Birding at the Jones Ave Basins

Nice View

A short turn off of Jones Ave in Apopka, a road more known for its pungent fertilizer fields than birds, there’s a small swampy oasis for ducks and herons. I hadn’t been there since this summer, when it was mostly Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and their chicks, but I stopped by last night and wasn’t disappointed.

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When I arrived just before sundown, the aforementioned ducks were flocking noisely overhead, wheeling in large circles before finally landing for the night. Blue Herons, a Great Egret, Anhingas, a pair of Belted Kingfisher, and a Red-bellied Woodpecker watched the water from bare snags by the road. A juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron watched me with a red eye, and an adult surprised me just across the lake.

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A small flock of White and Glossy Ibis perched just around the first turn, and I surprised a few Wilson’s Snipe and Least Sandpiper from the brush. A couple of Palm Warblers chipped from the flowering trees, while Snowy Egrets hid with Little Blue Herons in the reedy swamp. There were some Red-winged Blackbirds here earlier in the year, but I didn’t find any last night.

There were three Wood Storks hunting in the muck with another Great Blue Heron in the back-most pond, while a Florida staple – a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk – watched from the old telephone pole near the access road. As I was walking back to the car, I spotted a Long-billed Dowicher, and an Eastern Phoebe twittering from the telephone line.

Back at the car, an Osprey had taken over the snag from the Anhinga, and the female Kingfisher chirruped in the dying light.


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Getting Ready for Owl Fest

The Fall Owl Fest is our yearly fundraiser at The Avian Reconditioning Center. Naturally, it’s all about owls (although our Hawks, Falcons and Eagles are there as well).

These last few weeks have been about getting our flying birds back in shape for the event. They get the summer off because it’s too hot to do much in Florida, so when it cools off in the autumn, we get to work on reconditioning. Last week Archer did so well, and this week Whisper is looking pretty good too! It should be a fun event.

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Bug Hunting with Archer

Archer is a Red Shouldered Hawk that lives at the Avian Reconditioning Center. We went on our first flight of the fall today, and he put on a show, chasing grasshoppers all over the fields and chasing off the local songbirds.

It’s kind of hard to fly a bird and work a camera at the same time, so I usually don’t bother, but I gave it a shot today – and if nothing else, I came back with a fun record of our afternoon.

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Archer Archer Archer

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Archer Archer

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Archer