Janine's Blog

San Antonio, garden birds

Oct 24, 2016 by Janine |
It has been a busy few weeks. Luckily we were spared the worst of Hurricane Matthew and only had some minor tree damage. We had the birdfeeders back out at dawn immediately after the storm passed. Since then I've picked up a few more painted buntings, as well as had some other migrants pass through.

Rose-breasted grosbeak

Northern parula

Red eyed vireo

Black throated blue warbler male

And female. All of the warblers have been enjoying these rouge berries.

Eastern Phoebe

Female Scarlet Tanager

Ruby throated hummingbird

Our wildlife cams have been catching plenty of interesting visitors.

By day: Catbird, Ovenbird, Cardinal, and Carolina wren

By night: Raccoons, Opossum with baby in pouch, Armadillo, and a pre-dawn Ovenbird

It has been a lot of fun watching what goes on in the garden when we are not looking!

Last week I was in San Antonio for a conference. Flying out of Palm Beach, I got a nice view of all the runoff stormwater draining offshore.

The Alamo

Market Square, the largest Mexican market in the US.

The highlight of the trip was the Bracken bat cave, home to millions of bats! It was amazing to watch them emerge at dusk. I had visited last spring, but this was much more impressive since there were many more fall migrant bats present.

We've also had our first cool front pass through in Florida, which has been a delight.

Before the storm

Oct 06, 2016 by Janine |
Hurricane Matthew is heading for South Florida this evening. Thought I'd get one more blog in before going offline for a while!

Bird activity has picked up in the last few days. We had our first painted buntings arrive a couple of days ago.

Hummingbirds have been arriving steadily

New one for the yard, Swainson's Thrush

Ovenbird bathing

Wren showering

Sentinel mockingbird

The local pileated woodpeckers have been taking an interest in the owl box. This one decided to widen the entrance hole enough so that it could fit inside. I don't know why since I doubt that the box is large enough for them to nest in. Guess I will have to look into reinforcing the entrance before the owls come back!

To those in Matthew's path... stay safe!

The hummingbirds are back!

Sep 18, 2016 by Janine |
Yesterday the first female ruby-throated female visited the feeder. Today, a male was making himself at home, feeding and sunbathing.

Losts of warblers passing through. Of course, they tend to be most active in the evening, which makes photography difficult!

Black-throated blue warbler male and female

Kentucky warbler, a lifer! Plus, we got to celebrate double since it was also a first for the yard :)

Cardinals abound

Carolina wrens

Migration is on

Sep 10, 2016 by Janine |
Fall warblers have been moving through over the past couple of weeks.


Female American Redstart. The tail flashing display is thought to startle insects.

The resident Cardinals and Bluejays are looking disheveled due to molt

Leopard frogs

There has also been renewed interest in the owl box. We've seen the wren, bluejays and the red-bellied woodpecker investigating. As well as some unexpected guests.

Anything to eat around here?

Too small.

Summer Daze

Aug 20, 2016 by Janine |
Summer isn't great for birds in South Florida, but we do have some that stay almost year round.

Great crested flycatcher.

The wrens have stayed throughout the summer.

The first dribs and drabs of migration are appearing. Had an early hummingbird in the yard a few weeks ago.

Another less welcome visitor to the yard. The brown basilisk, an invasive species. I worry that he will gobble up my caterpillars as well as smaller, native lizards like skinks and anoles.

Leopard Frogs

Lots of fawns at Riverbend

Pileated woodpecker

Red-bellied woodpecker

Some kind of Boletus mushroom. Lots of different mushrooms popping up with all the rain we've had.

Baby Cardinals and Everglades

Jul 16, 2016 by Janine |
Rainy afternoon cardinals:

A great-crested flycatcher sunbathing

Giant swallowtail

White-tailed kites at Everglades National Park. No panthers this trip, but the kites made up for it!

White phase great blue heron

Twilight ospreys. Dramatic skies with a thunderstorm moving in.

Swimming crab

As above, so below

WA and CO

Jul 02, 2016 by Janine |
I stayed in La Conner for the 2nd half of the trip to Washington. Stayed in a quiet little B&B with lots of hummingbirds. My room was right near the hummingbird feeders so I could hear them buzzing and chattering out the window, which was nice.

Did some hiking at Deception Pass. It was a lovely cool and sunny day.

Pigeon Guillemot, a first for me!

Bald eagles were numerous

White-crowned sparrow

The rest of the trip was a bit rainy, but still cool and refreshing.

Banana slug

I was also in Colorado a few weeks ago. Visited Golden for dinner one night and was surprised to see the river was quite high.


Stopped by the Colorado Cider tasting room in Denver. So many ciders, so little time!

Back home now, enjoying our heat and humidity. It won't be long before the hummingbirds are back!

Washington Trip

Jun 19, 2016 by Janine |
Visited northern Washington last month. It was so lovely to escape the Florida heat.

Lots of bald eagles.


Surf Scoter

Summer flowers

I was staying right on the US-Canada border. This made it easy to head up to Vancouver to see Amon Amarth! The show was epic and I got to meet the band!

At dawn's first light- a welcome sight! Much needed visit to the espresso ship after an early border crossing.

More WA pics to come...

Ft. Lauderdale Air Show

Jun 04, 2016 by Janine |
I've still got some catching up to do with my photos! Here are shots from the Ft. Lauderdale air show in May.

Canadian Snowbirds

Heritage flight with F-35 Lightning and P-51 Mustang. This was the first public airshow appearance of the F-35.

Brietling Jet Team

Their "Super Ocean" formation


Hovering over the sea

Canadian F-18 Hornet

Lastly, the headlining jet team, the Thunderbirds.

On Thursday, Thunderbird 6 crashed after performing at the Air Force Academy graduation in Colorado Springs. Luckily the pilot is OK!

Here is Thunderbird 6 doing a high speed pass in Ft. Lauderdale.

It was a great day out, can't wait till next year's show!

Owl graduation day

May 30, 2016 by Janine |
We watched one baby screech owl left the nest box this week. It was sad to see it go, and we miss seeing the mom glaring out of the box every evening. But we are happy that they successfully raised at least one baby, and that we were able to watch them for the past few months! Hope they come back next spring!

Mom checking to see if the coast is clear

Baby peeking out

I caught some video of the last day at the nestbox. You can see the baby fussing behind mom's back and pushing to get out. Once she leaves, the baby scrambles up to peer out.

The carolina wrens have returned.

We were just discussing whether a wren would eat a lizard or not when the male popped up holding a baby lizard! He then fed it to the female.

We've also noticed the cardinals pairing off and lots of baby rabbits.

The cardinals and bluejays alerted me to the presence of this corn snake:

A vulture dries his wings after a morning thunderstorm: