Ok, so let me tell a quick story. Early this year (I suppose around spring migration), I went to the Viera Wetlands with a friend. We happened across a couple excitedly tracking a small bird. The gentleman was so excited, he came right up to us and asked if we had seen the Lark Bunting, pulled out his Sibley’s, showed us how rare it was in Florida, and told us how this one seemed to be bold; hopping from the ground to the fence as it went along. We never did see the bird ourselves, but every time I have been out there since, I have looked far and wide for this bird in the hopes that I might get lucky.
Flash forward to today; when I saw the little bird land on the gate, I followed with my eyes, U-turned, snapped a quick photo before (s)he flew off (and the car coming up behind me could get any closer), and went on my birding way. When I saw the photo, my heart jumped. The rest of the day, while overall species count was average, was somewhat slow, presumably because the weather was so bad. The ponds at the wetlands were especially empty, even low on Amer. Coots! But if the Universe hands me that sighting in lieu of lots of other sightings for the day, I am thankful and doing my victory dance (not that the Universe owes me anything, mind you)! 😀
Thanks for the compliments on the photos. I am a bit of a shutterbug so I figure that if I take 100 pictures of a single warbler, one of them is likely to be good! To be honest, I am still “cheating” with the “Auto” setting on this camera most of the time. Thankfully many of the smallish birds at Turkey Creek ignore my clicking presence and the smallish birds I photograph at home can’t see me because the tint is reflective, broken by white pane-bars (or whatever you would calls those things). It’s the ones like Mr. Sparrow there that I have to worry about because three out of four of those blasted car windows don’t go down and Photoshop doesn’t correct it very nicely! 😕
DaLo, I’m thinking you are correct on the patagial markers with the vultures. That looks like it would be much easier to read from the ground. As for why they would track the vultures, well, I don’t know about the Turkey Vultures, but the Black Vultures are migratory. Their program was trying to study the migration habits, perhaps? It’s been a couple years since I found out about it, but if I can locate the info, I will post it here.
SLB, I feel like I see far more of the female Amer. Redstarts here, too. This guy was a bit of a loner. My oldest actually spotted him and asked about his ID. I’ve never seen an oriole, but I know that we generally only have two orange and black species and as he jumped through the tree a bit more, I told my son to keep an eye on him while I ran to the car for the camera. I’m just happy I decided to take it with to get photos of the Willet that day!
Jo, you will love Turkey Creek and the Viera Wetlands! Winter at the wetlands is very active because the migratory waterbirds are all about and there are a great number of raptors and sparrows to be seen. Turkey Creek is pretty steady through the winter. Sometimes it takes a bit of patience, but if you just wait in the right areas for about ten minutes, they all come out around you. I do a lot of “birding by ear” there too; often I hear them first. If you want to meet up for birding there, let me know. If it falls through, I can at least give you an idea of the hot spots throughout (from my experience, anyway).
And of course that invitation is extended to the group. If any of you find yourselves birding in this direction, holler! 🙂
I got a few good photos today, but since this post got a little lengthy on its own, I’ll try and post them tomorrow.