Friday, October 6, 2017


A few years into our full-time travels we got to talking about how many different birds we had been seeing.  So, Nicole downloaded the most current American Bird Association (ABA) bird checklist and turned it into a hand dandy tally based spread sheet.

Having settled in familiar Florida, the lifer (new to us) birds added the list in the last year have been limited.  This has left our percentage of birds seen out of the total of all on the list at a steady 24.696%.

Nicole pointed this out to Darlene one day as she was getting ready for work.   Darlene went onto the Possum Long Audubon blog and noticed that they were seeing some migrating winter birds showing up.  So, she suggested that Nicole take a ride up to the local Audubon site and see if she can't do something about that percentage.

Four hours later and a LOT of photos, Nicole was pretty sure all birds seen, although enjoyed, were familiar.   On her way home, she decided to take a ride through the surrounding neighborhoods.  Just around the backside of the park, a bird with rufous wing coloring flew overhead and landed in a tree.  Flicker, Nicole thought.  But something was different about it.  So, she snapped a few photos.

It wasn't a flicker.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo Bird (1)
                                It was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo and a lifer to boot!

An amazing bird.  Nicole was feeling pretty satisfied despite not having enough new bird sightings to push us to the 1/4 mark.

Working with a point and shoot at a great distance, in strong sunlight and with loads of shadows can be a challenge.  Sometimes, it is worth it.  This was one of those times.  When she got home and started running through the photos on her computer...


Cape May Warbler Bird (1)
                                                  Cape May Warbler - Lifer!

Cape May Warbler Bird (4)
                       Peek-a-boo from the beautiful Yellow-throated Warbler - Lifer!

Red Eyed Vireo Bird (2)
                                                A Red-eyed Vireo - also a Lifer!

Black Throated Blue Warbler, Oven Bird
                           And, the adorable Oven Bird - Yes, it was a Lifer, as well!

      That made five Lifers for the day and pushed the percentage just above 25.  Sweet!

                                         A few other sightings for the day were...

Atala Butterfly Insect Bug (9)
                               The Atala Butterfly.  A first time sighting for Nicole.

This beautiful creature was thought "probably extinct" in the 1950's.  Through the help of some dedicated individuals, it has made a dramatic comeback.  This butterfly relies on the coontie plant as the monarch does on milkweed.  With such strong comeback numbers, it is now considered a pest by human lovers of the coontie.

Dragonfly (2)
                          Check out those tail feathers!

Dragonfly (6)

                                                            Do Not Disturb.

Passion Flower Plant (6)
          The Passiflora ligularis (Passion Flowers) were blooming and scenting the air.

Squirrel Mammal
                                                              Sneaky Booger

Zebra Longwing Butterfly Insect (1)
                        Zebra Longwing Butterflies (the Florida state butterfly) flitted about.

They are the only butterfly to eat pollen.  Their saliva enables them to dissolve the pollen and to take in its nutrients. Pollen is very nutritious and rich in proteins which may explain why these butterflies live longer than other butterflies. The Zebra Longwing is a colonial butterfly that is know to be very intelligent and possesses a social order.  The caterpillars feed on Passion Flower Vines and acquire some of their toxins; this makes them distasteful to predators.

Isn't nature great!?

             A seemingly rare four petal tiger eye Iris... (official name still unconfirmed).

Mimosa microphylla, Little leaf sensitive briar flower plant (1)
       This 'cousin it' on a stick had popped up in the grass.

Mimosa microphylla, Little leaf sensitive briar flower plant (2)
Sure Mimosa microphylla, a.k.a. Little leaf sensitive briar, is a weed
but you cannot deny just how awesome it is.

Last but not least we present to you... Nephila clavipes.

             Can you see the golden portions of the web?
These are the only species of spider to make this gold colored web.

Golden Silk Spider (13)
A beautiful specimen, The Golden Silk Spider is more commonly called the Banana Spider.

Given that their body size can be two inches or a bit more, once you include the leg span, these become the generally accepted "largest spider in Florida".  And, that is how day one of the 25% lifer search went down.  There is more as this lifer day somehow turned into a week long event. 

But that is all for now.  It is still daylight and the birds are calling.