|A family of Pied-billed Grebes in a retention pond.|
My first stop today was a retention pond just off Main Street in Gainesville where others have found a family of Pied-billed Grebes. It took about two minutes. The whole family swam together enjoying the beautiful morning.
|A Barred Owl who thinks he's an eagle.|
As I drove into the park, I saw two Barred Owls scare up from the bank of the boat launch canal. Odd. It was about 10:00 AM, and owls are typically hiding in the woods, not out in the open at a public boat ramp. I parked, hopped out, and reached for my camera. Oh yeah, it's dead, victim of a salt water splash in the face in Alaska. So, I grabbed my iPhone and attached it to my spotting scope, certain that the owls were no longer in the same tree. I was right. One of them had flown to the dock and perched on a pole. Then he flew toward me and landed on a wooden piling right next to the water. What happened next took me by complete surprise. The owl leaped from its perch, swooped low over the water, and pulled a fish from the water! What the heck? Did it think it was an eagle? Then, while I was trying to get my jaw off the ground, the second owl dove from the tree and repeated the fishing expedition, also grabbing a fish from the canal! I've been birding quite heavily for the past 13 years or so, and I've never seen an owl go fishing. What a thrill! The Summer Tanager I spotted in the trees along the canal was also a nice find, but the owl was the star of the day.
I drove over to Palm Point and checked out the water's edge along the path, hoping to find a Limpkin. I saw a few Double-crested Cormorants, an Anhinga, and a Little Blue Heron, but no Limpkin. Grrrrr.
|Limpkin in a tree|
On to the next stop .... a small parking lot outside of a place I have recently learned is called Sunland Center State Park. Who knew? A small path led to the edge of the lake. I stood there looking around, hoping to find a Limpkin, but I had no luck. Then I heard one call ... from directly ABOVE me. It was sitting in the tree directly over my head! Am I a great birder or what? I scrambled up the hill, grabbed my iPhone/scope and tapped away. You can see the results here.
It was getting late, but I decided to return to the parking lot off SR 26 I had visited earlier and make one more effort for that Yellow-throated Vireo. I played a tape and the bird flew right to me. I figured that was a great way to end the day, so I gave it up and headed home. I now have 72 species for the month and haven't gotten to La Chua Trail yet -- but that's coming!