Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Visit to Paynes Prairie Nature Preserve -- Answering my Request for a Sora Rail (and So Much More!)

You know it is going to be a good birding day, when the first bird you see right at the entrance is a mature Bald Eagle staring down from a power pole!!
I got more "likes" on this picture than anything I have ever published on Facebook (even more than the Colin Firth picture)!!

One of my blog readers (thanks, Sandy) reminded me that many of my reader are not here in the US so I really have to name the birds, even the common ones which I will do in the future!!

It was hard to chose which pictures to show as I took close to 500 that day.  It is a 3 mile round trip to walk out to the platform at this nature reserve in  northern Florida near Gainesville.  For more information see Payne's Prairie.  We went on the La Chua Trail.  This is the second time I have been to this preserve and it was totally different this time than the last time.  This time it was very marshy and we literally saw almost every common wader in the bird book!  Last time it was dry and the Sandhill Cranes were the predominant bird.  We did stop and visit some Sandhill Cranes in a field on our way there.

It was a nice warm day and there were alligators everywhere -- some quite close to the walking path (which the park rangers managed to convince to go back to the water).  They were huge as well!

Don't think I would want to run into this fellow!

My sister and her husband are really good at spotting birds in the marshy grass and reeds and somehow she managed to see this American Bittern peaking out.  If you looked at the uncropped picture, you would be hard pressed to see him as they blend in to their background so well!!

This was my targetted bird to find -- a Sora which is one of the rails.  As it turned out, we saw several!  I didn't realize how many until I got home and looked at my pictures and every few pictures, there was another Sora!!  

Another picture of the Sora is above!

This was a really nice surprise -- a King Rail!  We saw a couple of these and I even managed to spot it the second time.  This is a big very beautiful bird.  I was amazed that we saw some of these birds as there were a lot of people on the walk on this beautiful Sunday.  I know here in NC, I would see few birds on a day like that!

Can't resist adding a couple more pictures of the King Rail.

He is looking right at me here!

We saw several Eastern Phoebes.

Another treat was seeing a new warbler for me -- the Common Yellowthroat (not to be confused with the Yellow-throated Warbler).  It is also a warbler and really pretty as you can see here.  There is definitely a quilt in these birds!!

We saw lots of the white Ibis as well as the Glossy Ibis pictured here.  He doesn't have his brilliant mating plumage yet.  These don't seem to be as common as those white Ibis that I see across the street here in NC.

A little Blue Heron.

A Great Blue Heron.

A Great Egret.

A Snowy Egret.

A Tri-Color Heron.

There were serveral Green Herons, each more beautiful than the last!

There were a lot of Pied Billed Grebes swimming around and fishing!

Here he has caught what we thought was a Giant Salamander common here.  If  you look closely, you can see a leg on the front of the creature.  There was quite a struggle here!

Here is an Anhinga with his catch!  Lots of Cormorants as well.

This just gives you an idea of the habitat.

On the way to Payne's Prairie, we spotted these Sandhill Cranes in a field by the side of the road.  They are one of my favorites and Bill made sure I got to see some close up!!

1 comment:

Sandy said...

I love the pattern on the wing of the Green Heron. It is almost like the feathers are chopped up and sewn back together like some quilt techniques.