March 2013 Four By Four
This month I visited four different locations and I’m highlighting four birds from each place. The first was right here at home when I visited the Jacksonville Beach Pier. It was Gannets galore as they seemed to be everywhere, fishing closer to shore than I’d ever seen before. The Northern Gannet takes 4-5 years to acquire its adult plumage, going from mostly brown to mostly white, as you can see here.
Besides Gulls and Terns an occasional Cormorant sailed by the end of the pier.
And some Pelicans kept a watchful eye on the fishermen along with those pesky Grackles.
As I left the pier I saw several House Sparrows in the vegetation along the shore.
I also visited Paynes Prairie Preserve over by Gainesville (Alachua County). The highlight was this Turkey that came charging toward me, but just ran by and headed off into the woods.
I was looking for several “new” birds (local rarities), but no luck again. However, I did see Cardinals, Sparrows, and Grebes.
While in Orlando again I had the opportunity to visit Merritt Island NWR and the Viera Wetlands, both in Brevard County. Several birds were sporting their breeding colors like this Reddish Egret for one.
I saw a pair of Northern Shovelers this time, a Tricolored Heron and the ubiquitous Osprey again.
At Viera Anhingas were nesting in the tops of palm trees. There appeared to be some territorial jostling going on among the males with one getting all “up in the air” about it.
Lots of Cormorants around as well, including this one with its “double-crests” showing.
Finally, before leaving the wetlands I saw this adult breeding White Ibis, and Cattle Egrets foraging for insects.
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Phil Graham–Photo Naturalist