Saturday, February 26, 2011

Where's the Owl?

Today was the Cape Coral Burrowing Owl Festival and I took a ride over to check it out.  I applaud the efforts of conservationists to raise funds to help preserve habitat and support research of these cute little owls.  The festival though lacked a focus on Burrowing Owls and instead had a general air of chaos with tents of mixed tables of educational resources, vendors, and nonprofit organizations.  There were two Eastern Screech Owls making an appearance and one stuffed Burrowing Owl.  So, after leaving, we drove around town and found our own.

Burrowing Owl
We came across another field with evidence of owls and driving along found this pair of owls sitting on one of the perches put up by conservationists.  Also hanging out on the power lines were a couple of other predators.  An American Kestrel got lucky and caught himself an Anole.  This Loggerhead Shrike was more interested in what I was doing than hunting.

Pair of Burrowing Owls
American Kestrel with a snack
Loggerhead Shrike
After returning from the drive over the bridge and back to Fort Myers, I took a quick ride over to the 'canal' behind some near by houses and found a few fun birds.  Here they are, no text included, just a few pictures.


Alligator in the pond

White Ibis

Tricolor Heron

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Transition

In all honesty a combination of work and snow fairly squashed my efforts of making it a truly successful Big January.  I can't even say that I broke my previous years half-hearted effort or that I got out in the field more than two times during the entire month.  Needless to say, having barely broken 60 species, I won't report my findings, although I may add a few photos to this post to lighten the mood.

I can say all this without feeling much remorse because of two reasons.  One is that I did get out earlier this month (Feb) and get a life bird that has been evading me since last winter.  Both this year and last there has been reports of a Eurasian Wigeon spending time at Stratford Point.  Even though I have gone out repeatedly to find the bird specifically I hadn't been successful.  In fact one day I went out, photographed as many wigeon groups as possible to analyze them later without finding it AND someone else reported the bird on the same day.  Finally, a couple of weeks ago I rolled in to Stratford Point and a very nice man, was on the Eurasian Wigeon and let me 'borrow' his scope to see.  That's the second life bird this year I wouldn't have had without the generosity of other birders.

The 2nd reason I can divulge my January failings is that as I type this I am sitting in the 80 degree temperatures of Florida.  Having arrived eight hours ago and spent the majority of my time relaxing in the sun, I've already spotted Wood Stork, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Osprey, Pied-billed Grebe, Mottled Duck, Little Blue Heron, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Anhinga, and Common Ground Dove just to name a few.  January may have not been the biggest success of the year but I'm making up for it in the next five days.  Time to make a plan of attack.  I want to find two life birds on this trip... now to go decide which ones and where I can find them!