Thursday, April 30, 2015

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill (Aijai aijai)

The Roseate Spoonbill (Ajaia ajaia) is a tall bird, about 32 inches in height and a wingspan of 5ft 6 in, with a flat, bluish bill flattened at the tip.

They get their name for how they feed. They use their beak, swiping it back and forth in the water, sort of spooning for their food. Spoonbills feed on small fish, snail, aquatic insects, and shrimp.

They can be found in mangroves and saltwater lagoons or marshes in the shallower water.  They are resident in Louisianna, Florida, occassionally in Texas, and in the American tropics. 

Because of their color, tourists to Florida often mistake them for Flamingos.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodios)

The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodios) is a very large, tall bird. It stands at around 4 ft tall, and has a wing span of 6 ft. The adult's plumage is a blue-gray, with black shoulder patches and a black stripe from his eye to the back of the head.

Great Blue Herons can be found all over the United States and the Caribbean and South America. They are resident year 'round in Florida, and most have lost their fear of humans. Great Blue Herons can be seen near fishermen, standing within a few feet of them waiting to steal their catches. They can also be seen (like this one) walking around on lawns, waiting for a handout.

It is illegal to feed wildlife in Florida, but many people do, which encourages them to come right up to the door waiting for a snack. Snowbirds (people who winter in Florida) feed the birds, then when they leave to go back up North, the birds sit and wait for them to come back (like this one) instead of hunting for their own food.

In St Petersburg, around The Pier, people have fed the Pelicans so much, that they no longer fish for their food and many were starving to death. They City now feeds  them daily to keep them from starving. It's very sad. This is why it is illegal in this state. People who are feeding these beautiful birds are also not giving them natural food that is in their diet, which is making them unhealthy and threatening the species.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Osprey Feeding Chicks

Osprey Feeding Chicks

It's that time of year again; the Osprey are nesting. Almost everywhere you go in Florida you'll see Osprey nests, especially along the I-4 corridor. This particular nest is in Bradenton, FL where my friend lives. This pair of Osprey have been nesting here for the past 4 or 5 years. Two of this year's clutch is shown in the photo. they're finally big enough to see over the nest.

Ospreys (Pandion halliaetus) are raptors in the Hawk and Eagle family. They are rather large birds with a wing span of 5ft, 6in and they are 23 inches in length from tail to head. The dark line through their eye is a  good identifying factor. They hover just before they dive for a fish and can be seen flying with the fish head first in their talons, once they catch their fish.

They are resident year long in Florida and can be found near any body of water where they can fish for food. Their diet consists almost exclusively of fish.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Salvatore Dali Museum

The Salvatore Dali Museum, St Petersburg, FL

The Salvador Dalí Museum is an art museum in St. Petersburg, Florida dedicated to the work of Salvador Dalí. It houses the largest collection of Dalí's works outside Europe.

It is located on the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront by 5th Avenue Southeast, Bay Shore Drive, and Dan Wheldon Way. On April 18, 2012, the AIA's Florida Chapter placed the building on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Domestic Swan Goose

Domestic Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides) with Ducklings/Gooselings?

I'm very curious about what's going on here. I know ducks, geese, and swans sometimes interbreed, but do they do it within the same species, or do they interbreed with any other close species? This photo, taken at Crescent Lake Park in St Petersburg, FL, has me very confused. This goose appears to be swimming with ducks, as you can see, some are white, some look like immature mallards. Are they hers? Do they just hang around together?

This lake supports so many species. There are Domestic Graylag Geese, these Domestic Swan Geese, Mallards, Moorhens, Grebes, American Coots, just to name some of the waterfowl. There are probably more than I spotted on my two trips there as well. I'm just curious about how some of these breeds got there and if they all interbreed. If you live in the area, check it out.

Here is a little info gleaned from the internet about the Domestic Swan Goose:
Domestic Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides)

Another species of goose that has been domesticated is the Swan Goose, native to eastern Eurasia and sometimes called a Chinese goose. A domestic swan goose usually has a large knob at the base of the bill (the wild form lacks this). It also can show a white patch behind the bill.  It varies from wild type coloring (mostly gray with a dark line down the back of the otherwise white neck) to pure white.

Swan GooseThe Swan Geese (Anser cygnoides) -- also known as Chinese Geese - are rare, migratory geese that breed in inland Mongolia, northernmost China, and southeastern Russia; and most migrate to central and eastern China for the winter.

Vagrants travel to Japan and Korea for the winter and, on rare occasions, may winter in Kazakhstan, Laos, coastal Siberia, Taiwan, Thailand and Uzbekistan.

Outside the breeding season, they form small flocks. They rarely swim and often forage far from the water.

The large Swan Geese have also been introduced to countries outside their natural range, where feral populations of escaped or released domesticated birds have established themselves.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auitus) grow to about 33 inches. Immature Cormorants, unlike the all black adults are brownish, with whitish plumage from the throat to the breast. 

Cormorants swim with their bills angled upward. Flocks often fly in a V formation. They can often be seen resting with their wings open drying. They nest in colonies in Cypress trees and Mangroves.

They live on the coasts and near large bodies of inland water. Florida has a resident breeding population and there are numerous migrants from northern U.S. from November through April.

This image was taken at Crescent Lake Park in St Petersburg, FL.

Monday, April 13, 2015


A Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus) perched on the rocks at the North rest stop of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in St Petersburg, FL gazes out over the water probably searching for his next meal.

Willets are commonly seen along the coast of Florida near beaches and mud flats. Willets look similar to Greater Yellowlegs, but can be distinguished easily by their flashy black and white color pattern seen in flight or when their wings are spread out. They are frequently seen foraging with Godwits on migration.