Mar 032014

A few Sunday’s back I was able to spend a day at Loxahatchee NWR, and I had a wonderful time. It is a lovely place, and has some great wildlife.

Loxahatchee Boardwalk

Loxahatchee Boardwalk

I met a local who informed me that since the drought of 2011 that prey species, and hence “production”, was low … meaning less critter action. Still, for me it was wonderfully new, and engaging, so I wasn’t deterred. I found new (to me) birds, and other new and interesting species…

I started by walking the boardwalk. I couldn’t do it once only, I had to go around again. I found an Apple Snail shell, large, green and round … I see where the name comes from. I enjoyed the birds (Carolina Wren, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Cat birds and other LBJs) and loved the Lichens (Baton Rouge, Old Man’s Beard) but what really stopped me was a Spiny Orb-weaver (see photo.) As I left a Zebra Longwing Butterfly fluttered by with slow methodical wingbeats, quite eye-catching.

Before I visited the marshes I quickly went along to the boat ramp, access to some open water. A medium sized alligator was across the waterway, but most amusing was a huge alligator waiting patiently underneath the wooden dock, right below unsuspecting Fishermen; a savvy gator.

Once I started walking to walk around the marshes I immediately came upon a Limpkin, a mottled brown waterbird. A life-bird for me, this was an exciting start to a walk. Amongst other things, Limpkin feed on Apple Snails.

As I walked slowly around the park I found some quiet areas away from the other visitors. Wet dark turtle shells would surface in the weeds, snakes could be seen slipping through the water, dragonflies sunning on reeds and gators on the banks; there was life all around. Having spent the last few days in the bustle that is Florida it was good to slow down to the pace of these

One amazing treat was as I came around one of the far corners a couple of Snail Kites were hunting. Sitting on the bushes I initially wondered if they were Northern Harriers, but they didn’t have that wind dancer hunting style. Their facial features had a bit of a look of an Osprey, but were they seemed smaller, and were lighter and mottled. Despite binoculars I didn’t get a good look at a hooked beak, but the identification “felt” right to me (and so distinct from the lovely red-shoulder pair nesting nearby.) Snail Kites eat Apple Snails.

Probably the most interesting part of the whole trip was this final discovery. I’d never seen something like this in the field. Bright pink, large, and clearly eggs. Turns out they are Apple Snail eggs. What a wonderful thread to this whole day; the Apple Snail…


Apple Snail Eggs on a Stick

Aug 052013

15 years or more ago I was out in the Colorado woods when I stumbled upon a Nighthawk. Normally I see these birds flying high overhead, doing us all a favor by clearing the skies of bugs. This bird was down, in amongst the trees, and was feinting a broken wing … along one log, up into on a tree branch. Quite fascinating. Moments later my attention was drawn away from the bird (and it’s impressively pathetic progress from tree to tree) by a chick at my feet. This chick was slowly walking away, hoping to go unnoticed. I’ve never forgotten that brief but enjoyable encounter.

Broken Wing Feint

Mother Nighthawk feinting a broken wing to distract from her nest / chicks.

More recently, when bat monitoring by a nearby pond down on the flatlands, I get a treat as large numbers of these birds fly overhead. Sitting quietly next to the water’s edge I not only get to enjoy the birds flying low over the water, but they casually breeze mere feet over my head. Most people I try describing this to don’t even know what a Nighthawk is, and I feel very lucky to have this uncommon experience.

So when in the woods recently and a large bird flew up from the ground I knew to stop dead. Nighthawk? Chick? I looked down, and for a while I saw nothing. Eventually my eyes came to this nest, right below me. I call it a nest, but really it’s nothing more than a scrape, a clearing in the duff.

Nighthawk Nest with Eggs

Nighthawk Nest with Eggs. Nothing more than a scrape.

I didn’t want to cause the mother stress, so I left as soon as I’d taken the photo. She was coming back around, and trying to distract me with her broken wing feint (above). I wanted her to beleive she’d succeeded, so I followed her away & left.

A week or so later I went back to the site. What a pleasure to see these two little fur-balls within a foot of the original scrape. As I’ve watched them I’ve enjoyed the striking difference in their color. I don’t know if they are different sexes, or if the color is something else.

Young Chicks

Furballs aka Nighthawk Chicks

Yet another week or few, and look what a difference! Now feathered, and looking less like fur-balls and more like small Nighthawks. See the color difference? Size difference? I think they are in the same position as the photo above.  These guys are starting to show that wide bug-swallowing mouth:

Nighthawk Chicks

Nighthawk Chicks starting to look like small Nighthawks…

Another week, and they were gone. That said, they could’ve been feet away and maybe I wouldn’t have been able to see them.

