February 11, 2020
Going for a ‘picture walk’ is a lot like a scavenger hunt, I think. It’s not that I have a list of things to find, but every picture I take feels like a little treasure I’ve collected and put in my pocket. When I get home, I empty my pockets of all the things I’ve found and decide what to keep and what to throw away. The nice thing about this kind of treasure is that my pockets are always big enough! And that’s a good thing– because sometimes I have more than 500 treasures to sort through!
Here’s what I’ve collected this past week…
Anhinga: “The word anhinga comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means devil bird or snake bird. It gets the snake bird label because it swims with just its head and very long neck above water.” (photos by Mel Church)
Alligator Fun fact: Scientists have observed alligators luring waterbirds by placing sticks and twigs across their snouts while they remain submerged. When the birds go to pick up the twigs for nesting material, the gators chomp!
Florida butterflies: The Zebra Longwing (left) is the state butterfly of Florida. The Gulf Fritillary (right) is another beautiful butterfly found in Florida
Roseate Spoonbill Fun Fact: The collective noun for spoonbills is bowl. Have you ever seen a bowl of Roseate Spoonbills?
Little Blue Heron and a Tri-colored Heron Fun fact: The Little Blue Heron (left) weighs only 12 oz! The Tri-colored heron (right) weighs slightly less, 11 oz!
Florida’s ‘jungle’! (Photo by Mel Church)
Black-bellied Whistling Duck Fun fact: Unlike other ducks, black-bellied whistling ducks spend a lot of time on the ground and in the trees.
Muscovy Duck Fun facts: The red fleshy parts around the face on muscovy ducks are called caruncles. They’re also called a face mask. Caruncles help muscovies keep their feathers clean when they dabble in mud. They also have claws on their feet so that they can perch in trees, much like Wood Ducks.
Halloween Pennant Dragonfly
White Ibis Adult White Ibis (left), Immature White Ibis (right)
Osprey Fun fact: The osprey is the second most widely distributed raptor species, after the peregrine falcon, and can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
The Yellow-rumped Warbler (left) and the Eastern Phoebe (right)
Loggerhead Shrike The Loggerhead Shrike is nicknamed “butcherbird” for its habit of skewering prey on thorns or barbed wire. The shrike grasps its prey by the neck with its pointed beak, pinches the spinal cord to induce paralysis, and then vigorously shakes its prey with enough force to break the neck.
Northern Mockingbird and a Spotted Sandpiper
Pileated Woodpecker and an American Kestrel
Brown Pelican: the quintessential Florida bird