Monday, February 6, 2017

Feb. 5-2017  finding the birds:

Where was the first place I looked?----right outside our villa.  I was able to sit on our patio and watch some birds in the trees right there.  Wasn't easy catching these very active tiny birds!  I think this is a blue gray gnatcatcher.
 or a black tail gnatcatcher.

There were also a bunch of these guys all around.  I believe it's a palm warbler.
 This is the wide angle view from our back patio.  We're right on a golf course, so got to see several golfers, too, as well as the occasional walker.
  I was hoping to find something like Wakodahatchee here in the Orlando area, but didn't.  But did find a really neat 11 mile drive through birding trail at Apopka Lake about 30 minutes away from Orange Lake Resort.  Didn't see nesting birds, but did see a lot of birds being birds which was rather interesting to watch.
As soon as we got into the park, this Great white egret flew up with this snake and we spent quite awhile watching it try to eat it.
  After about 15 minutes we went on our way as it was still trying to kill the snake.  
 Soon we were watching the elusive bittern.
and a cattle egret
 Love watching these little grebes.  They're always diving underwater.  It's amazing how long they can stay underwater.
 a juvenile ibis.
 Not sure what this little guy is---can't find anything like him in my field guide book.
 First time I've seen a grebe dive down and come back up with dinner.
 the mystery bird again.  Some sort of warbler?
 Also enjoyed seeing all the wildflowers blooming.
 Another palm warbler or yellow tail warbler?
 a kingfisher.
 Another type of warbler.
 The typical canal by which we drove along.
 We also had some views of the lake. 
 A couple teals.
 teals and a common coot.
 a couple Norther Shovelers.  Don't remember seeing these guys in S. Florida---or anywhere before, for that matter.
a Florida softshell turtle.
 a cooter---sure looked to be puffed out!
 more pretty wildflowers.
 and, yes, lots of alligators. 
 This young white ibis seemed to have found a small turtle and was trying to eat it.
 still working on the turtle.
 Back at our resort, I couldn't resist taking a picture of the moon as it was rising.
 With the sun about to set, I took a walk by the lake behind our condo.  Looks like a few Mallards were there.
 The pool is right by the lake, too.  Very convenient short walk from our condo.  Unfortunately we didn't use it or the spa as much as I had expected.  Seemed by the time we got home most evenings we were ready to just just relax and watch tv.  But the few times we did go were great.  Love being able to enjoy an outdoor pool again, especially in Feb.!  It was heated, but the daytime temps were usually around 80 so the air was as warm as the water.
 Also at the lake behind our condo is a dock with a bunch of water toys for rent---like these giant swan paddle boats. 
 Just on the other side of the dock was a really nice beach area---with signs warning not to swim in the lake (due to the chance of alligators or other dangerous wild creatures being in the lake).  Loved all the mossy trees around the resort, too.
 I wasn't the only one enjoying the sunset by the beach.
 More sunset from the beach.  There were a lot of lounge chairs along the beach.  Surprising how few people take the time to enjoy a good sunset!
 Usually if people do stop to watch the sunset, they leave as soon as it sets.  The real spectacular colors start about 10 minutes after sunset.  So I sit and wait.
 The clouds lit up beautifully tonight.
Even birds enjoy a good sunset---must be why I like them so much.
 The view from our back patio.
After sunset, it was time to find food.  Ken found a little family owned Italian place nearby---Bruno's Italian Restaurant on hwy 192.  Ken got the veal parmesian and I got linguini alfredo.  Both were good.  The prices were really good and service was great.   Plus we didn't have to put up with the usual crowds around that area.
 Then it was time to go back to the condo and settle in for the big game!  We finally had a football team to root for in the Super Bowl!  Now that we live in Atlanta part time, I'm a Falcon's fan and they actually made it to the Super Bowl.  I settled in with my IPA and enjoyed the first 3 quarters of the game.  Then the Patriots woke up and mounted a come back.  The game even went into overtime, but I guess the Falcons are only good for 3 quarters.  At least that's better then the Ram's of late.  They were good for maybe 1 quarter.  Even then I rooted for them when they were in St. Louis, but I wasn't heart broken when they went back to Las Angeles.  Long gone are the exciting games when Warner was the quarterback.  But they did just announce that he finally made it into the NFL Hall of Fame this year!  
1 down, 5 more beers to go!  All in all, another good day.