What an experience to treasure. Fascinating birds, wonderful behavior.

Jan 242013

It’s coming up for that time again … Peregrine Falcons (PEFA) monitoring for Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP).. Later in the year it’ll be bat monitoring, but I’ll write about that later.

Timestamped Field Notes turns your iPod, iPhone or iPad into a tool for easily taking notes and recording observations in the field. Given how the species that you are doing behavioral observations upon doesn’t wait for you to write down the time, or type out the  actions they took, this application is design for speed of capturing that record. Speed, and (even better) not having to look too closely so taking your eyes off the subject as little as possible. Timestamped Field Notes allows the observer to configure buttons to represent the expected events allowing a single click to record time/event.

Timestamped Field Notes allows you to customize the button text, group buttons into color groups (to easily locate them.) Upon button click a timestamp is created and a (configurable) timeout begins that will automatically commit the record for you unless you add more to it. You can view (and edit if needed) the records.

The buttons (and you can have pages of them if needed) are for quick access, however there is always full text editing capability if needed for those unusual occurrences. The application has a facility to learn about commonly entered text words and will propose buttons.

Export the data using text cut-n-paste into another application, or e-mail to a remote system. Seconds are available. Further you can import and/or export button configurations for sharing with others.

See more about how to use Timestamped Field Notes for Behavioral Observation recording, or check it out int the Apple App Store.

Here is what I’ll be doing with it

May 192012

"Otterly in Love" by Jim Braswell

This weekend I will be traveling to Missouri (from Colorado) to meet with a wildlife photographer I greatly admire. Jim Braswell (aka @ShowMeNature) states goal is to “to capture the actions and behaviors of my subjects” and I am constantly thrilled by the results. I find his work draws me in, and transports me to the scene. When I was given the opportunity to meet Jim, and spend some time observing how he works, I jumped at the chance…

We’ll be photographing from kayaks; hopefully getting up close with critters without disturbing them. Hopefully we’ll see Beaver and/or Raccoon, and if we are really lucky perhaps Mink or Otter. Critters or no critters, we’ll be out in the wilds, and that is always good.

I’ve started posting a few of my photographs here, in the main so Jim can peruse them and see what pointers he’d like to give me. These aren’t my favorites, but some recent shots. I’ll try to keep posting a few to get a decent selection:

The start of a Journey?

I feel like I might be starting a journey. I’ve always loved wildlife and being in nature, but had mixed emotions about photography (for me.) If I focus on the shot, will I be missing the experience? Could I ever capture the essence of a scene in a still photograph? Jim has shown me it is possible to do amazingly, but I’m still not sure if I can, or if I’d like to try to words, or both. I feel the next few days will give me great insight on if this path, and if I could want to make it my path.

Here is a start…

Pond Skaters by Adam Jack (adam_jack) on
Pond Skaters by Adam Jack

Jan 152012

Recent Popular Species

Recent Popular Places

Recent Popular Encounters

Dec 232011

Pack Creek by ShowMeNature
Pack Creek

Beaver Crossing by screek
Beaver Crossing

Elk on the Beach! by sniehans
Elk on the Beach!

O Deer by robinclifton
O Deer

Doe With Breakfast by screek
Doe With Breakfast

Buck Mule Deer by NatureWurks
Buck Mule Deer

Close To The Wrong End Of The Skunk by screek
Close To The Wrong End Of The Skunk

Winter is a Time for Discovery at Sky Meadows State Park by VAStateParks
Winter is a Time for Discovery at Sky Meadows State Park

Bull Elk With His Harem by screek
Bull Elk With His Harem

Black bear in the yard. by mountain_trails
Black bear in the yard.

Full Beaver Moon by screek
Full Beaver Moon

Foxy times 2
Foxy times 2

Large Oklahoma 8 Point Buck by screek
Large Oklahoma 8 Point Buck

Modeling Raccoon by screek
Modeling Raccoon

Ghostly Coyote by screek
Ghostly Coyote

Bull Moose at Autumn Oxbow Bend by cavaroc
Bull Moose at Autumn Oxbow Bend

Sow Grizzly Bear with Cubs by NatureWurks
Sow Grizzly Bear with Cubs

Red Squirrel by NatureWurks
Red Squirrel

Not a Mole… by adam_jack
Not a Mole...

Stalking Red Deer, but spotted! by HadleyWildlife
Stalking Red Deer, but spotted!

Puddy Goes Home
Puddy Goes Home

Young Coyote by BeverlyEverson
Young Coyote

Moose in the Yard by Unattributed
Moose in the Yard

Amazing How A Large Elk Can Jump A Fence by screek
Amazing How A Large Elk Can Jump A Fence

Elk Bull by NatureWurks
Elk Bull

Posing Marmot
Posing Marmot

Anan Creek, Alaska by ShowMeNature
Anan Creek, Alaska

Muskrat by adam_jack

Bullwinkle in the Rockies by betiam
Bullwinkle in the Rockies

A Large Oklahoma Whitetail Buck by screek
A Large Oklahoma Whitetail Buck

Dec 222011

The tinest toad….Oak Toad by PineLilyFNPS
The tinest toad....Oak Toad

Green Tree Frog by rangerous
Green Tree Frog

Eastern Iberian Painted Frog by dustygedgeEastern Iberian Painted Frog

The Toad by screek
The Toad

There are tons of tree frogs down here! (Taken with Instagram… by rangerous
There are tons of tree frogs down here!  (Taken with Instagram...

Green Frog by robinclifton
Green Frog

White-spotted Slimy Salamander by gonehikin
White-spotted Slimy Salamander

Don’t Kiss That! by robinclifton
Don't Kiss That!

Red-spotted Newt Close-up by KerriFar
Red-spotted Newt Close-up

A White Mediterranean Tree frog (Hyla meridionalis) by Pescalune
A White Mediterranean Tree frog (Hyla meridionalis)

Protected Oregon Frog Northern Red-legged Frog Rana Aurora by mrsroadrunner
Protected Oregon Frog Northern Red-legged Frog Rana Aurora

Tiny squirrel treefrog! the siding is only 4-1/4 inch. by PineLilyFNPS
Tiny squirrel treefrog! the siding is only 4-1/4 inch.

Eastern Newt aka Red-spotted Newt by KerriFar
Eastern Newt aka Red-spotted Newt

ABC Wednesday: Frog (American Bullfrog – Lithobates catesbeianus) by Bodark
ABC Wednesday:  Frog (American Bullfrog - Lithobates catesbeianus)

Frog Eggs by Bodark
Frog Eggs

Baby Mediterranean Tree Frog, Hyla meridionalis by Pescalune
Baby Mediterranean Tree Frog, Hyla meridionalis

Dec 212011

Baby Green Anole by BeverlyEverson
Baby Green Anole

Green Anole At The Bog by BeverlyEverson
Green Anole At The Bog

Baby Turtle by Justin Westerfield
Baby Turtle

Eastern Kingsnake (Lambpropeltis getulus getulus) by Forester_Jim
Eastern Kingsnake (Lambpropeltis getulus getulus)

Eastern Milk Snake by gonehikin
Eastern Milk Snake

Red-eared Slider On The Road by screek
Red-eared Slider On The Road

Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake, a species I could live without by PineLilyFNPS
Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake, a species I could live without

Tiny five lined skink by rangerous
Tiny five lined skink

Young Western Green Lizard (Lacerta bilineata) by Pescalune
Young Western Green Lizard  (Lacerta bilineata)

Saturday Supplemental: Turtles by robinclifton
Saturday Supplemental: Turtles

“EYE To EYE” with a Black Snake by NatureWurks
“EYE To EYE” with a Black Snake

Turtles are back! by robinclifton
Turtles are back!

Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterondon platirhinos) by Bodark
Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterondon platirhinos)

Nesting Turtles by robinclifton
Nesting Turtles

box turtle.jpg by poqfiremedic13
box turtle.jpg

Juniper Springs,Ocala National Forest,Florida by dawnfine
Juniper Springs,Ocala National Forest,Florida

Day 176: Tiny E. T. York Center Visitor by MickiP65
Day 176: Tiny E. T. York Center Visitor

Loggerhead Turtle by KIPTOPEKE
Loggerhead Turtle

American Alligator by MickiP65
American Alligator

Bird House Snake by screek
Bird House Snake

Lurking Alligator by MickiP65
Lurking Alligator

Lizard Looking at Me by KerriFar
Lizard Looking at Me

Day 63: Green…. by MickiP65
Day 63: Green....

Snapper Turtle by NatureWurks
Snapper Turtle

Silver River State park ~ Florida by dawnfine
Silver River State park ~ Florida

Snake Swimming by mrsroadrunner
Snake Swimming

Steady and Constant by KerriFar
Steady and Constant

iguana by morodvanschi

Red Eared Slider by BeverlyEverson
Red Eared Slider

PILEUP! by Jeanspics

American Alligator by SharonIsSharing
American Alligator

Sep 072011

It’s been a while since I’ve published this information, so here we go for August 2011. This information is based on the community encounters posted to WildObs.

Wildlife Species

The most popular species observed this month:

Wildlife Places

The 10 most popular places for wildlife spotting this month:

Wildlife Observers

The 10 most prolific observers.

Apr 032011


The most popular species observed this month:

Top Places

The top 10 places reporting observations.