Happy New Year & may it be a cool one!

January 1st, 2016!  Bill coughed all night & today it is 34C (almost 95F).  Not a very good start to the year as far as we’re concerned.  Well, it can only get better!  So it was a day for staying in & Bill watched football.  Well, maybe it can get worse, his team got beat (boo hoo Sooners!).

Jan. 2nd:  Overnight down to 20C!!  That’s the coolest it’s been in months!  Still slated to go up to 28 today.  By tomorrow there may be a cooling trend (at least 3 or 4 degrees).  So by 9:30 it was 30C – yikes.  Another day inside, hoping Billy will get over the worst of this terrible cough.

Jan. 3rd:  Another 20C morning with a large flock of White Ibis scavenging around the campground.  Billy had a better night, but is still napping quite a bit (more than usual).   High today was about 27!!  Rain later in the day cooled it off to 22!  HIgh tomorrow slated to be 22!

Jan. 4th:  Hallelujah – blessed sweet relief!  Low overnight – 17C!!  Slept with all the windows open & had to be covered by a blanket while I had my cappuccino!  Bill slept 12 hours last night & is very much better.  How he made it here last Wed must’ve been on adrelanin!  We actually went for our 1st walk in weeks today – it was just gorgeous!  High was forecast to be 22C (though it snuck up to 24).

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Not lots of birds, but a couple of beautiful butterflies!  Here is a beautiful zebra longwing.

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A monarch.

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And a Gulf fritillary.

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We actually found a couple of birds (nothing new) & there is always room for another Yellow-throated Warbler!  Sadly, it is slightly out-of-focus, but Billy isn’t quite up to par yet & didn’t have all his settings correct.  No doubt everyone will forgive him & will enjoy this little beauty anyway.

We also saw our first hummingbird – Black-throated, but it didn’t stay for a photo.

With the amount of rain we’ve had (including just plain humidity) there is always something growing.  Flowers everywhere.

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This little red Florida tasselweed whose flowers are less than half an inch across, provide a glowing red dot of color.

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These tiny white flowers (couldn’t identify them) remind me of swamp lilies, but are only an inch across.

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These giant yellow flowers bloom on a vine which covered the chain-link fence along the border of the RV park.  They are nearly 5″ across.

Acacia trees  produce these large 10-12″ pods.  Left, the bright green new pods – then right after they have dried & are ready to release their seeds.

There is a large mango orchard around the RV park & people are warned not to take the fruit.  The trees themselves are beautiful with large, dense canopies & dark green leaves.

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They are pretty old & have lots of epiphytes growing up in the branches as well as these interesting tiny ferns which grow in single leaves right out of the trunks.

Jan. 5th:  Another lovely cool night, with high today slated to 24.  But it is cloudy & cooler than that – 22!  Last load of laundry done & then on to Naples across the peninsula to the west side!

Jan. 6th:  A bit of rain this morning with temps about 21 & clouds, but we got hooked up without getting very damp – then it rained for the 1st hour (great wash for truck & trailer).  Only a little over 2 1/2 hour trip to the Naples/Marco Island KOA.  Set up & opened all the windows.  Ahhhhhh!

Jan. 7th:  16C overnight – wow!  What a beautiful morning!  Got out for a walk along the “dog” trail, though we didn’t see nor hear a bird.  Just so great to get out again.

Nearby is the Rookery Bay National Eetuarine Research Reserve which has a half-mile walking trail through some of this coastal area.

We were lucky enough to see a couple of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers as well as a glimpse of a Northern Parula, Yellow-throated Warbler & Palm Warbler.

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On the other hand, this strangler fig sat very still.

We stopped to check out a Bald Eagle nest site which attracts lots of visitors – seeing as there are only about 2 pair left on Marco Island since iy was built up with homes side-by-side, virtually wiping out all native flora.  One encouraging sign was the “NO FIREWORKS – SAVE OUR EAGLES”.  Americans are well-known to LOVE their fireworks, so this is something!  No eagles today for us though.

Next stop was a drive along a road through woodland/swampland.

