Sunday, May 06, 2007

Birding, again

Alexandra and I took our second "big" birding trip this week with my mom who was visiting us for a few days. Our two big outings during her visit were to go birding and to visit the art museum to see the Impressionists paintings. We had a great visit, and it was sad to see her leave.

Our first bird of the day - a yellow-crowned night heron. Alexandra was the one to spot him. We watched him for several minutes and even saw him eating. We also saw a red-bellied woodpecker at this first stop.

We saw lots of animals and flowers at our second stop. The above photo is of a barn swallow's nest. I'll spare you the photo of the other nest that had about a 4 foot snake in it. (Hmmm... what was he doing there??? I shudder to think, but I guess that's nature!) The snake later came down and we got about 2 foot from him and I took a lot of photos. The people at the information desk said they thought it was a rat snake. I'll try to make a positive identification later.

We also saw about half a dozen alligators at our second stop. This is my third time to see them out in the wild, and it is still amazing!

Other things we saw on our second stop: Mockingbird, Mourning Dove, Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle, Cattle Egret, Barn Swallow, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown Headed Cowbird (male and female), Snake (rat snake?), Great Egret, Orchard Oriole (adult male), Hummingbird (probably Ruby Throated - we only saw it as a silouette), Tennessee Warbler, Cardinal, Green anole, Turtle, Baltimore Oriole, Kingbird, Common Moorhen, American Coot, and Cormorant.

Our third stop was cut short by thunder and rain. But, the birds were active and I wish we could have stayed longer! The more experienced birders were excited to see a female Western Tanager which are usually found west of the Rockies! Alexandra enjoyed watching the rabbit that sat munching in front of us for about 10 minutes. We also spotted a red-bellied woodpecker, a rose-breasted grosbeak, and another baltimore oriole. We saw a few others that the birders pointed out, but they didn't get recorded.

Our fourth stop was to the Rookery Island. We saw quite a few mama egrets and their babies. They had grown a lot since we saw them two weeks ago. They were so cute! We got to watch the moms feed the babies.

Alexandra in front of the island of nests next to the warning sign about alligators. And, yes, we saw two alligators near the island.

To get to view this island, we passed through some woods with lots of mosquitos. We actually turned around and went back for more mosquito spray. Then, we jogged through the woods to avoid getting bit.

Unfortunately, this is also where I get a pretty nasty spider bite on my stomach. (At least, that's what we think it was.) Within 30 minutes, it was pretty swollen and red and we had to stop for medicine. It got to be about 5 inches by 3 inches large and was swollen, red, and feverish. And, my 4 mosquito bites (at least, that's what I think they were) also get inflammed and swollen. The back of my hand was pretty large. This experience taught me to bring a first aid kit from now on!

Our fifth stop was to see some pelicans on the beach. I love pelicans! But, this stretch of beach was pretty smelly.

We also found this beautiful blue jelly fish that had washed up on the shore. My mom's shoe is in the photo for size-comparison.

Our last stop of the night was the beach. We found an old platic bottle that was covered with barnacles. I tried some close up shots, but they didn't turn out very well.

Alexandra probably enjoyed this last stop the best. She got to play in the ocean! I wish we could have stayed longer. Next time, we'll spend more time on the beach!


Sherri said...

You love nature and the outside, don't you? You give your daughter so many wonderful experiences. I love seeing what you are up to!

Robin said...

You know, I've found that the birds are really more visable in my area when it IS raining, or threatening to rain. I love to sit outside and just watch. It's relaxing.
I'm freaking out thinking about a spider crawling on you long enough to bite! EWwwww! That was a nasty reaction. I think you'll have to include some Benadryl in your first aid kit. Goodness!

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