults and some young ones.

The most I got to see of them were their noses sticking out of the water.  It started to rain, so I needed to get my camera out of the rain.  I would have loved to stay and hopefully see more of these large creatures that have made it through the red tide so far.  Many manatees have not survived it.  The average adult manatee is about 10 ft. long and weighs between 800 and 1200 pounds. 

As we left Ding, we saw this large gator, but only his head.

A few days ago, this hawk chased all the doves from the telephone wires as I walked by.  They all managed to get away that day.  I think it is a Red-Shouldered Hawk since they are more common than the Cooper's Hawk around here.  But the two look very much the same to me!

Nest and Beach Update

First, some good news!  Our beaches are so much better, for the time being, at least!  The smell is pretty much gone and there are few, if any, dead fish.  The red tide still affected our breathing during our walk today, but not too bad.  The city has collected over 267 "tons" of dead sea life from Sanibel beaches since July 30th.  Yes, you read that correctly.  It is so sad and upsetting.  Hopefully, we are on the downside of this horrible red tide.

The only birds we saw at the beach were these three pelicans.

Next good news . . . the Tri-Colored Heron baby chick is still doing well and growing!  He was hiding his face when we got there, but just before we left, he turned so that I could get one shot of his face.  And he is still styling the mohawk!

Walking back down the Indigo Trail to our car, I was focusing on taking a pic of this little marsh hare and walked right beside a snake.  "After" I walked by, my husband pointed it out!

A bunch of these little fiddler crabs skirted away as we walked near.  They are about the size of my thumb.  This one stood his ground in an aggressive stance.  You could almost hear him saying, "Come a little closer with that camera, lady!  See this big claw?!!"  I guess he won, because we were the ones to get out of his way!

Next, we took a drive through Ding.  All the dead fish that were caught under the trees at the water's edge had been cleaned out.  No dead fish were floating in the water.  The birds actually seemed alert and active today.  

This beautiful Little Green Heron flew into a tree right beside me.

This little juvenile Yellow Crowned Night Heron posed so patiently for me.

Now for the sad news.  My neighbor called me yesterday afternoon to say that the new Anhinga chick could be seen in the nest.  I went out and took a few pics.  I was looking forward to having a front row seat to watch it grow.  A few hours later, the male and the female were nowhere to be seen and the nest was empty.  We can only surmise that the chick fell from the nest into the water.

Bird Nest and Red Tide Update

We took a somber drive through Ding this morning.  There is such a pall hanging over the island these days.  The red tide is so very bad right now and it is affecting every part of the island.  There are thousands of fish, more than 100 big sea turtles, and other sea life washing up dead on the beach.  There have been many Goliath Grouper over 200 lbs. and tarpon over 100 lbs. that have been removed and buried.  Crews are working to remove as many of the dead sea life and animals as they can.  Even in Ding, there were dead fishing floating in the water and stacked up against the water's edge.  It is irritating to our eyes and breathing and the smell is pretty bad.  It's the worst we've seen since we started coming to Sanibel for vacations years ago.

The Tri-Colored Heron nest just had one chick today.  The volunteer at the Ding entrance told us that all 3 eggs hatched, but only one has made it to this point.  It was odd that we didn't see or hear either of the parents of this chick anywhere.  Maybe it was watching us from somewhere nearby, but we didn't see it.  I hope they are ok and haven't ingested toxic fish or are bringing them back to the nest.

 

This little guy has grown so much in the last couple of weeks!  He is still rocking his mohawk, though!

The water was exceptionally still at Ding today.  It allowed me to get several reflective photos.  Reddish Egrets are always a hoot to watch.  Their antics make for great pics.

Success and he still has ruffled feathers!

He seemed to understand that he was outsized by the Great Blue Heron and left him alone.

Oh, yeah, I'm big and bad!!

And back home, the male Anhinga was sitting on the nest.  I do not know if there are any babies yet.

While I was taking the photos of the Anhinga nest behind our house, this big Florida Softshell turtle kept poking his nose above water and checking out what I was up to.

Hatchling Update!

We checked on the Tri-Colored Heron nest on Indigo Trail this morning.  When we arrived, the Mom (or Dad) stood up and poked around in the nest.  The baby was putting up a real fuss like it was starving.  Then, the parent regurgitated a bunch small fish for the baby chick.  So, we were able to watch it feed.  I took a lot of photos and it was only in a couple near the end, you can see another chick.  You can see one egg still in the nest, too.  I hope the second chick is ok, since it must have moved around to get into only a couple of the pics.  Hopefully, it had already eaten and just wasn't hungry?  

Mommmmmmmmmy, I have a fish in my eye!!  Get it out!!!

Look under the chick and you'll see the face of another.  I really hope it is ok.  Time will tell, I suppose.

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.