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Our first spot was a Pileated Woodpecker.  Couldn’t get him to pose in the sun, but you can just see his red cap.

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There was one walk along an extensive boardwalk where we saw lots of fish in the water.  Could not identify them though you would think with that white spot on top & irredescent tail spots they’d be easy – not!

 

Also saw Osprey, Gray Catbirds which didn’t come out of hiding deep in the bushes (typical).  Also Great Egret, Brown Pelican & Pied-billed Grebe.

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Bill did save this little gopher tortoise (about 8″ long).  He got out of the truck & took its photo then moved it off to the side.  At the end of the road is a boat dock where both kayakers & motor tours depart from, so there is quite a bit of traffic (which doesn’t keep to the low speed limit).  There are signs warning to driive slowly for wildlife & that panthers may cross the road.

It ws a great day & we so enjoyed being out!

Dec. 8:  Today we walked the dog path again (& saw nothing, again).  But later in the day we visited the Ford dealership to look at the Explorer.  We are going to get rid of the Mercedes (for which no premium gasoline is available  in Maple Creek!) & get in line with the locals.  An Explorer looks about right to us.  The dealership has an Osprey nest on-site!  The salesman said he’s watched the babies grow up.   Two of them were flying around & calling when we got there & eventually alit on the nest.  Cool!

Our next venture was going “by the book” to look for parrots.  We headed into a residential area where they said Rose-ringed Parrakeets were often seen, but no luck.  However, we saw a man feeding pigeons (Mourning Doves & Rock Pigeons) in his driveway.  He directed us to the next street over.  So off we went & at last some luck!  We spotted the parrots up in some trees & Bill got out to photograph them & I to look with binoc’s.  Then a man motioned us to come into his home – which we did.  He feeds them from his boat dock at the back of his (gorgeous) home.  Here are a few shots of these beauties.

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Rose-Ringed Parakeets are indigenous to Africa & Asia – & these are escapees living in the wild successfully.  I included the photo of them taking flight because of the beautiful yellow feathers which splay out from their tails.  This man is 82 & an ex-pilot.  He said he used to own some other properties which had other parrot species, but they were mosly taken (as in stolen for selling).  Boo hoo.  He also told us that he never latches his door & if we came back in the morning, to just come on in & see them at 8:30!!  Holy Mackerel, eh?!!  It was really a thrill I must say & we celebrated by going out to dinner afterward!

Dec. 10:  A pretty reasonable temp this morning to head over to Tigertail Beach.  Luckily the tide was still out & we found some shorebirds there which tickled us greatly – especially when you hear what they are (hint:  2 Lifers!).

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This is the Gulf of Mexico & there are several large apartment buildings very close to the shore. I’d say lots of the people who live there go for a walk on the beach.  Young & old, runners, walkers, surfers, kayakers, fishers & sunbathers.  This is a huge white sand beach.

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This ring-billed Gull was trying to entuce us to drop a crumb for him.  We, sadly, had nothing with us (ha ha!)

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Amongst all the grenery are a few flowers.

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Singing right in the parking lot was a glowing N. Cardinal.

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As you can see, the sand is covered with little bird foot marks.

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Now here are some of the shorebirds making those marks.  This is a Least Sandpiper – smallest of the sandpipers.

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Short-billed Dowitcher (you oughtta see a long-billed!).

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This little guy is fairly engangered & its breeding territories are flagged to be protected further north – Piping Plover.  (Not everyone obeys the signs, of course).

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Now 1 of our Lifers – Wilson’s Plover.

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Also a Lifer – Snowy Plover.  Yay!

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As always, we see Ospreys everywhere.  So lovely.

Even though we did get quite a few insect bites, the elation of getting new birds even made it bearable!  The mind is an interesting thing!

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2 Responses to Happy New Year & may it be a cool one!

  1. Jeranium says:

    A bit confusing with the December dates, but sounds like the heat has finally broken!

  2. birderspost says:

    Yes – sorry about the few days left in Dec. Then the new year & indeed after a couple of days, cooler!

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