July 2012 South & North
I made another trip down SOUTH to bird the Orlando area. The first visit this time was to Joe Overstreet Landing. The road to the dock is several miles long with pastures and sod farms along the way. My first sighting was one of several Eastern Meadowlarks perched on fence posts here and there.
There were plenty of Cattle Egrets in the pastures, and several Sandhill Cranes at the landing.
Also at the docks was what at first I thought was an Osprey, till I saw the Apple Snail in its claw–the favorite food of the Snail Kite.
On the way back out to the main road I saw this Crested Caracara, digging up insects in the sod fields.
My second stop was at the Orlando Wetlands Park. The highlight for me was seeing several pair of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks.
I also saw this fanciful “showy” Snowy Egret, and on the way back to town I found numerous Barn Swallows nesting under a bridge over the St Johns river.
Back home, up NORTH in St Johns county next-door to Jacksonville, I visited St Augustine and found a pair of Gray Kingbirds that were thought to be nesting in the city.
On my way out of town I stopped by the Vilano Boat Ramp and saw my first of the season Least Sandpipers.
Also at the ramp were Fish Crows, and Roseate Spoonbills feeding in the tidal pools.
In the marshes at the foot of the Vilano Bridge, I found a pair of Clapper Rails. One was bathing, preening and then feeding in the shallows.
Finally, across the road at Comanche Cove, I found several Night-Herons, including a “second year” Yellow-crowned and an adult Black-crowned.
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Phil Graham–Photo Naturalist
NEXT POST AUGUST 2012 – Close To Home: Hummingbird, Waterthrush, Blue Jay, Osprey and more!