Monomorphic

Monomorphic

The word of the day is Monomorphic… what does that mean? In the bird world it means that the male and female look identical.

There are a lot of bird species where the male is very different from the female. This makes it easy to identify the males from the females for birders, but often  you will come across birds that are monomorphic.

I found out that over half of the bird species in the world are actually monomorphic! I never knew that, I thought that it was just a few. Luckily, I don’t have to tell them apart to count the species each year!

Here are a few photos of monomorphic bird species…

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The Red-headed Woodpecker. The male and the female are identical, so you really can’t tell them apart…

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The Black Vulture. Can you tell if these are males, females or one of each??? Nope!

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The Brown Thrasher species is monomorphic too!

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!!!

 

Gators Anyone???

Gators Anyone???

For those of you who like alligators, and I know that there are a few of you out there… I wanted to pass on some places that I found where you can visit and always see them (and maybe do some birding too 🙂 …

One place that I’ve been often is Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet, SC, I always see alligators there and this past time I saw a lot!

It is a wonderful park to go birding, you have tidal ponds and other habitats, as well as the ocean, but many people go there just to get a glimpse of a gator…

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I was there last week and I must have seen at least a dozen alligators.

There is also wonderful place in Florida that is great for birding and spotting many alligators. It’s Orlando Wetlands Park in Christmas, Florida. This is a big wetlands area and it can get very hot in the summer. 

You have to make sure to always have plenty of water and sunscreen with you. Just a warning, always, always keep an eye on the ground around you, there are gators everywhere. You may have to walk a long way back from the direction you came if a big gator is blocking your path (it is also possible that you could get blocked in, so be very careful)!

I was there a few years ago, I had seen many birds and was going to take one last walk down a path at the far end of the park. As I walked around a corner I came across this huge fellow in the photo below. He was probably about 8 to 10 feet long and big! I yelled and clapped, but he could care less, he was staying right where he was, on the path. I decided right then and there, that I had found enough birds for the day and I turned around and went home (there was noooooo way that I was walking in front of him!!!)

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There is another place in Florida that you can see tons of gators, but not in the wild… It’s the Jungle Adventures in Christmas, FL. Here are a couple of photos of some gators with hitchhikers…

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This place has lots of gators, but for birders, there are paths to walk into the woods and around ponds where you can see “wild” storks, egrets and herons nesting in the trees.

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This is a Great Egret with a fledgling. There were lots of nests and most of them really weren’t too high up in the trees, so you can get a good look at the nests.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

More Bird Photos…

More Bird Photos…

A couple of days ago I went birding in the wildlife refuge again. This time I didn’t see any new birds species for the year, but I did see a lot of birds.

We only saw one Ranger and one fisherman the whole time we were there, which was great for social distancing!

I tried to get some photos of birds that I hadn’t been able to get in the past. Well, with all of the leaves this proves to be extremely difficult!

I did however get a photo of this bird. Try to guess what bird it is, I’ll give you a hint: He’s in the Warbler family…

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It’s the Northern Parula. This one is a male, you can tell by the black and rusty chest bands he has, the female doesn’t have them.

In the photo below you can see the greenish patch on the center of his back. These birds are often heard, but seldom seen, since they usually forage high up in the leafy treetops.

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One other bird I found was flying back and forth to its nest with insects for the babies.

It is an Eastern Wood-Pewee. At first I thought it was a Eastern Phoebe, but after doing my “homework,” I discovered that it was actually the Wood-Pewee.

You can easily tell the difference by their song, but this one hadn’t made a sound…so I had to look up in my bird books to see where they each built their nests (this one was high up in the tree) and then when I  looked at this photo I realized that the bill has yellow, where the Phoebe bill is all black.

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Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Green Heron

Green Heron

The other day while out birding near the ocean, I came across a pair of juvenile Green Herons.

You can identify them as juveniles because they have a striped neck and their coloring is browner and duller than the adults. Their feathers also look “fluffy.”

In this photo, it looks like one is expecting the other to feed him… but they are the same age or maybe he’s just looking to his sibling to come up with a plan for what they will do today, hahaha…

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Here is another photo of a juvenile, this one looks like he might know how to feed himself…

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Now this next photo is of an adult Green Heron. Notice the brown on the wings looks more gray and the feathers aren’t as fluffy…

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Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Keep Your Eye to The Sky When Birding, But Watch Where You Walk…

Keep Your Eye to The Sky When Birding, But Watch Where You Walk…

I found this Osprey flying over a tidal pond near the ocean. Often they fly over the water, then hover and plunge feet first catching fish with their talons.

