|Glossy Ibis (left) and White Ibis|
It started on Friday morning at Paynes Prairie. As the gates opened at 8:00, I immediately headed out La Chua Trail. I hoped to find the White-faced Ibis that had recently been reported to be hanging out near the observation deck. It's been a couple of winters since I've seen one in Florida, and it's liable to be a couple more. I did find two gorgeous Glossys which I tried hard to turn into White-faced Ibises, but both had dark eyes. There were also a few White Ibises in breeding plumage. Look at the red face and bill of the White Ibis in the photo on the left. Beautiful! The Glossy's colors are rich and equally impressive. A close up of one of the Glossy Ibises is below, right.
After it flew off, I sat there congratulating myself and then glanced back at the feeder. What's this? A female Painted Bunting! The cameras had already been put away, and the bird flew off after only a moment, but it felt like I had received a really cool bonus. Seriously, who expects a Western Tanager and a Painted Bunting at the same feeder in a small yard in Florida within a few moments of each other?
Nothing remarkable happened during Sunday's birding and I didn't even get out into the field on Monday, so there was nothing to report. Then earlier today I spent a very cold morning trying unsuccessfully to get a good photo of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Now I blame this on Alachua County birder Bob Wallace. He convinced me to add a "Birds Photographed in Florida" category to my County Listing website <www.flcountylisting.com>. Once I added the category I just had to get serious about taking pictures. The problem, of course, is that I don't have a decent camera. This blog had always relied on others for decent photos. All I have is an iPhone 4S and a great Leica APO Televid 65mm spotting scope. Still, I had reached 99 species on my list and was determined to get #100. So there I was this morning freezing my backside off with my phone attached to the scope and trained on a feeder some 100 feet away. The bird showed up numerous times ... on different feeders or on the backside of the target feeder ... but I couldn't get a decent shot. Finally, I got one usable picture. It isn't the best (below left), but it's good enough for me to use as my 100th tick on my photo list.
So all of that time and patience paid off in another, less obvious manner. On the way back to Gainesville I had to stop at the post office in Alachua. While I stood in the parking lot, a White-winged Dove flew into a tree just above my eye level and no more than 10 yards away. It stayed still as I got out the scope and phone, attached the eye ring to the phone and the phone to the scope, and then posed for the photo below, right. A few seconds later it flew away. If I had been any earlier or later, I wouldn't have gotten the shot. Sometimes luck is better than expertise!
|White-winged Dove, #101|