Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hummingbird!!! And the budgie again!

Hello gorgeous, good to see you again.
Black-throated Blue Warbler
The wood duck looked hilarious, partly molted and going about its business quickly.  
Wood Duck
 This redstart looks to me like a poker player fanning out a good hand - read 'em and weep!

American Redstart

 I hope this is the same budgie I saw near the pond a while back.  I wonder if it will stick around.


 I really need to figure out how to prevent overexposure like this in full sun.

 Hello little gem, I have been looking forward to your arrival!
Yes, we will meet at the upper lobe and the oven for many days.  You will not know that we are meeting, but I will become quite attached.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Whale Sharks!

Whale Shark Day!

What an amazing experience.  We got up early, had breakfast at the resort, and got on the shuttle to the pier.  Once there we got onto the boat, and rode for about an hour out to where the sharks were.  There were lots of boats out there, and we were thrilled to see the sharks feeding from the boat.  They swim just a few feet under the surface, their fins and/or tail frequently breaks the surface.

Once we got into the water, the first shark we saw was tilted upwards and was feeding in place, which looked odd to me, but I was happy to have a stationary shark for our first one.  Later the guide said it was agitated, so I wished we had just left it alone.  Oh well.

Next the guide took off to see how fast we could swim, getting over to a shark.

Then it was just shark after shark.

We swam as fast as we could to catch up to the sharks and stay with them, which was incredibly fun!

We were in the water with the sharks for about 2 hours, and it didn't feel like it was long enough.

Hanging out with my new BFF.

It's been a dream of ours for years to see a whale shark, and it was amazing to see so many of them and spend so much time with them.  :-)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Nesting Sea Turtles!

At the resort near Playa Del Carmen, walking back to our room from dinner (it was quite a ways) we saw a couple hanging out on the beach. We politely ignored them (hey, everyone needs privacy sometimes) but as we walked by they said, "Hey, you guys, I don't know if you want to see...... a giant sea turtle?"

Well, actually that sounds great!  We love giant sea turtles!  It turns out that some turtles come up onto the beach to nest and they had found one.  It was a full moon and a clear night, so it was perfect nesting time.  While we were watching one turtle dig her nest, another turtle came out of the ocean, went straight over to the digging turtle and sort of clambered right on in, right on top of the digging turtle!  The digging turtle left, and the interloper started digging.  She totally stole the digger's nest!

There was still plenty of digging to do, though.  The sand was flying!  I sat behind her and got sand flipped onto my feet and ankles.  It was great!

We saw one or two more that night, including this one who apparently wanted to dig under the beach chairs.

The next night we took our friends out to look, and saw one actually laying her eggs.  We were careful to be quiet and not use a flash, thus, we have no decent pictures.  We left when she started to cover them up to give her peace of mind while hiding her eggs.

There is a crew that comes by and labels the nests, and then someone else comes to collect the eggs and take them to a hatchery.

Eventually they release the baby turtles, which my friend got to do, but I wasn't there.  It was such a great treat!  I knew it was nesting time, but I didn't think they turtles would come up onto our beach.  :-)  Bye, sea turtles, it was wonderful seeing you!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mexico: Herons, Egrets, Ibis, Anhingas

We stayed in a resort that backed up to mangroves, so of course I went exploring even though I wasn't really supposed to.  It was pretty interesting back there!

The most exciting thing was the anhingas!  Hahahaha, my spellcheck wants to change that to "astonishing."

I wanted to see them in Costa Rica but didn't find any, so I was very happy to see them here.  I saw at least three individuals, it looked like one female .......

and two males.  It might have been different ones on different days, but on one day I could see all three from the same spot.

Also cool to see were the white ibis flying around, I saw groups of 3-4 of them flying by a few times each day.

Even cooler through branches!  :-)

This green heron teased me by flying by a few times.  I tried to see where it landed, but it completely defeated me until it started flying again.

This great blue heron had to go.  At first I thought I must have spooked it, but then.......

This tri-colored heron sat on the recently vacated branch.  So maybe this guy scared the great blue heron away.

It's weird though because this one is smaller, and this particular individual looks like a juvenile.

This snowy egret flew by a couple of times one day.  A great egret flew by also, but my camera lens was still foggy (what happens when you have A/C and it's hot and humid out) so the pictures are rubbish.

I loved the mangroves!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hello Warblers! :-)

At the point this red-bellied woodpecker flirted with me for a while.  

This eastern kingbird was also at the point, looking for something tasty.

Saw something - gotta go!

Yay!  The yellow warbler!

This black and white warbler was happy to be back in the land where several birders have cameras.

It was posing beautifully.

It looked like some sort of swift was flying around above the lake for a little while.  I thought I saw a swallow also (smaller and much more flappy) but it completely evaded my camera.

At the oven the yellow warbler came by to visit!  I'm so out of practice with these fast little birds.

This raccoon was definitely more my speed.  Looks like a great idea to me!

There were two waterthrushes today by the little wooden bridge on the streamlet.  They were maddening to try to get pictures of!

Two American redstarts came through, and this is the only picture I got that shows the bird and is not a hopeless blur!  They were even faster than the yellow warbler......

A downy came by, distracting me from the redstarts and looking quite beautiful.

This tufted titmouse is hungry, and wants to be ~very~ ~clear~ with its parents that it definitely needs more food.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Central Park in the Hot, Hot Summer

Today I went back to Central Park, with my camera this time!  Hahahaa, much good may it do me.  Those birds know when a camera is around, and they laugh, laugh, laugh.  Hoping to find the waterthrush and yellow warbler I saw on Friday, I went right up to the ramble. I stopped briefly at the upper lobe, where at first I saw  nothing but tourists and dragonflies. But then a red-tailed hawk flew overhead, which is always a welcome treat!

It flew over to a building and landed on a window decoration, and showed off how red its tail is.  It stayed there for longer than I did, with its gorgeous red tail soaking up the sun.

To the streamlet!  Alas, no waterthrush.  I walked along that streamlet nice and slow, even the mourning doves would have to agree.  But no waterthrush, and no yellow warbler.  Around azalea pond, still nothing but robins and cardinals.  Actually one male cardinal was especially friendly, flying to the fence ahead of me and looking at me pointedly, as if to say, "Well?  Where are my peanuts?"

At the oven I saw this vivid Baltimore oriole cooling off in the water.

When he hopped out he was looking bedraggled but happy!

Also at the oven I saw this mystery bird hanging out with some house sparrows.  UPDATE:  Consensus from experienced birders is that this is a red eyed vireo.  Which I thought it might be at first, but the white patches confused me.  There's always more to learn!  :-)

I don't know who was harassing who, but these two did not get along very well.

Then out to the point, where this very-non-cute cardinal chick was crying until its mother fed it.

I guess it's a late hatcher?  Or maybe a second round chick?  It was cool to see it.  :-)