Birding Down South

Mottled Duck

My birding pal Adrienne and I birded Okeeheelee Park and Green Cay Wetlands, in Palm Beach County today. Lots of photos so let’s get started. There are many more, larger photos on my photo gallery. Please have a look at them, too.

OKEEHEELEE PARK

I’ve posted photos from Okeeheelee Park before, here and here.

Mourning Dove and two Eurasian Collared Doves

Mourning Dove and two Eurasian Collared Doves

Adrienne thinks doves are “junk birds,” but the Eurasian Collared Dove is worth thinking about. Although they’ve only been in this country since the 1970s, you can see they are succeeding well in native Mourning Dove habitats. Exotic species often out-compete our natives, sometimes causing great ecological harm. The long-term effects of Eurasian Collared Doves is unknown.

Male Painted Bunting

Male Painted Bunting

The highlight of Okeeheelee for me was seeing several Painted Buntings, male (colorful) and female (green).

Male Painted Bunting

Male and Female Painted Bunting

A squirrel insisted on posing and I couldn’t resist.

Gray Squirrel

More photos from Okeeheelee Park on my gallery.

GREEN CAY

Green Cay is a man-made wetland used for water treatment. A 1.5-mile boardwalk winds through the marshes, presenting many good photo opportunities. As soon as we arrived, eagle-eyed Adrienne spotted a Black-Necked Stilt, a new bird for me.

Black-Necked Stilt

It was way over on the far side of the marsh, almost out of camera range. Nearer the boardwalk, an Anhinga was taking a break.

Anhinga

Anhinga feathers were popular with the millinery trade about 100 years ago, and this species suffered huge depredations before government action put an end to the plume trade.

We saw quite a few Pied Bill Grebes.

Pied Bill Grebe

They’re hard to photograph because they keep diving underwater, and you never know where and when they’ll resurface.

Moorhens were also in abundance.

Moorhen

Moorhen and Turtles

This one thought the algae on the turtles’ backs looked appetizing; the turtles weren’t sure they wanted the bird pecking at their shells, but seemed tolerant.

Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis

How can the Glossy Ibis see where what it’s doing? They don’t have to. The tips of their beaks are very sensitive. They sweep the water while working their beaks open and closed. When they sense a soft morsel, the beak slams shut and they gulp it down.

Dabbling Green Winged Teal

Dabbling Green Winged Teal

Green-Winged Teal belong to the “dabbling duck” category. These fishers brought to mind the Water Rat’s “Ducks’ Ditty,” from Kenneth Grahame’s Wind In The Willows

Ducks’ Ditty

All along the backwater,
Through the rushes tall,
Ducks are a-dabbling,
Up tails all!

Ducks’ tails, drakes’ tails,
Yellow feet a-quiver,
Yellow bills all out of sight
Busy in the river!

Slushy green undergrowth
Where the roach swim–
Here we keep our larder,
Cool and full and dim.

Everyone for what he likes!
WE like to be
Heads down, tails up,
Dabbling free!

High in the blue above
Swifts whirl and call–
WE are down a-dabbling
Up tails all!

Mottled Duck bathing

Mottled Duck

This Mottled Duck was enjoying its bath. Another photo here.

Mottled Duck bathing

Blue-Winged Teal

The Blue-Winged Teal were more reserved.

Green Heron

Green Heron

This Green Heron was intent on finding lunch. All this birding made us hungry too, so we wrapped up and went for pizza. My birding pal is moving away, and will be greatly missed!

More photos here
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