Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Paul Peed sent some raptor photos from Florida; his notes are indented:

      Continuing with Raptors of T.M. Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area.

Crested Caracara 

The Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway), a member or the Falcon family, is T.M. Goodwin’s “feel good” character.  One cannot but smile broadly when viewing this incredible bird.  It looks like a hawk with its talons and sharp beak, behaves like a vulture with its taste for carrion, and yet is a large black and white falcon.  This individual is a juvenile which I imaged alongside a Turkey Vulture over a small piece of carrion.


American Kestrel

In my opinion, the most beautiful raptor is the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius).  I developed a one-way relationship with an individual  I could depend on appearing at a particular location when making my weekly visit to T.M. Goodwin.  It would migrate north every spring but return to the same location every autumn.  I actually mourned when he did not show up this year after 3 years.

Merlin

A rarity at Goodwin, the Merlin (Falco columbarius) is a small but fierce raptor.  A favorite of female medieval falconers, Merlins have been known to team up with other individuals to hunt waxwings.  One attacks from below while the other waits to take advantage of the confusion.  Unfortunately I have never been able to get closer than 40 meters to any individual.  These images are from 45- 50 meters.

Swallow-tailed Kites

Late August and September bring the easily identifiable Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) to Goodwin’s Broadmoor Marshes.  They breed in swamps, lowland forests, and marshes—primarily in South Carolina and Florida.  Swallow-tailed Kites hunt on the wing for tree frogs, lizards, small fish and flying insects.   At Goodwin they are known for picking caterpillars off the vegetation.

With its deeply forked tail and black-and-white plumage, it is hard to miss over Goodwin.  It glides through the sky using a twist of its forked tail to maneuver.  In the air, it chases dragonflies and other flying insects.   After rearing its young in a treetop nest, the kite migrates to wintering grounds in South America.

18 Comments

  1. Liz
    Posted April 11, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Very nice.

  2. Posted April 11, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Beautiful pictures! And such interesting commentary. Is the bump on the Caracara the crop?

  3. Deborah Lind
    Posted April 11, 2019 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I love your pictures of birds at Goodwin Marsh. I follow you on Instagram. At least, I think it’s you. You are an excellent photographer of birds, one of the best I follow.

    • Paul Techsupport
      Posted April 11, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the yellowish bump on the lower “throat” is it’s crop. It gets pronounced when it has eaten recently.
      Thanks for kind comments.

      Paul Peed

    • Paul Techsupport
      Posted April 11, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your kind remarks and for viewing my images of the birds of T.M. Goodwin Broadmoor Marshes WMA.
      I am a beginner in photography. What beauty you see is entirely due to the birds and wildlife I stumble across at Goodwin.

      Thanks kindly

      Paul

  4. yazikus
    Posted April 11, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Fantastic photos, thank you!

  5. Jeff J
    Posted April 11, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    That Crested Caracara is totally wearing a toupee. I can always tell.

    • BJ
      Posted April 11, 2019 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Damn, I should read the other comments before posting. You beat me to the toupee joke.

  6. BJ
    Posted April 11, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I think birds of prey are some of the coolest animals on earth. They’re so bad ass.

    Love the crested caracara. “It’s not a toupee! I swear!”

  7. rickflick
    Posted April 11, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Very fine shots!

  8. Posted April 11, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Excellent photos!

  9. Posted April 11, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I think I saw Crested Caracara more then once when I used to commute between West Palm Beach and Okeechobee along the “bee line” Route 710. Could that have been possible?

    • Paul Techsupport
      Posted April 11, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Entirely possible. Crested Caracara were classified as “Threatened” probably because of the declines in the citrus groves due to citrus diseases and the lands subsequent conversion to residential development. Ranch and farmland development seem to be aiding a recovery lately.
      Okeechobee Prairie State Park is now a Crested Caracara “hotspot”

  10. Mark R.
    Posted April 11, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful bird photos. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Cate Plys
    Posted April 11, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for all these wonderful photos, and here’s hoping the kestrel returns soon!

  12. chrism
    Posted April 12, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Now that I have a large flock of redpolls, pine siskins and goldfinches coming to my feeders, I have inadvertently brought in a merlin that finds them as attractive as I do, but for different reasons. I haven’t seen one since I was a child, and it was quite a shock to have it land unexpectedly on the front deck a couple of yards from my feet. It stayed about three seconds before taking off again, so I don’t know if I’ll ever manage to photograph it. I’ll be cross if it takes one of my chipmunks!

    • rickflick
      Posted April 12, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      We have a sharp-shinned hawk that likes to perch around our bird feeders. It’s as if it thinks the juncos and white-crowned sparrows are going to fly down in front of him and let him take his pick. Silly hawk.


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