Saturday, February 28, 2015

15 birds of February

February may have been a short month but there was no shortage of bird sightings on or around our Groveland homestead.

The highlight for me was seeing so many bluebirds right here on our property.

Below are three of many pictures (I'm embarrassed to say exactly how many I took...) of male and female bluebirds checking out the nesting boxes Ralph installed on Valentine's Day (best gift ever!)  More about that in my upcoming Simply Living column to be posted this Monday, March 2nd.

When it's not chowing down on insects, this little Carolina wren has been a frequent visitor to a suet feeder hanging just above the lantana on which it is perched.

A catbird perched in a sumac bush always mews at me when I pass by its territory in my rowboat.

So many chipping sparrows came to my birdfeeders this month.  These small brown-capped biddies with a black stripe going through and a white stripe above their eyes travel in flocks and supplement their diet of grass seeds and insects by filling up on the millet and other smaller seeds in a general birdseed mix.

In addition to the chipping sparrows, other regular visitors to our property were a pair of sandhill cranes.  Although the lake is too high for nesting this year, a pair has nested here in the past and it's very likely that they're the ones returning to search for bugs and birdseed that on the ground.

When they're not on the ground pecking for seeds, collared doves like to sit high up in the branches trees like this sycamore.

I took this picture of a great egret a few miles away from where we live in a small wetland where the nesting sandhill crane (pictured above) was sitting on her eggs.

A solitary pied-billed grebe, swims through the morning mist in the calm lake water.

On my way home from town one afternoon, I noticed several killdeer skittering across a nearby field.

The bright red plumage of this male cardinal looks especially against the yellowy color of a clump of Asian Lemon Timber Bamboo on the west side of our house.

I saw this American robin and several of its friends in a feeding frenzy gobbling down the fruit of a Chinaberry tree off Grassy Lake Road in Clermont.

I haven't seen any male redwing blackbirds at our feeders but quite a few females have become regulars this month.

A sweet little phoebe is well camouflaged among some older gray canes of bamboo.

No turkeys on our property during February (at least none that I saw) but I did notice a small flock feeding in the side yard of a house along Hwy 19 in Groveland.  I was so taken aback by their appearance in this less semi-urban setting that I had to turn the car around and go back for a second look.

And finally, a picture - not my best shot - of a bald eagle preening its feathers while perched on top of a snag across the lake from our house. A few minutes after I took it, two crows dive-bombed the eagle. Please visit my YouTube channel to see a short video of that encounter as well as several other wildlife movies I've made over the past couple years.

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