Friday, February 20, 2015

Everglades - East to West

We left Port St. Lucie in heavy rains stopping at Brian Piccolo Park in Cooper City finding three pairs of very wet Burrowing Owls shaking off the rain and stretching their wings over their holes.

As the rain stopped, a flock of Monk Parakeets landed right next to the RV by the parking lot.

Our next stop south was Kendall where we found a noisy flock of Mitred Parakeets.  This neighborhood is north of the Baptist Hospital where we successfully searched for Red-Whiskered Bulbuls who didn't stick around long enough for a photo.
Bee on Apple Rose Blossom

We stayed at Miami-Everglades RV Resort for a week, located in the agricultural area north of Homestead.  The park was an Avocado and Mango Plantation once and had many interesting flora and fauna.
Apple Rose Fruit

Sausage Tree Blossom

Spiny-backed Orbweaver 

Eastern Fence Lizard

Lesser Black-backed Gull

We birded the urban Miami area early one morning and then drove to Key Biscayne.  At Crandon Park on the Atlantic Ocean were hundreds of shorebirds.  We found the rare Snowy Plover, Piping and Semipalmated Plovers, Black-bellied Plovers and Sanderlings, Dunlins and Dowitchers before the beach combers and dog walkers scattered the birds.
Iguana at former zoo area

Green-eyed Double-crested Cormorant

We spent four days exploring the Southeastern Everglades from Royal Palm to Flamingo. One day was spent with friends Art & Betsy Cavanaugh finding 65 species of birds and many other unique creatures.
Black Skimmer - bill close-up

Great Southern White Butterfly


Cotton Stainer AKA Red Bug

Red-shouldered Hawk

Wood Stork reflection

Red (walking) Mangrove

Beach Morning Glory

Black-necked Stilt

Osprey with lunch

Brown Pelican

We drove across the Florida peninsula on the Tamiami Trail and are now on Chokolaskee Island for the week.  We've walked most of the island and found 52 species of birds - the most unique being the Brown-crested Flycatcher.  
Brown-crested Flycatcher

We've taken two day trips from here to the Big Cypress Swamp, Fakahatchee Strand Nature Preserve, drove through the Florida Panther Preserve, Collier-Seminole State Park, Brigg's National Wildlife Refuge where we found this lost Semipalmated Plover on the boardwalk railing.

As with most of the rest of the east, we are also experiencing the polar plunge.  Hit 34 degrees this morning but the sun is warming things up fast.

We are enjoying beautiful sunsets daily over the Ten Thousand Islands of the western Everglades.

Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Spring is in the air!!

Limpkin - check that tongue

Yes, Spring is in the air - at least in South Florida it is.  Limpkins are calling - trying to attract a mate; robins are gathering, waiting for the snow to disappear up north; cardinals and mockingbirds sing their familiar territorial calls.
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Large Soft-shell Turtle

We spent a day with friends birding near Boynton Beach at the Green Cay and Wakodahatchee Wetlands area sharing God's creation together.
Purple Gallinule

  The rarest find was the Yellow-headed Blackbird that was way out of range.  Must have followed the Red-winged Blackbirds south for the winter.

Spent another day at the Jetty of Ft. Pierce and that rare Red Knot in winter plumage was still hanging out with the Ruddy Turnstones.

This Royal Tern was trying to impress someone (probably not us) with his crest as high as possible.
Gulf Fritillary 

We spent some time walking the grounds of the PSL Botanical Gardens.  Some beautiful plants that volunteers are caring for.  Not everything is labeled yet so we could use some help with identification on this succulent and the orchids farther down.
Rare Mangrove Skipper

A pair of Ospreys were very busy selecting the appropriate tree and bring in the branches and Spanish mosses.

Pileated Woodpecker - outstanding crest

Yellow-throated Warbler

Cattle Egret strolling the sidewalk

We leave for the Everglades Area tomorrow.  Looking forward to the more tropical birds in the south - but hope the mosquitoes are far and few between.

God's blessing to all,
Love & Prayers,   Ida & Ty

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Starting a new year

Each year we keep a record of the number of species of birds we see and 2014 was our "Big Year" finding 566 species.  We traveled from Arizona to California, Oregon, Washington north into British Columbia, Yukon and Alaska.  Then down through the Canadian Rockies of Alberta and BC to Montana and Wyoming, east through South Dakota, Iowa and back "home" to Wisconsin.
Io Moth Caterpillar 

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Although now home is wherever we find ourselves since we are full time RVing.    We then went around Lake Michigan and down the east side, through Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.  We followed the Atlantic Coast through South Carolina, Georgia and into Florida.  Our retirement list has reached 672 birds and we are on day 1,344; traveling over 85,000 miles in that time.  It will get much more difficult to add North American birds as time goes on.

N. Mockingbird

Little Blue Heron close up


Red-bellied Woodpecker

Now - for starting over - the first 100 birds are easy in Florida, less than 6 days.  But time to travel on if we want more.
Tree Frog

Pond Lily at White City Park

Along with walking around Wood Stork Trail near our RV Park in Port St. Lucie, we also traveled out to Allapattah Flats, Ft. Pierce Jetty and Hutchinson Island beaches on the ocean, Jonathan Dickinson State Park and the Savannah State Park.
Crested Caracara

Now for his close-up

Pop-up Showers come in along the coast

Brown Pelican

Sharp-pod Beach Morning Glory

We are enjoying our time with Daryl & Vicki and we also had a chance to meet with Patti Hancock-Myers and her new husband Bud as we both drove half-way across the Florida peninsula to have lunch.  It's also great to be able to watch the Packer games from where it is warm, we will be praying for Aaron's calf to heal so they can win some more.
Wilson's Snipe


Loggerhead Shrike finds a huge grub

Tricolored Heron immature

Paper Wasps start their next

Blue-headed Vireo

White Peacock Butterfly

Common Gallinules

Portuguese Man of War Jellyfish

It's always fun to find new birds and see all of God's creation wherever we go.

Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann