Sunday, 23 May 2010

A right ticking off

The safari set off just after dawn on a short section of the Florida Birding Trail. Loads of DEET had been applied but the biting things were only just kept at bay. This is a 'small' Horse Fly just outside our mesh 'safety cage - hence the blurriness. it is about half as long again as those at home, but was only half the size of those out on the Rook Trail. Fortunately they were powered by a 5l V8 and you could hear them coming - the Cleggs we are familiar with = frightened of - at home are silent little b*ggers. Another fortunate thing about the big beasts this morning is that they seemed to have a territory or patch so when we reached the end of it they didn't follow any further and there was a few minutes respite until we reached the next horror's patch. In the meantime the Mosquitoes were still whining around our ears.
Worse was to follow - when we got back to our Temporary Camp we discovered we were covered in American Dog Ticks - yuk, yuk and double yuk. Brings a different meaning to the phrase 'Tick 'n run'!
The trail itself was very pleasant but hard birding. A Pileated Woodpecker battered the living daylights out of a tree somewhere in the woods, sounded like someone taking a jack-hammer to the trees! A pair of Red Shouldered Hawks = Buzzards - did buzzardy things over the tree tops.

In the thickets we could hear birds but they were darned difficult to spot and you really didn't want to stand still in one place too long. Those 'nasties' soon homed in on you once stationary. but the lovely Tufted Titmouse was found and a pair of Northern Parula Warblers entered the notebook while the too brightly coloured Yellow Throated Warbler was found to be well camouflaged against the bright foliage and even brighter sky.

There don't seem to be too many wildflowers out at the moment but this red thing was easily spotted along the side of the road up to the start of the trail.
At the trail head we heard one of the few calls we've learnt on our trip so far and seeking out the nearest dead tree soon found this superb Red Breasted Woodpecker. A pair of Cardinals were hopping about here too but managed to elude the camera - bet they do all hols.
Picking up Wifey we did the touristy things - found a Mall, shopped til we dropped then went sight-seeing. Eventually we found Pete's Pier home of many a Manatee, but we only saw Ospreys!
The search for Manatees and Alligators (passed a sign on the trail this morning warning people not to molest the 'gators - well I don't know what those people we up to but I certainly wouldn't dream of doing such a thing!) continued and we eventually found somewhere that does boaty rides - so one evening later in the week it'll be All hands to the pumps! Aye aye Cap'n' again.
Wifey doesn't make it on to the world wide interweb very often but here she is looking all Southern Bellei n her hat about to spell out M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I. No that's not our hire car - ours is the dull grey one one behind Wifey and it doesn't have a 4.8l supercharged V8 - more's the pity.
Had a Belted Kingfisher fly low in front of the car here, along with some unphotographable Laughing Gulls and several, flushed by a boat before we could get a pic, Brown Pelicans, along with this Great Blue Heron.
Lots of creeks like this one in the area. Should get some Sliders (Yellow Eared Terrapins) and Water Moccasin snakes before too long hopefully. Heard our first scuttling lizard today but couldn't find it in the deep bush. Plenty of infuriatingly over-colourful but far-too-fast butterflies too.
Where to next? - dunno, maybe back to the Rook Trail but not without at least three layers of DEET applied to all bare skin and clothing too.
In the meantime let us know what bites in your outback.
Outside there are three Fish Crows doing our fruit in! They have found something that might be an owl and have been mobbing it relentlessly for well over two hours now. Whatever it is tries to move trees but they just follow it. A couple of Scrub Jays were also in the racket making for a while.


Craig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig said...

Hi pleased your both having a nice holiday, keep safe.

best wishes,

Monika said...

Great stuff Dave - many of those birds would be lifers for me too! Maybe the mosquito is the Florida State Bird just like it is Alaska's? I've escaped unscathed so far in BC!