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.

Northern Pintail (Male)

Northern Pintail (Male)

Pintail Duck (Female)

Pintail Duck (Female)

Pintail Duck

Pintail Duck

Pintail Duck

Pintail Duck

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.

Northern Shoveler (Male)

Northern Shoveler (Male)

Blue-winged Teal

Blue-winged Teal

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.

American Avocet

American Avocet

Long-billed Curlew

Long-billed Curlew

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.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Other large birds more commonly seen were Turkey Vultures and Osprey.

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Osprey

Osprey

Large water birds included this Wood Stork, a Great Blue Heron and a Brown Pelican bathing itself.

Wood Stork

Wood Stork

 Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

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.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch

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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Thanks again,

Phil Graham–Photo Naturalist

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