Saturday, October 27, 2012

Eastern Phoebe

I spotted this cute little bird last weekend at the old Kings Grant Golf Course. I needed some identification help and again received prompt and accurate replies after I posted two photos on the forum that helps people identify mystery birds.

I first thought that this small bird may be a Warbler and was later surprised to realize it is in the Flycatcher family.
I didn't hear its call but that's where the name Phoebe comes from, the "Fee-bee" sound it makes, according to the write up on this bird on

Another neat fact is that a group of Eastern Phoebes is called, among other names, an outfield.  Catching flies as a baseball outfielder would-- get it? 

The state (and fate) of the former Kings Grant golf course has been in limbo for years. But this summer Wachovia/Wells Fargo bank sold it to an out-of-state developer. I am hopeful, as are residents in the Kings Grant neighborhood, that part of the old golf course will be left alone or turned into a nature park.

In June I had a letter to the editor published in the Charleston Post and Courier sharing my views on this issue. I know it has been widely circulated in the neighorbood (because someone contacted me some weeks later and asked my permission to copy the letter to share with residents there.)
The link to my letter doesn't include the photograph that ran with it in the newspaper.  It was of a pair of Red-shoulder Hawks I photographed at the old golf course a while back.

Aren't they beautiful? Since the golf course closed several years ago, there has been no development on the land so it has reverted back to nature and has become a really neat bird refuge of sorts.

Let's hope the new owner sees the benefits of keeping part of the property along the Ashley River as a park with access to not just Kings Grant residents but the rest of the community as well. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Welaka, Florida Fall Visit

Alesia and I were in Welaka, Fla. a couple weekends ago visiting her sister and her husband who have a second home on the St. Johns River.  It was our first time there and we really enjoyed the lovely scenery, especially this amazing sunset one evening!
These weren't storm clouds just a very striking confluence of colors at sunset made even more spectacular by the reflection in the river.
Welaka, population approximately 600, is a small river town in Putnam County, about 90 miles southwest of Jacksonville.
Ron and Suzan took us on a fun morning outing in their boat.
Me being me, I had my eye out for birds along the river.  Osprey are abundant in the area, near the river...
...and in town on a TV antenna.  I didn't know people still used these!
Osprey have amazing yellow eyes that do not miss a thing- or a person like me taking its picture.
Along that same residential road I had to jump out of the car again when seeing this Red-shouldered Hawk on a powerline.
Hawks have some powerful eyes too.
Another stop-the-car moment was when we passed these two large birds near the Welaka State Forest.
Initally, I thought they were Great Egrets or Great Blue Herons, but then did a double-take when I noticed the red markings on their faces.
These are Florida Sandhill Cranes, a "lifer" bird for me, meaning this was the first time I ever saw one.  I can't say I had ever heard of this breed.  But that's what makes going to new places neat, the opportunity to see new things, including birds and ducks. How about the crane's orange eyes!
Speaking of orange, this lovely butterfly caught my eye during our visit to the Welaka State Forest.
Saw some Common Moorhens in a murky swamp at the park.
A Great Egret stood tall for this photograph.
We really had a nice time in Welaka, Fla., a true fishermen's paradise.
The birding was good too.
The scenery was special!
But the real treat was the fine food at my brother-in-law Ron's new restaurant, R&B Welaka BBQ. He and two partners have opened a delicious barbecue restaurant in this small town. If you're ever in the area, be sure to stop in.  You'll love it too I am sure!
That's Ron on the left with the other two owners.
Thanks for a great visit Suzan and Ron!
Florida- the Sunshine State where the sunsets aren't bad either!