City Birds

I was hoping my first bird of 2012 wouldn’t be a pigeon, but, the fact that I was ringing in the new year in New York City, didn’t bode well for that.  Sure enough, as we headed out on the morning of the First to take in sights, a Rock Pigeon landed in our path.  It felt like a bad omen.  The next few hundred birds I saw were also Rock Pigeons.  Then I got to thinking, why not a pigeon?  Sure they are commonplace.  Most city dwellers deal with them daily.  They probably aren’t on anyone’s life list.  Most birders probably don’t even count them. But Rock Pigeons are birds too.  And it’s inevitable that I’m going to see one eventually this year, so why not start off my 2012 Year List with one?  As we continued our sightseeing in lower Manhattan and I ran across some more typical city birds — House Sparrows, European Starlings, Ring-billed Gulls and Herring Gulls.  Finally at Liberty Island I was rewarded with a new bird for my Life List — a small gaggle of Brandts grooming the well-manicured lawn behind the statue.  I was armed with only an iPhone, but here are a few shots of my New Year’s Day birding excursion in New York City.

Rock Pigeon at Word Trade Center Memorial

Herring Gull hoping you don’t read the sign

Brandts foraging on Liberty Island

Rock Pigeons at Battery Park


Birding the Point – Terns and Gulls

This is the second post in a series of posts from my birding adventures at Black Point Marina in southern Miami-Dade County, Florida.  On a recent visit I was able to get a great shot of a lineup of Royal Terns.  I also captured images of a couple of gulls in flight.

Royal Terns lined up at the point.

Royal Tern in Flight

Herring Gull (2nd Winter) in Flight

I’m going to need some help with this one.  What do you think this is?

Birding the Florida Keys – John Pennekamp Coral Reef Sate Park

Recently a business trip landed me in the Florida Keys. There are many great bird watching spots in The Keys, but I only had time for one. I decided to check out John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. I had been there several times in the past; as a swimmer, a snorkeler and as a canoeist, but never a birder.  This time I spent a couple of hours walking along the various trails and took some time to watch shore birds from a bench on one the beaches.  It was amazing to discover how much more there was to this familiar spot.  I realized that each time I visited the park in the past I was on a mission.  I would normally rush straight to the canoe rental stand or the beach, but this time I had no special agenda other than to wait for what nature wanted to give.  I think I need to do that more in all areas of life.  How much am I missing because I am in to much of a hurry?

As I emerged from my car I looked up to see this Red-bellied Woodpecker.  He stayed put long enough for me to snap a decent picture with my point and shoot camera.
There were boardwalks that winded through the mangroves.  I had to share this one with a large reptile.
This Laughing Gull didn’t seemed to be amused at the moment.
I ran into this White Ibis a couple of times.  He seemed to be very used to humans and let me get very close.
Here he is again.
Snails are much better than birds at posing for pictures.
Look closely and you will see a Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
These Oceanblue Morning-glory flowers dotted the huge vines that draped the wooded areas of the park.
A Herring Gull and a Double-crested Cormorant resting on some rocks.
Cannon Beach