Friday, January 23, 2009

The Painted Buntings that weren't...

Well, we made it through the shock of going back to work in the cold and snow and it's finally the weekend. I've downloaded all the photos (927!) and will begin to look for those special behinds to post soon.


In the mean time, a little story about the birds that you can't see.

Our main reason for visiting the West Palm Beach area of Florida was to go to the Okeeheelee Park to see and photograph Painted Buntings. Imagine our shock when one of the volunteers told us that they hadn't been seen in a month due to the 'cold' weather and are never there this time of year! After picking Laurie up off the floor, we decided to bird the area anyway for anything else with feathers. Laurie does quite a bit of research before we go on our trips to make sure we are aware of what we can see.


As we walked to the rear of the nature center we saw a few birds at the feeders, Mourning and Eurasian-collared Doves, Common Grackles, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays and even a pair of Sandhill Cranes...and then we saw this little green bird popping in and out of the shrubs. Ooooh, it must be a warbler and I LOVE warblers! As we crept closer and I got a few shots of it, Laurie said "That's not a warbler, THAT is a female Painted Bunting!". Go figure. I guess it wasn't too cold after all! We 'didn't' see a number of females, like the one below, that afternoon.

We went back again earlier in the morning on Sunday and again on Monday and found the males skulking about in the shrubbery. This is the first time I had trouble trying to photograph the wrong side of a bird! I don't know if they are show offs and proud of their colors or they didn't trust anyone behind them. Other people would be happy with the 'proper' angles I suppose. In any case, I took quite a few photos of the non-existant birds!

Stay tuned for more of the exciting adventures of Laurie-loo and Loopy (that's me) in Florida!!