Saturday, December 8, 2012

Some Birds of SW Florida

I love bird watching - and the big water fowl are my favorites.  In the winter, many migratory birds join the year round residents of the southwest Florida coast.
The Snowy Egret is also called the "Golden Slipper Bird" because of its black legs and golden feet.  They were hunted nearly to extinction years ago when ladies loved their fluffy feathers for their fancy hats.
Double Crested Cormorants love channel markers for resting while watching for fish. They have webbed feet.
 A group of white ibis that roams our neighborhood.  You can spot the immature one by his spots.
 Sandhill cranes are common in the neighborhood.
 Cattle Egrets are common everywhere - especially in the cattle fields, where every cow has its own egret.
 Great white egret - there is a morph of a great blue heron in this area also that looks almost identical to the great white egret.  You can spot them by their yellow legs.
Little blue heron - white when immature but you can spot them by their greenish bill, legs, and feet.
Great blue heron - we see them all the way from Washington to Florida.
Osprey - starting a nest on a channel marker.
 Both black vultures and turkey vultures (with red heads) are common and often flock together.
 Brown pelicans are abundant along the shores.
 Sandhill cranes - usually seen in pairs.
 Seagulls normally seen in flocks.
 I spotted this vulture on the neighbor's roof.
Anhinga - often seen with spread wings as they have no oil glands so they need to dry out after they dive for dinner.
 Another Snowy Egret
 Tri-color heron - at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Wood Stork - supposedly endangered, but we see them in the drainage ditches along the highways often.
To see a variety of birds in one place, Ding Darling refuge is the best place for bird watching.  They have several overlook platforms  throughout the refuge.