They will then carry the fish with its head facing forward when it flies away. 

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This next photo is of small tern that you often see hovering over water, then plunges into the water for small fish. Do you know which tern it is?

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It’s the Least Tern. This is the smallest tern in the US. They are still endangered, because they nest on the beaches and these nests often get disrupted by humans. On many beaches they rope off large areas for these birds to build their nests without interruption. 

The next photo I’m showing you all just for fun… Let’s just say I saw lots of these in the ponds where I was birding in South Carolina… not my favorites!!!

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Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

More Bird Photos…

More Bird Photos…

I have a few more recent photos I took that I wanted to share with you all…

If you want to try to guess what the birds are, remember not to scroll through the photo to the bottom until after you make your guess.

This first one is often seen water, the great fish hunter, plunging feet first to catch fish with its talons…

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It’s an Osprey. This one is actually a juvenile, you can tell by the fluffy feathers. It was hopping around from small tree to small tree at the edge of a swamp squawking to be fed.

Okay, for this next one, I’m going to try to trick you… this one is a juvenile, 1st year, it looks very similar to the female of the species, but it’s a bit grayer. What do you think it is. Hint: the male of this species is very colorful…

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It’s a juvenile Painted Bunting! I don’t know if this one is male or female, but below is a photo of what a male looks like (very different).

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Stay healthy and stay safe!

Bird Photos

Bird Photos

I did manage to get a few good photos of the birds that I saw over near the ocean the other day… 

I have auto focus on my camera and sometimes it works really well, but other times it just seems to focus on a branch in the foreground or behind the bird!

Luckily, my camera (or I), was able to get some nice shots…

Here are the photos I took, try to guess the bird if you want, hint: they can all be found in South Carolina, USA in the month of June…

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This is a Snowy Egret. Notice that they have a black bill, but the easiest way to identify them is when you see their bright yellow feet!

What do you think this next bird is?

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Here is the Great Egret. They are actually larger than the Snowy Egret with a yellow bill. Notice their black feet…

This next one is harder, you’ll never guess it by its name. Hint: the young look very very different from the adults…

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This is actually a Little Blue Heron! This is a first year juvenile, they are all white and about the size of a Snowy Egret. You can tell the difference by the gray color near the eye instead of yellow, the legs are greenish and no bright yellow feet! During the 2nd year, they will become patchy with blue and white feathers, they should be all blue by the 3rd year.

Stay healthy and stay safe!

 

240 Bird Species For The Year

240 Bird Species For The Year

Finally, I managed to get over to the ocean area to go birding! It was great, unfortunately, there were other people there (something we are not used to)…

We were able to keep our distance from most people, but when we went onto the beach to walk to the jetty, it was very crowded. I saw about 200 people that day and only about 5 people had masks on! I sometimes feel like I’m living in a different world than everyone else…

We happened to be in South Carolina, USA, and their virus cases have still been going up. I can see why this is the situation, no one seemed to care…

Well, enough of the bad news… I added 11 more species of birds to my list for the year.

Here are some photos of the birds I saw, try to guess what they are… this one should be pretty easy, it is such a unique bird.

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This is the Roseate Spoonbill. These birds were almost gone from the US due to hunters killing them for their feathers! Luckily since that barbaric practice has been stopped here they have been trying to make a comeback.

Their diet consists mostly of small fish which they catch by sweeping their slightly open bill from side to side in the muddy water.

This next one I found on the bank of a small inlet near the ocean.

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It’s a Semipalmated Plover. They are fun to watch foraging, because the usually run a few steps, then pause, run again, then peck at the ground. 

Fun fact: semipalmated is used for names of wading birds that have toes that are partially webbed.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe (try not to be part of the virus spread)!

Birds From Europe

Birds From Europe

A few years ago I took a trip to a few countries in Europe. Although this was not a birding trip, while I was there I did try to see as many birds as I could…

We actually spent most of the time learning about the history of the countries and the people that lived there. 

I did get a few photos of some of the birds that I saw. Try to guess what they are…

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Here is a European Herring Gull with a chick. They are one of the most common gulls in Europe.

This is another common bird in Europe.

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It’s the Common Wood Pigeon. A very large bird known as the “culver” in southeast England.

The head on these next birds is so unique! 

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These are Great Crested Grebes. Unfortunately, their crests are so beautiful that they were almost hunted to extinction in the UK for decorations on ladies hats and undergarments in the 19th century! Luckily, they are protected now and have made a comeback.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe.