Meeow is one of the calls of this beautiful, mimic, Thrush called the Gray Catbird. The meeow call is an alarm call.
While camped at Lake Louisa State Park, I enjoyed watching and photographing these Gray Catbirds as they flitted around our site. There were at least ten, if not more. One morning while having coffee, we observed them eating flowers off the shrubs surrounding the site. I saw my first Gray Catbird on April 3, 1993. (All photos taken using my Canon 70D with Tamron 600m zoom lens.)
The last time I posted a blog was when we were still at Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound, Florida. We left Hobe Sound almost two weeks ago, with love in our hearts for family that live there. Another treasured visit with them and we look forward to returning next season.
Leaving Hobe Sound we traveled to Orlando to attend the 2015 HamCation event that takes place every February at the Central Florida Fairgrounds. For those of you who might not know, HamCation is an event for Amateur Ham Radio operators and enthusiasts. People attend from all over the United States and some traveling from other countries to enjoy this unique event.
This was our fifth year to attend HamCation. For four nights we parked at the Central Florida Fairgrounds along with nine other FMCA Amateur Radio Ham Club members. We weren’t alone, many, many other Ham Radio Amateur RV’ers were camped there as well.
During the day we walked around the outside flea markets and the vendors booths in several of the building designed to hold big events such as this. In the evening we enjoyed walks, happy hour and cookouts. On one occasion several of us ladies enjoyed some shopping and lunch. It was great fun seeing old friends and meeting new ones.
It made my heart happy to see hubby enjoying his hobby so much; he wore himself out touring all the fleas and vendor booths.
As far as my hobby goes, there is a big lake along one side of the fairgrounds and I was thrilled to see and photograph some of the many shore birds that enjoy this area. Also, saw a pair of nesting Red-shouldered Hawks and one day witnessed one of them swooping down and grabbing a Mourning Dove.
After HamCation us and two other coaches headed to Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont for seven nights of camping, where we enjoyed long walks, evening cookouts, a few meals out and just being together. On one occasion we visited World of Beer (WOB) where we enjoyed several tasty draft brews and a great lunch! Cheers guys! Until 2016!
Leaving Lake Louisa we headed to Silver River State Park with our wonderful friends and traveling buddies Karla and Larry and here as well, we enjoyed some hikes and a visit to Silver Springs. Karla and Larry left us today to head home and we are going to miss them.
Howard and I remain at Silver River State Park for a few more days. As I sit here, in the coach typing this blog, the sky is a dull grey, the wind is blowing a little stronger, the air is a little cooler and according to the weather service we are in for a few days of rain.
So for the next few days, being outside in the gorgeous Silver River wilderness, won’t look as inviting and we just might get a few inside items accomplished. Things like writing a blog!
I hope you enjoy these photos taken along the shore of the lake at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando, Florida.
A couple of weeks ago, while staying at Myakka River State Park, near Sarasota, Florida, we decided to take an afternoon ride to explore the park. We noticed a gravel road off the main road and turned in. Traveling down unexplored roads, not knowing what lies ahead, is a thrill and what keeps us motivated to continue doing what we do. We reached a dead end, parked the car, got out and began to explore.
There were a couple of picnic tables; however the area didn’t seem to be visited as often as some of the other well known parts of the park. The grass showed no worn pattern and there wasn’t any trash on the ground.
From our vantage point at the top of the river bank, we could see the coffee colored Myakka River below, lazily meandering along. The filtered rays of the sun reflecting off its surface.
Finally, our eyes landed on a beautiful and unexpected sight. On a tree branch, that hung out over the river, sat a Green Heron. You can bet he spotted us before we spotted him.
The heron was resting with one leg tucked under its belly and occasionally it would begin to preen. I hope it had a full belly.
It didn’t seem concerned about us being there; we were perhaps fifteen feet away. The density of the trees and surrounding foliage, blocking sunlight, created a photo challenge.
The heron continued to pose for me and remained unconcerned of our presence.
I treasure experiences like this – the joy of being out in nature, the welcoming silence of the woods, the calming affect of the flowing water and the unexpected pleasure of a sighting.
The pleasure was all mine. After a while we got back into the car and as we traversed the gravel road, back to the main road, we carried with us a fond memory.
`deep-colored bright blue overall (breeding plumage)
`only North American small finch to appear blue all over
`dark blue to black lores
`blue edging to blackish wings and tail
`dark gray conical bill
`plain, but beautiful brown
`two tawny buff wing bars
`short, gray, conical bill
`blue-edged feathers on wings and tail
`populations are expanding with the creation of disturbed habitat after logging, highway and power line construction and from farmland abandonment (yeah to expanding)
`likes forest edges, roadsides, hedges, dry brush lands, orchards, open woods, creeks and rivers
`eats grasshoppers, beetles, weevils, aphids, cicadas, cankerworms, span worms, flies, dandelion seeds, aster, thistle, grasses, grains, berries and more
`nests in raspberry and other shrubs
`song is a sweet-sweet, where-where, here-here, see-it/see-it (pretty melody)
`many are killed, while migrating at night, striking power lines and tall buildings (wind farms next?)
`neotropical migrant, flight speed measured at 20 m.p.h
`common hosts to cowbird parasitism 😦
**If you want to learn more about the Indigo Bunting, please go to The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds, Smithsonian Handbooks, Birds of North America and Stokes Field Guide to Birds. I used these sources for my information.
Added to my Birding Life List
Sky Rocket Road, Loveland, Colorado
(with my amazing birding mentor- Ann Means)
Photos taken at South Llano River State Park in April of 2014 while sitting in a bird blind. I was using my Canon 70D with Canon EF 75-300mm 1:4-5.6 lens (no stabilization).
While looking back at some photos, I found these of this little Field Sparrow, which I took at South Llano State Park, back in April. They are not sharp photos, but they are amusing to me. The photos above are three in a row and the bird’s expression is one of surprise!
“After practicing my “tree-limb” landing, I decided I needed a bath!”
All but the first and last photo above are in sequence. This little Field Sparrow sure was having a fun day!
Birds sure can be entertaining to watch!
I hope we gave you a chuckle on this Whimsical Wednesday!