Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Memorable Trip to Fort Myers

 We had to return to our condo in Fort Myers to finalize some repairs. On the way we stopped at Babcock-Webb to do a little birding. The usual herons, egrets and ibises were there - but not yet in the numbers spring will bring.

I never tire of seeing and photographing the Great Blue Herons!

An Eastern Phoebe posing in the trees.

 Overhead, the White Ibis are heading south.

This little guy looked different to us - but we couldn't quite put our finger on why. It looked like a smaller version of our Northern Flicker. I believe it's a subspecies - a smaller variant of the Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker. Our Colorado Flickers are easily 12 inches long - this one was about 8 inches long.

After leaving Babcock-Webb, we headed to the condo. About 5 miles from home a truck pulled out right in front of us. There was no possible way to avoid a collision but Bill did his very best to lessen the impact. We credit his RC flying for the ability to react so quickly.

Yes, that's me still sitting in the car. My door was pinned shut by the truck. I had to climb over the center console and out the driver's side door. Fortunately, Bill and I along with the driver of the truck are all fine. Our seat belts and airbags saved us from serious injury. The car - not so much. The other driver immediately accepted responsibility for the accident so her insurance will pay the bills.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


 We often see American Kestrels around Ocala, but this is their slightly larger and less often seen falcon cousin, Merlin. I've only photographed a couple - so he was a treat, even if he was far away and on top of a phone pole.

Last week we went down to Fort Myers to open our condo and get it ready for season. We were very busy hiring a new cleaning crew and rental company, re-stocking the shelves, upgrading the electronics and fixing some minor water damage but I still managed to get to a couple of my favorite birding spots and see who was in town. A quick trip through Ding Darling and we only stopped once - to see the White Pelicans.

Six-Mile Cypress Slough was a bee-hive of activity. Lots and lots of little birds in the trees and bushes. The Black-and-white Warbler is always one of my favorites.

I've never seen so many Blue-gray Gnatcatchers! Every time I see one, I think about my daughter-in-law Cheryl. She is a birder and was the first one to point out the small gray bird to us.

We saw three Yellow-crowned Night Herons on our walk around the slough. All were hiding in the trees on the far side of one of the ponds.

But our biggest thrill was the three Bald Eagles that we spotted! This is the mature adult.

The immature all brown Bald Eagle is on the left and the adult with the white head and tail is on the right.

This is the third Eagle. You can still see some brown on his head.

 On our way back to Ocala on busy Route 75, we had a blow-out and spent the next two hours sitting on the side of the road waiting for AAA. Several other cars had the same fate at the same place. The police surmised that we ran over parts of a blown truck tire - (lots of steel belts) and that caused the problem. Four new tires later and we're back in business!