Friday, March 8, 2013

Paynes Prairie

It's been 6 weeks since my surgery and we decided it was time to try out my new hip at Paynes Prairie. We walked the La Chua Trail just before surgery and it was very difficult for me to finish the 3 mile loop. Yesterday we walked 2 of the 3 miles without any problems. I feel sure I could have done the whole loop but we didn't want to push it.

There were lots of birds, alligators and people enjoying the beautiful, sunny day. Our first avian sighting was this wonderful White-crowned Sparrow. 

We've occasionally seen them in Colorado, but never here in Florida. They were much rarer here in the southeast, but are slowly expanding their territory.

All of the usual herons, egrets and ibis were on hand.

It was breezy as this Great Blue Heron came in for a landing.

It's fun to see so many different kinds of birds together. The Anhinga has his wings spread, drying them in the sun; the White Ibis is keeping a close eye on the immature Ibis still sporting his brown feathers. Between them is a Little Blue Heron.

Lots of Pied-billed Grebes and another immature White Ibis to the right.

The Ibis keep their brown feathers for up to a year before they turn white.

You can just start to see the reddish blush on top of the Cattle Egret's head indicating he's ready to breed.

I love this shot of a Snowy Egret walking past this huge gator!

I was surprised to see so many Wood Storks as I thought they were further south. The way they were standing together in a group reminded me of Emperor Penguins.

We were playing peek-a-boo with a Great Blue Heron.

This Sora Rail was a nice addition to our list as we've not seen one here in Ocala before.

The Yellow-rumped Warblers have returned in droves. Note that the bright yellow patch is on the lower back not under the tail. The other smaller yellow patch is on the side.They were everywhere - rarely keeping still long enough for a decent shot.

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