This is my extremely overdue post on my second day in Tallahassee which was spent mainly at St. Marks National Wildlife Preserve. Sorry about the delay, but I hope the pictures are worth it!
I loved the hills in the Panhandle of Florida!
Bagworms in the sunlight.
As soon as we got into St. Marks we stopped on a little bridge and looked for some birds. We found some! My friend Gabriel says this is most likely a White-eyed Vireo. My first one ever! (that I know of) Yay! We were pretty far away, and he was a small bird, so good luck finding him! 🙂
Thorny vine-resembling plant. It was growing straight up from the ground with no support. Anybody know what it is?
We then stopped at the visitor center and saw a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher in a tree! Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera on, but it was a great first bird to see!
We drove around for a while and found a trail to walk. On it we saw this vibrant dragonfly which might be a Red Meadowhawk. Anyone know for sure?
Big black bumblebees on large thistle-like flowers. (are they thistles? Anyone?)
I am almost confident that this is a Halloween Pennant Dragonfly.
I liked this osprey flying overhead. The original picture was quite bleached, but Picasa saved me! Now it looks artistic, don’t you think?
We saw crabs!
These flowers were beautiful!
Not pictured, 2 Belted Kingfishers. 😀
Since we had heard from the man at the visitor center that someone had reported a Pygmy Rattlesnake the day before, we left the tall grass and headed back to our car.
Surprisingly, our next find was a Great Egret in a dead tree in the middle of a pond/lake. When we drove back past him many hours later, he was still there! It was a bit odd, but pretty funny!
We went to another trail which was located behind the restrooms. There we spotted this Great Crested Flycatcher.
And a Red-Bellied Woodpecker.
This is a test of your eyesight. Can you find the tiny bird? Mwahahahaha It might be a Titmouse or Chickadee… What do you think?
Another woodpecker, this time either a Hairy or Downy.
Back to Mr./Mrs. Flycatcher!
Prairie Warbler! Another first for me! (Warblers are hard to find, sorry if you can’t see him)
Another first, a Mississippi Kite! Sorry the picture is so noisy, (photographer lingo for grainy) I had to crop this because he was so high in the sky.
When Dad and I first saw this bird we really hoped it was an Ovenbird, (we’ve never seen one) but it wasn’t. It may be a juvenile Eastern Towhee, Gabriel thinks, but he’s not sure.
Now this is definitely a Carolina Chickadee. 😀
Our first Yellow Warblers of our life and day! We’d see more later on in the day, but that might be in a later post.
The Mississippi Kite circled back over us again. They are a type of hawk, so he was most likely hunting.
There were LOTS of Cardinals around.
That trail was full of mosquitoes, deerflies, horseflies, and yellow biting flies, so we left.
While we were driving along we saw an otter try to cross the road in front of us! It ran back into the bushes when it saw us, so we stopped and backed up slowly to not frighten it. We waited for about, I don’t know, 1 minute, and got tired of waiting. So we started to drive away. As we passed the place where we saw it go in, it darted across the street behind us!!! The smart little fellow… 🙂
The next things we saw did not try to run (or fly) away from us. Roseate Spoonbills!
A little Snowy Egret and a Tri-Colored Heron.
Eventually we reached the end of the road which dumped us onto this little point with a lighthouse and lots of shorebirds! Gabriel was kind enough to identify them for me, so here goes.
“2 Sandwich Terns and 3 Laughing Gulls (juvenile).”
Sorry about the blue thing in this next picture, I got the car’s mirror on accident.
“1 Ruddy Turnstone, 7 Willets (I believe), and 2 terns (possibly Least Terns; not in breeding plumage).”
Some type of Rail… maybe Clapper? A very shy little guy.
I love this simple picture…
At first I thought that this was a Kildeer, but Gabriel corrected me that it is most likely a Semipalmated Plover. I consulted my field guide and think he’s right.
This one has, “9 Ruddy Turnstones (they all have black coverts), 1 Piping Plover (it is the one with a black “collar”). There may be one Sanderling.”
This one is either a, “Laughing or Bonaparte’s Gull.”
Eight Double-Crested Cormorants.
Cute little feller…
A Black-Bellied Plover, still in breeding plumage!!! This was a first for me, and I had always wanted to see one!
Red-Winged Blackbirds with a female Grackle I think.
A large flock of Black Skimmers flew by!
About the time when I took the Cormorants picture, a weird bird flew past my dad and me. We described it to some of the other birders there, and they said it was probably an Oystercatcher! See the black-headed bird with the bright orange bill in the picture? That’s it! I took this picture later, when we found him again.
“1 Marbled Godwit, 21 Willets, 7 Ruddy Turnstones, and a mystery tern (again, it might be a Least Tern).”
“1 American Oystercatcher, 1 Marbled Godwit (off to the right side; not in focus), 5 Ruddy Turnstones, 8 Willets, 14 mystery terns (they might be Least Terns).”
Some of the gulls and other various birds were lying on the sand. I thought it looked kind of funny. 🙂
We saw the Roseates again.
We were happy with our successful day and thanking God for his glorious creation when we saw some cars pulled over ahead of us. Usually that means that there is something to see, so we slowed down. At the same time we saw the birds and chorused, “Kingbirds!” We had never seen Eastern Kingbirds but had always wanted to. There was three that we saw, and boy were they amazing!
Haha, here I interrupt myself for a short minute, to ask if anyone knows what this bug is. I know, I should stay on topic, but too bad! Any ideas?
A nice huge grasshopper.
Back to the Kingbirds.
A little Hairy (I think) showed up too.
OK, I am not waiting for another post, here’s the second Yellow Warbler we saw! What a stunning shade of yellow, right? Wow!
Soon we decided we should start heading back home, so we reported back to the visitor center and recorded our finds. I bought a new field guide, (a Sibley one!) and a St. Marks t-shirt. We left with happy hearts and full SD Cards. 🙂
My next and final post in this series will be of my nighttime experimentation while in the car and a great rainbow!