At Home with the American White Ibis

I haven’t been out and about as much as I would like lately, so it is good I can find so much entertainment at home. We live on a lake, which is actually an 11-acre retention pond. Fortunately a lot of wildlife stops by.

This week, the most entertaining guests was a small group of American white ibises. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

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To learn more about the American white ibis, please visit: http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/white-ibis

 

 

 

 

 

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Dynamic Dock Day: Part 1, Otters

We love having wildlife visit our dock in South Fort Myers. We have had a variety of critters over the years, but Sunday was special. First up were four otters, who were not at all concerned we were nearby.

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Have another minute? Here is a video of the otters in action

For Elaine’s fun blog including a narrative of this wonderful event see http://www.ewswank.wordpress.com.
Part 2 coming soon.

Six Mile Cypress Slough

I visited Six Mile Cyprus Slough last week, before its temporary closure for boardwalk repairs. It is well worth visiting when it reopens.

The following is from its web site; click to view: The Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve is over 3,400 acres of a wetland ecosystem. A myriad of animals like otters, alligators, turtles, wading birds, and more live at the Slough (pronounced “slew”) year round. Others, like migrating birds and butterflies use the Slough as a feeding area or a winter home

Here are some photos from my vist:

Woodstorks

Woodstorks

Great Egrets, Reseate Spoonbill, Ibis

Great Egrets, Reseate Spoonbill, Ibis

Great Egret

Great Egret

Wood Duck Pond

Wood Duck Pond

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Web

Web

Woodstork Flying

Woodstork Flying

Lichen

Lichen

 

Floating Feather

Floating Feather

To learn more about Six Mile Cypress Slough, please visit Friends of Six Mile Cypress Preserve.

Please see the blog roll at the top right of the page for other Swank family pages.

Mothers Day 2015: A Whale of an Adventure

Mothers Day finds me reflecting on an experience Elaine and I shared just a few weeks ago.

We were traveling a long way from home and came across a group of new mothers and their babies.  We found them enormously attractive.

Elaine loves to hold and talk to babies, and I love any opportunity for a good photo.

But we were the interlopers and stayed a respectful distance away.

In just a little while, one of the moms brought her baby close to us. She didn’t say anything, but seemed to encourage us to pat the young one and had no objection to my camera.

Pretty soon others joined us. They seemed to be as curious as we were and to enjoy the encounter.

Elaine didn’t get to hold the babies but did get the pat them, kiss them, and put her hand in one’s mouth.  I got some photos and I believe we all had a great sense of connection.

Happy Mothers Day to all who have the title officially, and to all who help support this interconnected web of life we share.

Grey Whale Group

Grey Whale Group

Watchful Whale

Watchful Whale

Grey Whales, Cow and Calf

Grey Whales, Cow and Calf

Mom and calf

Mom and calf

WCloseWhale

Blowhole

 

Below the Surface

Below the Surface

Balleen

Balleen

Notes: This encounter took place in a protected area in Mexico as part of a small group eco tour. Only a few boats are allowed in the preserve at a time, all piloted by licensed personnel. All wildlife was treated with a great deal of respect. Many thanks to the professionals who conducted this tour, and to our fellow searchers.

Here is a link to the tour operator: http://www.bajawhales.com/.

ANOTHER GREAT DAY AT DING DARLING NWR

For the second year, Elaine and I were pleased to offer a guided birding/photo tour of our favorite National Wildlife Refuge at our church auction. Four other members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Myers joined us for fun, fellowship and adventure. We saw 25 species of birds in a few hours, and had many photo opportunities.

 

Yellow crown night heron

Yellow crown night heron

Reddish egret preening

Reddish egret preening

One white pelican, many willets

One white pelican, many willets

Little blue posing, no zoom required

Little blue posing, no zoom required

Pileated woodpecker near exit

Pileated woodpecker near exit

White pelican landing, cormorants ignoring

White pelican landing, cormorants ignoring

Osprey taking off

Osprey taking off

Yellow crown night heron watching the watchers

Yellow crown night heron watching the watchers

Here are the 25 bird species we were lucky enough to see:

Reddish egret, great egret, little blue heron, tri-colored heron, white ibis, yellow-crowned night heron, pie-billed grebe, red breasted merganser, double crested cormorant, white pelican, brown pelican (on causeway), willet, spotted sandpiper, bald eagle, shortbilled dowitcher, dunlins, osprey, pileated woodpecker, roseat spoonbills (fly over), royal tern, fish crow, mourning dove, Eurasian collared dove, red-shouldered hawk, northern cardinal.

There were other critters and plants to see as well:

 

Tree Çrab

Tree Çrab

Needle nose fish

Needle nose fish

Flowers by the education center

Flowers by the education center

 

Mangroves, critical to our ecosystem.

Mangroves, critical to our ecosystem.

 

 

 


							

Why Screech Owls are my Favorite Birds

I have been fortunate to be able to share a fair amount of time with this charming screech owl over the past week. He isn’t always out, but when he is he can be rather patient — unless too many admirers show up or become too noisy. I enjoy watching over an extended period. While owls are not very active during the day, the subtle changes in expression can be fascinating, and endearing.

Screech Owl

Screech Owl

Screech Owl

Screech Owl

Screech Owl

Screech Owl

Screech Owl

Screech Owl

Screech Owl

Screech Owl

Screech Owl

Screech Owl

Is it any wonder that when I can spend time with a screech owl, it becomes my favorite bird?

To learn more, visit this link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eastern_Screech-Owl/id

FAVORITE PHOTOS: OCTOBER 2014

Roseate Spoonbills

Roseate Spoonbills

Great blue heron, great egret

Great blue heron, great egret

Incoming ibis

Incoming ibis

Tricolor heron

Tricolor heron

Red-necked phalarope

Red-necked phalarope

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Beach, Estero Island

Beach, Estero Island

Ducks on the deck of  the dock

Ducks on the deck of the dock

Little blue heron with fish

Little blue heron with fish

Woodpecker

Woodpecker

Waiting for Eagles, Bayshore Road

Waiting for Eagles, Bayshore Road

Sparkling grackel

Sparkling grackel

Tree

Tree