This Sandhill Crane Is Sitting Down For A Rest In Florida

This Sandhill Crane Is Sitting Down For A Rest In Florida

84BEDEF4-8011-4BE9-9519-318A521DA02E

Sandhill Crane

A very large, tall bird (when they’re not kneeling down), with long legs, neck and very broad wings. Their name comes from the habitat at the Platte River, on the edge of the Nebraska’s Sandhills in central US. This area is an extremely important stopover location for over 450,000 migrating Cranes.

When they migrate they often fly very high in the sky. At their stopover locations they form large flocks, in the tens of thousands and forage for food.

There are 3 subpopulations of the Sandhill Crane that are migratory, the lesser, greater, and Canadian. They all spend the summers in their breeding grounds and will winter in the south. They spend the winter in California, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and Mexico. Come spring they begin their migration, the largest congregation occurs along the Platte River in Nebraska.

There are 3 subpopulations of the Sandhills Crane that are non-migratory. Florida, where they can be found in the inland wetlands. Mississippi, where they will be found in the southeastern coast, these are critically endangered. Cuba, where they live exclusively in they wetlands, savannas and grasslands, these are also critically endangered!

Their diet consists of mostly seeds and cultivated grains, but they sometimes will eat small vertebrates and berries. Know to be opportunistic feeders, they will eat whatever food is available to them. They feed on land or in shallow marshes.

 

 

5 Birds I’ve Seen At Huntington Beach State Park, Murrells Inlet, SC

5 Birds I’ve Seen At Huntington Beach State Park, Murrells Inlet, SC

Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet, SC is a wonderful birding site! Originally the property was purchased by Archer and Anna Huntington in 1930. Being from NY City, Archer wanted the property to study the wildlife in their natural habitats. They left the property as part of their legacy.

There is around three miles of ocean beachfront, with only a small portion open for public recreation. In addition to the shore you will find freshwater wetlands, salt marsh, dune habitats, maritime forest as well as oak-pine forests.

With plenty of nature trails, viewing platforms, and boardwalks, there are many opportunities to view all of the different bird species that can be found in the park.

19BA4F80-9DEA-4A93-97C4-E346936B113C

The Merlin

A small, fast-flying falcon, they are found in North America and Europe. It prefers to eat mostly small birds, which it will catch while flying in mid-air, rapidly pursuing them until caught!

1E1CE98A-FA09-458B-B0F9-8129D25E33DB

The Roseate Spoonbill

I always enjoy seeing the Spoonbill, I think I just really like the color pink! They eat small fishes, shrimps and crabs, catching them by moving their bill slowly from side to side in the water, then straining out to get their prey.

2E937874-B920-477C-852E-CD2EEC74D45B

The Painted Bunting

He’s just sooooooo beautiful!!! One of the brightest North American birds, you really can’t mistake him for any other bird. I will usually find the buntings in the park at the site of the burned down visitor center. They continue to have the bird feeders there and the birds keep showing up and eat!

349E6313-6865-42E9-BA5F-9854ED0B0D8E

The Summer Tanager

Heard but not often seen, the Tanager likes to stay concealed high in the trees where they feed on insects. You can find them across southern US, occasionally found in the Northeast. In the winters you’ll find them in Mexico down to South America.

E6E63296-C213-49A3-A0CC-8D23C23E3074

The Anhinga

At first you might think that you are looking at a Double-crested Cormorant, but look closely and you will see that the Anhinga has a longer fan-shaped tail and a thinner neck. The males have the black and white streaking on their wings and back. I usually see them perched on a post, like this one. Often times they have their wings spread out.

Beautiful Blue Birds, But Not Bluebirds…

Beautiful Blue Birds, But Not Bluebirds…

2B589623-C8D3-40E5-ADA9-CF4E80493709

Indigo Bunting

Here we have a couple of male birds enjoying some seeds from the feeders above. The females are a plain brown, not seen very often since they do most of the work taking care of the eggs and young in their nests hidden in the dense thickets. Many of these birds migrate across the Gulf of Mexico, they migrate at night and can navigate by the stars.

A Pair of Bohemian Waxwings

A Pair of Bohemian Waxwings

9F35D497-DD0D-4F54-9515-E0A84B391546

Bohemian Waxwing

Very similar to the Cedar Waxwing, but these birds are larger with chestnut coloring underneath their tail. They were named “Bohemian” due to their unconventional, carefree lifestyle. In the summer their diet consists of mostly insects, but in the cooler months they will eat berries and fruits. I found these beauties with about 100 of their friends up in New Hampshire, USA. I was standing quietly in an apple orchard when all of the sudden a flock of these birds flew down into the trees around me. I tried not to move! They began eating the fermented apples on the ground, I think they were getting drunk! After about 15 minutes, I stealthily took out my camera and got a few photos of my new lifer!

This American Woodcock Was Hiding Off A Trail In Massachusetts

This American Woodcock Was Hiding Off A Trail In Massachusetts

American Woodcock

This bird is a very shy, stocky long-billed bird. They live in thickets, wooded swamps and wet forested areas. Sometimes this bird is a tough one to find since they are extremely shy. I was lucky to find this one, just by chance I saw a squirrel jump a bit on the side of a swamp/woods trail, so I went over to the area to see what caused it to jump and I found this Woodcock! Needless to say, I didn’t breath as I tried to get my camera in position to get this photo!