Friday, December 30, 2011

International Gathering In Cape Coral

For the second consecutive year I visited Harns Marsh Preserve in Lehigh Acres on Christmas day to enjoy the wildlife there.

The Florida Scrub-Jay above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

It was unfortunately very overcast and I failed to take an image with little action going on as observed from the car.

Tom Obrock has been reporting American Wigeon there these past weeks with the species not yet personally observed.

The Florida Scrub-Jay above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

Ideally when the water level drops significantly at Harns I hope to meet up with Tom and Bob Blanchard.

I'm curious to know if Tom would be willing to enter the water at Harns for some closer views of the waterfowl and birds of prey in particular that are an impressive sight there in the winter months.

The Florida Scrub-Jay above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

My second day off this week offered an opportunity to meet up with Frank Constantin visiting from Quebec.

Frank notified me of his arrival the evening before our trip to photograph Florida Scrub-Jays in north Cape Coral.

Frank Constantin above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

We met at Publix shortly before sunrise and got a bag of peanuts for the birds before traveling to the Great Horned Owl site where the jays have been seen every visit I've made there.

I particularly had fun offering the birds the peanuts with a sense of trepidation initially.

The Florida Scrub-Jay above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

The Bakers, visiting the area from the United Kingdom a couple of months ago, were on my mind throughout the day with Rachael tolerating the jays pecking at her hand with a peanut inviting the species' attention.

Florida Scrub-Jays love peanuts and will occasionally battle over them with the birds observed to have what appears to be a dominance hierarchy in the family group.

The Northern Mockingbird above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

There was one jay so bold as to have caught me off guard on a few occasions while another appeared quite shy.

Peregrine Falcons were on the wires while Anhinga, Tree Swallow, Osprey, Eastern Meadowlark, Northern Mockingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Burrowing Owl, Great Egret, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, European Starling, Mourning Dove, Black Vulture, and a Great Horned Owl (in its nest) were additionally observed either on the ground or overhead near or at the site this day.

The Florida Scrub-Jay above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

The mate of the Great Horned Owl in the nest was unfortunately not seen or heard.

The sky was both heavily overcast and clear during the visit.

The Great Horned Owl above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

While I believe that Frank was getting some remarkable images with his Nikon flagship camera, I chose to attempt to photograph the jays occasionally in flight with preset manual focus and my 5dm2 guessing where the eye of the bird would be very unsuccessfully.

I'm still waiting on delivery of the battery charger from Abe's of Maine for my preferred camera with it now over two months since its order.

The Florida Scrub-Jay above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

I recommend not patronizing Abe's as the charger was ordered with it noted to be in stock at their website.

I was also billed at the time of the order with interest charges accruing.

The Florida Scrub-Jay above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

It was a treat to have Brazilian native and wildlife photographer Adams Serra arrive after a business trip in the area.

The action with the jays disappointingly went downhill from there while unsure why.

The Florida Scrub-Jay above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

I didn't note the gear Adams used though did find out that that thing that looked like a frisbie in images I've taken of him at Estero Lagoon was a ground pod.

Adams noted he wasn't completely satisfied with its design.

The Eastern Meadowlark above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

Adams told me he might be back for the Great Horned Owls which he noted he had never before seen in the wild.

I told him everything I have learned about them with hopes he would capture a remarkable image.

The Florida Scrub-Jay above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

There wasn't a Red-tailed Hawk seen which was disappointing as the species had been observed during preceding visits.

There's a patch of land adjacent to this site which appears to be good habitat for observing the above mentioned species and more.

The Florida Scrub-Jay above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

This relatively undisturbed land to the west of the GHOW nest I learned is dedicated to a school or other municipal use as opposed to its preservation in the future.

Perhaps there will be time to document what might be seen in that environment at the northwest corner of Kismet and Chiquita Boulevards which appears as a postage stamp with a satellite view.

The Florida Scrub-Jay above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

Tom is the most active birder in this area that I know of and missed his goal of observing 100 species of bird in Lee County in a day by one on 28 December 2011.

Imagine that while Adams noted he would try to return to the Cape Coral site later in the day.

The Florida Scrub-Jay above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

Frank and Adams are extremely critical of their photography and will only make the very best of it available for viewing.

I was pleased to see the grasses cut low around the Burrowing Owl nests.

The Florida Scrub-Jay above was photographed in rural Cape Coral in December 2011.

I'm most certain that Chris and Rachael Baker would have greatly enjoyed this day.

2 comments:

  1. Mike and Annie BurdettJanuary 5, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Hi, we're regular visitors from the UK, and greatly appreciate your blog, which helps us locate some wonderful bird sightings. But, we've struggled to find the GHOW nest. Is it in that area designated to the School, or across Chiquita to the East? Is it visible from the road, or do you have to treck in?

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  2. The Great Horned Owl nest may be found in the northeast corner of Chiquita and Kismet. The nest's exact location was determined walking through the area. The owl in the nest has been taking flight from it predictably after sunset.

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