Friday, June 3, 2011

What kind of birds are in your yard?

Most of you know that last weekend I apartment-sat for my sister while she and her Red Hat group went to St. Augustine for Memorial Day Weekend. I showed you a photo of the little manmade lake that is in the middle of their courtyard that she had on her computer. I thought I'd show you a bit of a better photo today…

The lake is just about 15 steps from her front door.

The view from her front window

When this is in "your" yard and because there are no children around to frighten them away, many of our native birds also call this home. They are so well-treated by the residents, that they are comfortable with you walking amongst them. If my darn ankle wasn't still giving me problems, I could have really gotten some great shots, but I will share what I did take.

Anhinga posing

I've got all my gulls in a row

Bath time
Black Skimmer

Cattle Egret
Common Moorhen
Great Blue Heron
Great White Egret
The Heron getting his morning sun and the Egret stopped by for a visit.
Laughing Gull
Mr. and Mrs. Mallard
Mallard Ducks
Muscovy Ducks

Thought a bird was flying overhead for a minute, lol.
Roseate Spoonbill

White Ibis
They would walk right along with me and were very polite.
Whose coming over to say hello?
A Wood Stork - the only breeding stork in America.

Now you're probably all thinking I was feeding these birds to get them to come up to me, but you'd be wrong. While there are a few residents who do feed them, I am against feeding any kind of wildlife unless you are providing them something that is a natural part of their diet. I've yet to see a bird feeder that holds fish, insects or the aquatic vegetation that is the diet of most of these birds. The lake provides them with their needs, after-all, that's why they moved here in the first place. Besides, the Muscovies are known for eating mosquitoes and that's just what we want them to do!

The birds also get along very well with other wildlife that have set up housekeeping here…

Luckily, the squirrel population here is very limited. They are cute and fun to watch, but too many squirrels and they just become annoying. I know all of you with bird feeders in your yard will attest to this.

There's also another species who is quite comfortable here…

Slider turtles are very shy and will quickly swim away when approached, but this little guy poked his head up to check out what I was doing; maybe he knows I love turtles.

In Florida we have Yellow-bellied Sliders, which are native and Red-eared Sliders, which are not. Red-eared Sliders are the ones you see most often in pet stores and are not supposed to sold here except for educational purposes. Unfortunately, the powers that be don't follow through on this law and you see them sold everywhere, not only in pet stores, but also at flea markets and on street corners. People buy them because they are so cute and if they manage to survive, they grow too big and are let loose in our ponds and lakes. You can read more about each species on Wikipedia by clicking on the above links, if you're interested.

When I was talking on the phone with my sister before going to her home, she told me that one night a turtle came up and dug a hole in the little garden area she has by her front door. She said she kept looking out her window and then said it was crazy, because the turtle dug the hole and then filled it back in and left. I explained to her that what had happened was the turtle dug the hole and then laid her eggs. My sister said she couldn't believe that the turtle even put the mulch back in place. Here's a photo I took of where the eggs were laid…

Now would you have ever guessed there are turtle eggs buried in between those two garden statues? If Sis hadn't seen it with her own two eyes, we would never have known they were there. We'll keep an eye on the nest and try to save the babies when they emerge, with so many birds around they don't have much of a chance without our help. My sister was not able to identify what kind of turtle was in her garden, but she did say it was about 2-feet long, which would indicate it was not one of the sliders. She also said it had a pointed nose. This means it could have been a Florida Soft-shell Turtle, which are common and are natives. Only time will tell, so I may have an update in about three months.

Florida Soft-shell Turtle - Image via Wikipedia

Update (Friday Night): I just got off the phone with my sis to tell her I had posted these pics and we got to talking about the turtle. She said she had posted a pic of it in the water on FB. Went, checked it out and "shore 'nuf" it is a Florida Soft-shell Turtle…

It makes me very happy when our Florida natives are thriving, so we'll be keeping an extra eye out for these hatchings.

My time at my sister's was nice and relaxing, I enjoyed the birds, other wildlife and the sky…

So, the question of the day is what kind of birds are in your yard?

Reminder: It's only 5 more days until my

I hope you'll be joining us and linking up your ocean post!

My friend Diane of Lavender Dreams put up a post today of the sea life her and her hubby came across on the Cape Canaveral National Seashore earlier this week. You never know what you'll see here Florida, check out her post here.

Today's Ocean Fact: Whether you live near the coast or further inland, rainwater washes litter from the street into storm drains, where it can flow into you local river and, eventually, the ocean. You can help at home by throwing trash in proper receptacles or organizing a trash cleanup in your community.Earth Gauge

24 Thoughtful Comments:

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What an amazing variety of birds they have in that lake! We love to go to an area with our binoculars and bird watch! I'm not sure I've seen the spoonbill...not close enough to get good photos! And we love the common moorhen! What a fun bird to watch! We saw wild turkeys on our way home from the beach! I love your post today! WONDERFUL! ♥ I've posted some of my sea creatures this morning! ♥

Simone @ Doberman's by the Sea said...

Nothing beats shore birds. Amazing pics. We have a bird feeder, so we get some visitors too. Occasionally we see an eagret at the lake.

Anonymous said...

That pic of roseate spoonbill is gorgeous. You impress me with your knowledge of wildlife.

No longer have a backyard now that I'm back to apartment living but I'm visited by hummingbirds.

Lindsay-ann said...

