January 2013 Ducks & More
While visiting the Orlando area this month, I had an opportunity to go to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge once again to look for some “new” birds. Of course this time of year is good for ducks and I was not disappointed. The highlights for me were male and female Pintail Ducks, on the water and in flight.
I also saw this male Northern Shoveler, but didn’t see a mate. However, I did get a pair of Blue-winged Teal swimming together.
The ducks were not “new” for me but the American Avocets I saw were, as well as the Long-billed Curlew I found the next day south of Orlando.
Back home in Jacksonville I focused on large birds and saw some nice ones. First was one of a pair of adult Bald Eagles that have returned to their nest on the north side of town. No signs of any babies yet, but they did have two last year.
Other large birds more commonly seen were Turkey Vultures and Osprey.
Large water birds included this Wood Stork, a Great Blue Heron and a Brown Pelican bathing itself.
Lastly, I have to include a small bird that also deserves some recognition, the Red-breasted Nuthatch. It’s a rare winter visitor (and new bird for me), which I chased after last fall and finally found with some help in Guana Reserve down in St Johns county.
However, the one pictured here has been calling regularly from the pine trees across the street from our house for the past couple of months. Ultimately, all I had too do was exercise a little patience!
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Phil Graham–Photo Naturalist