Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Nature Coast Wildlife Watching




Our first stop after leaving Port St. Lucie was St. Cloud and more great looks of the Florida specialty - the Snail Kite.








We also found an unusual Boat-tailed Grackle at the Lake Park.  The bird is leucistic showing a lot of white where it should be all black.





We had a picnic lunch with Neil Payne at his home southwest of Disney World.  Although he is from Wisconsin we have only visited him in Florida and Newfoundland.


We drove to Thonotosassa and stayed at River Palms RV Park.  So glad they had a pool as it was 90 degrees for the 2 days we were there.
Took a walk along the beach of Honeymoon Island then drove to Crystal River where we found a good number of birds including this Yellow-crowned Night-heron.


We then spent 2 nights at Manatee Springs State Park with the huge spring going into the Suwaunee River.  Vultures roosted each night at the mouth of the Spring.




Many Banded Water Snakes and this Common King Snake were along the Cypress trees that lined the boardwalk.
Black Swallowtail - female

Green Tree Frog

Manatee Springs

Eastern Glass Lizard


We then drove to St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge on the "Nature Coast" on the Gulf of Mexico, located on the curve into Florida's Panhandle.  We stayed at Newport County Park driving everyday (4 days) 6 miles to the Lighthouse Point.  We found 126 species of birds but we both got just as many gnat bites from Punkies or No-see-ums.  Hope they heal up soon.
Alligators - grin and bear it.

Gray Ratsnake

On the beach we saw 1,000's of Fiddler Crabs




Black Skimmer







Ty spent many hours looking for the Pygmy Rattlesnake - this colorful, small but dangerous reptile was finally located the last day that we were there.

Softshell Turtle


Each day as the tide rose, the shorebirds moved off the Gulf of Mexico into this more secluded pond.  We observed over a dozen species before the thousands were flushed by an overhead Bald Eagle.
Little Metalmark

Saltmarsh Sparrow



Our next stay was at Ochlockonee River State Park, the pine forest here is managed for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Brown-headed nuthatches, and Bachman's Sparrows.  After locating these target birds we added a Saltmarsh Sparrow and the special White Squirrels.

Red-cockaded Woodpecker



It was also a bit of a walk down memory lane as it was in 1980 that we camped here with our sons Travis and Troy on our first trip to Florida.
Zebra Swallowtail

Unknown Golden Moth - help with I.D.?



We only have a few days left before heading north to Wisconsin, so we are going to the beach near Carrabelle.

Best to All,
Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann
Sunrise at Ochlockonee River State Park

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Southwest Florida

Banded Tree Snail on Gumbo Limbo Tree

Traveling at a snail's pace waiting for the Arctic weather to break up north before heading to Wisconsin.
White-eyed Vireo sings for Spring

Barred Owl at Corkscrew Swamp

Cardinal Air Plant

Black-crowned Night-heron


We spent a week in Naples at Endless Summer RV Park.  We took a day trip to Corkscrew Swamp Audubon Center where we walked the Cypress lined boardwalks finding lots of great birds, plants, and insects and spiders.
Six-spotted Fishing Spider

Banyan Tree


Our next door neighbor decided we "needed" to see the largest Banyan Tree in Naples.  She took us in her car to see the sights.


There were Wisconsin people at the RV park including Don & Carol Drenne, Carol was in my Bible Study back in Green Bay.  Nice surprise.
Eastern Bluebird in Naples

Lesser Scaup in Punta Gorda




The next week we spent in Fort Myers staying at the Lazy J.  We spent 3 days this week visiting with Patti Hancock-Myers and her new husband Bud.  We enjoyed touring the city in his convertible and checking out their favorite eating spots and joined them for church on Wednesday night.
Newly hatched Sandhill Cranes

Millipede scooting across the road

We took a day trip to Punta Gorda and the Environmental Center there plus we drove through the Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area  Since it was getting late we drove back the next morning .
Bald Eagle soars overhead



On Ty's birthday, we drove back east across the state to Port St. Lucie.  We stopped at Water Management Area #5 south of Clewiston.  Best find was this Bobcat wandering down the dike - not paying any attentions to us.  We saw many water-loving birds including the Purple Swamphen.



We are now back at Ty's brother's staying in their driveway for 3 nights.  Picking up our mail, doing taxes, cleaning up the vehicle and laundry before heading northwest.
Southern Green Stink Bug

Our best to all,  Ty & Ida Baumann

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

Nickerbean

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