Birds of Sanibel, Florida

I haven’t done much photography for quite a while. However, during a recent trip to Captiva, Florida, I was inspired by the wonderful birds we saw at the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and had great fun using the camera again. We made several trips at different times of the day, always making new discoveries. I felt like I was in a different country.

There were lots of memorable moments, but one of my favorites was when we saw hundreds of egrets and herons concentrated in a ‘ditch’ along the edge of the mangroves. We were able to get very close, and they didn’t seem to mind us at all, although there was lots of “squawking” among themselves.

It was a special treat to see a wide variety of water birds including white pelicans, wood storks and roseate spoonbills.

Click here for a slideshow of my favorite photos of the week

Exciting backyard visitors

It was extra special last week to see a bright splash of blue in the backyard and to realize it was a male Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea). It’s a new member of our backyard bird list that we’ve kept since replanting the backyard with native plants in 2006. We’re now up to 66 different species.

Blue Grosbeak Continue reading “Exciting backyard visitors”

Big snow and birds

We’ve had a snowy weekend in the Bluegrass with about 10 inches of ‘white stuff,’ and it’s been good to stay indoors and enjoy our backyard birds. It’s got to be a challenging time for these small feathered creatures, considering the cold temperatures and difficulty finding food. We do what we can to help by providing water, safflower, sunflower, millet seeds, and suet.

Male cardinal and whitet-hroated sparrowBrilliant male cardinals are especially showy against the white snow. White-throated sparrows aren’t as striking, but are always welcome winter residents.

We see a wide variety of birds and enjoy all of them. The water and food we provide seem small payment for the winter entertainment we receive.

Amazing Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

During a recent visit to Natural Bridge State Park, Harry and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Ruby-throated hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) as they darted in and out, stopping briefly to drink at feeders. It was like watching a continuous aerial ballet.

Ruby-throated humingbirds

Here’s a few fun facts –

  • Hummingbirds are the tiniest birds in the world.
  • They are the only birds that can fly both forward and backward; they can also hover in mid-air, fly sideways and upside down.
  • They pollinate plants by getting pollen on their head and neck while gathering nectar from blossoms.
  • Most Ruby-throated hummingbirds fly 500 miles nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico during their spring and fall migrations.

We don’t have a feeder in the yard, however we regularly see one or more hummingbirds nectaring on various blossoms, especially red ones. These birds are indeed amazing, and I’m always thrilled to see them.