Hi Rhonda
I loved seeing all the different birds you have there. I can't believe they come so close too. The turtles are cute and the eggs burried there are amazing. The sunset pictures are stunning. Your sister is so lucky living in such a pretty place.
In my garden we get mainly small birds like Robins, Blue Tits, Wrens, Blackbirds and Sparrows.
It's my dream to have my own duck pond one day with my own Mr and Mrs Mallard!

Completely Coastal said...

All the bird watching here is amazing!! And I can't believe how tidy these turtles are! Guess, they really don't want anybody to know where their eggs are. Your house sitting must have been quite a bit of an adventure!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

We saw an egret in our front yard today! lol Thanks for the crab ID! I changed it AND added a link to your post today! Wish I had done it sooner...we need to get together on these things! heehee! ♥♥♥

Ms. Bake-it said...

Look Sally and George! What beautiful photos Rhonda! Love all the birds! Cracked me up with your seagulls in a row comment! Your sister has a fabulous view! That is amazing about the turtle's nest. I do hope your sister is able to keep the babies safe once they hatch.

I hope you are doing well!


Shelllady said...

I love the birds also!! We have a pond like that at our place, that's why we have all the baby ducks and geese hanging around!! I will be heading down to Sanibel a week from today, so not sure if I will catch the babies in my hanging plant! Thanks for sharing it with's amazing to see the different birds in the different areas around this country!! We have the ducks, Great Blue, Canada Geese with gold finches, cardinals, robins and titmice (plural of tufted titmouse) and chickadees....I love them all!!

CHERI said...

You really know your birds:) We have mallards on the pond out back. Also have the occasional cattle bird and crane. Lots of buntings, cardinals, wrens, brown thrashers, and doves at the occasional woodpecker. And today I saw our first hummingbird:) My hubby loves to feed the birds and watch them at the feeder.

Lorraine said...

I'd say you got some wonderful photos. What a lovely assortment of feathered friends. I love your sky pictures also. The ones without the pink have a mother-of-pearl look to them. Simply beautiful.

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Hi Rhonda,
What an interesting post! I loved seeing all the birds, it's like a regular sanctuary there!
In our yard right now we have robins, bluejays, cardinals,orioles,yellow finches and hummingbirds. I think that is about it,(that I can think of anyway).
Well you have a lovely weekend my friend, I always love hearing what your up to and seeing your gorgeous pics too!

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

I love the rosette spoonbills and the ibis. Those are my favs! In my yard in Chicago we have a pair of mallards that returns each spring and like to swim in my pool. We also have lots of cardinals. In Ky, we get lots of cardinals, bluejays, wood peckers, doves, hummingbirds, ducks and geese. Great post today!

rjerdee said...

Impressive post, Rhonda! When we're in Florida, we live in a bird sanctuary but I don't see anything more than crows on the electric lines, white egrets on my lawn, or monk parakeets in my palm tree. While we're in Iowa, we have ducks on the pond outside our door, turtles and frogs...BIG, loud, courting frogs!! They sound off all summer long in the evenngs.

Kaybe said...

Remember when we camped at Ft Desoto and we saw all the spoonbills before dawn? You were still shooting pics with your dad's brownie. Good times I say!

Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Your birds are magnificent. It's a good thing they're so darned pretty because they're not much on singing!

Gypsea Nurse said...

Beautiful post girl!
..Now you need to look at Saturdays post... and come join in for Sand and Sea on Sunday!
Cricket @ Gypsea Nurse

CrazyCris said...

Rhonda, that was BEAUTIFUL!!! I'd go crazy with all those birds around just waiting to be photographed! :p My hard-drive would explode from the quantity of photos! lol!

You got some great shots, must have been a very relaxing weekend for you.

I can't wait to hear about the baby turtles!!! :o)

Question: will you be participating in the Oceanic Blog-A-Thon as well? Currently I'm trying to think up two different posts (one more beach party, one more sciency) for each event, but if I don't have enough time to do them properly I might use the same one for both, 'cause I don't want to miss out on the fun! ;o)

Loui♥ said...

Hi Shelle..
no pond in my Denver yard..
but am visited by Robins..
and beautiful black and white Jays?
and sweet songbirds..
and resident Canadian Geese..
(messy critters!!)
I'll be joining in on your party !!
warmest hugs..

michelle said...

How beautiful!! I love your native birds and that is so great that they feel safe to come and feed there. We have many squirrel, many many squirrels here as well as cardinals, finches, blue birds, wood peckers, I have had a few Oriels and and indigo bunting this year! I love to watch them, they are so beautiful and it is so peaceful and calming. :)
That is great about the turtle too, I can't wait to see what happens. :)

Della said...

I love our shore birds! I sit and snap pics of them while I'm on the beach.

I see a variety of birds in our area, but in my yard, I see Mockingbirds, Blue Jays, and the occasional Woodpecker.
We do see Great Blue Herons, and Egrets when we take the boat out :)

iLoveShelling said...

I have lots and lots of birds in my yard too but last week we found a cardinal perched on 3 eggs in her nest right by the front steps. I was so excited since she was so attentive so very soon we would see the babies. I could have cried when yesterday the eggs were gone. Along with lots of birds, we also have snakes and raccoons. It's hard to see but i guess mother nature knows best. I just feel so badly for that sweet mama cardinal. Sorry for the sad story.

La said...

We have cardinals, robins, blue jays, finch, an sparrows.

Sweet Lily said...

Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful!

Florida Native Mom said...

Good to know the birds have a little piece of paradise where they can just be themselves!

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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