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Blue-winged Teals

The photos were taken on January 02, 2010 at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. A beautiful sunny day with the temperature in the mid 50’s F, with a NW Wind about 15-20 mph.

Reddish Egret

Whatbird: Locally resident in extreme southern Florida and along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana; also occurs in Mexico and the West Indies. Preferred habitats include marshes, shallow bays, and lagoons. Reddish Egret populations were devastated by commercial hunting in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when they were sought for their beautiful feathers. While populations have been recovering during the past century, this species is now threatened by the degradation and destruction of its preferred coastal habitat.

Florida Scrub-Jay

Florida Scrub-Jay

Florida Scrub-Jay

Florida Scrub-Jay

I was watching a “Party” of Scrub-Jays with 4 other people on ‘Scrub Ridge Trail.’ We were surrounded by Scrub-Jays. Some were hopping around our feet while othersĀ  watched us from nearby bushes and one even flew over to us landing on another birders head. They always had a Sentinel posted on the highest shrub. Once, the danger call was sounded for real. All the birds flew into the brambles as two people walked down the path with their leashed dogs. Once the danger passed it was ‘good times’ again. They had no fear of humans and seemed to look at us as a curiosity. I could not ask for a better, patient bird to photograph. I could always find one posing atop nearby scrub. There were always 3 or 4 hopping around nearby burying acorns and foraging for food. I could have watched them for the entire day. Any Birding trip to Florida needs to include the Florida Scrub-Jay.

American Kestral & Sign

American Kestrel & Sign

Cars were zooming by this American Kestrel as I was photographing him. He didn’t seem to have any fear of the vehicle traffic or me as I walked closer and closer taking pictures. He would detect something on the ground, drop down on it and return to the sign as I stood there in disbelief. I have never been able to get anywhere near one of these birds. My lucky day…

American Kestral - Male

American Kestrel - Male

My first day birding in 2010 turned out to be so much fun. I hope this is a good sign for the rest of 2010.

Good Birding to All. Have a Healthy and Happy 2010. See you out there.

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