Sunday, March 21, 2010

Florida eagles aren't shy....

...AT ALL! I mean, for heaven's sake, this nest is smack dab in the middle of a condo complex right above a walking trail and just outside someone's bedroom window!

Can you imagine waking up to this sight every morning?

...or telling your guests, "Yes, that is an American Bald Eagle looking in at you."

I don't think I could ever tire of seeing this gorgeous bird.

...and to make things even better, imagine two eaglets growing up in this nest. Yes, indeed, eggs were laid, hatched, and babies raised while lawn mowers and leaf blowers roared underneath, and how would I know? Because I spent all last week in beautiful, beautiful, sunny, sunny Florida with Rick and Matty. Ack.....what a place. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Florida and all the wonderful birds.

Mama and one of the juveniles. The other juvenile was hunkered down in the nest.

This gives you an idea of the size of the nest. It was quite a surprise to
look up and see it overhead in a tree just off the walking trail.

Because of all the development in Florida, American Bald Eagles have been squeezed out of their prime nesting habitats and have learned to tolerate the noisy humans that live underfoot. Choosing to ignore the cars, noise and manicured lawns that require endless cutting, spraying, and watering, these birds brave the suburban areas because they have to.

The Sarasota Birding Guide
We stayed on Longboat Key just off Sarasota. Rick and Matty were there for tennis, but I was there for the birds, so in preparation, I googled, "Birding in Sarasota," and found Rick Greenspun, the Sarasota Birding Guide. Rick offers personalized birding and photography tours, so I immediately emailed him and booked a day of birding. Wow!! I'm so glad I found Rick and went out birding with him. Monday morning at 7:30 sharp Rick was at our condo and picked me up for 8 hours of non-stop birding. He even had water and snacks so we didn't have to stop for lunch. I saw and learned so much!!! I am really weak with shorebirds. All those sandpipers and terns...they all look the same. Well...not any more! Rick taught me how to spot and identify all those long-billed, long-legged, and short-billed, short-legged birds splashing around in the surf as they plucked and dug out tasty bits to eat. I saw so many cool birds, most were still in their winter plumage, but many were molting, and many were in full breeding plumage. I have tons of photos for the next week or so.........including photos of the juvenile American Bald Eagles testing out their wings as they were getting ready to fledge.

If you're headed to the Sarasota area, look up Rick, and be sure to book two days instead of one. You really need two days to make it to all the varied habitat. Rick, Matty and I loved Longboat Key so much we are going back next spring, so I'll get the second half of the trip then. Click here to visit Rick's website. "Bird Doggie" is also a fabulous photographer and has beautiful photos of birds on his site as well as info on his birding tours.

Rick...I went black and white with this shot. Hope you like it!

46 comments:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh how neat, Kelly..... I love that area of Florida. I used to live in Venice for about 4 yrs. That's when the kids were little---and I didn't know a thing about birds---or care!!!!! I still don't know much about the shore birds...

Amazing about the Eagle's nest... Wow--you are so lucky... Bet you didn't want to go home!!!!

Thanks for sharing.
Hugs,
Betsy

Neil said...

Beautiful photos Kelly to be that close is amazing.

Kelly said...

Betsy.....I did not want to go home. I do not want to be home now. I want to be down there in the sun with the tame herons and non-timid eagles. I just LOVED it there. Sigh. Sigh again.... :-)

Thank goodness spring migration is right around the corner!!

Neil...so amazing to be so close. The people who lived there thought it as normal as could be to have these majestic birds nesting in their backyard.

mick said...

Wow! What fantastic birding to be able to see all those shorebirds and seabirds AND those wonderful eagles. Great photos! Ospreys out here in Australia often use power poles and radio or communication towers to nest on - and in the middle of town! Don't know if they do that over your way.

Kelly said...

Mick...I haven't seen any in Cincy doing that, but I did see a few in Florida. I have photos of an Osprey eating a fish on top of an electric pole! Amazing...right in the middle of town!

Elaine said...

Wow! That eagle nest is something else, and to think of the lengths that some people go just to get to see an eagle. Good move on your part to get a guide to take you around. You not only got to see a lot of different birds but had someone who could identify them for you. What a perfect day!

holdingmoments said...

Wow Kelly, like you say, imagine waking up to that sight every morning. Amazing. Superb shots too.

And what a great day with Rick that must have been.

Chris said...

Hi Kelly,
Yes that's a beautiful sight to get out of your window. Very surprising to see it nesting so close to human activity! At least it gives you the possibilities to get nice pictures of the nest, its owners and the eventual small babies eagle... What a gorgeous things.
your pictures are beautiful and I would like to get some nice close-up of our eagle like this!

Roy said...

Fabulous shots of the Bald Eagle Kelly. So close as well.
Then I guess being a Bald Eagle it nests where it likes.{:)

Felicia said...

Sounds like you had an awesome time, I'm so glad you got to visit my part of the world! We do indeed have lots of Bald Eagles in Florida, and nobody ever gets tired of seeing them. Great shots, too!

Jayne said...

I think I'd never make it to work on time! WOW! Just imagine seeing that at the beginning of each day!

Sounds like you all had a wonderful time. How cool that you got to go on such a fun birding adventure Kelly!

DK Miller said...

Wow! Great sots! How cool to get so close.

Busy Bee Suz said...

So glad you enjoyed your Florida trip. We do have some interesting birds here. Those eagles are magnificent..I could never tire of watching them as well.
Did you see any of the Ospreys? Their nests are large as well.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh, I see now that you did see some Ospreys. Great!!!

Bill S. said...

Beautiful eagle pictures. It is amazing how content birds can become with human activity nearby.

HBFG said...

Oh so wonderful! It's good that those wonderful birds don't let people scare them away. It's good that they take the right to be who they are and where they want (need) to. I mean, they gotta live and breed too, right?!
Awesome!
The photos are so nice and I am happy for you that you got to go birding with Rick, he seems to be a nice man. Great B&W shot of him! :))

Montanagirl said...

Fabulous shots of the Eagle! What a wonderful day you must have had. I'd LOVE to do that sometime, but we never seem to get much further than Bowdoin, or maybe Benton Lake NWR over near Great Falls. The birds are very wary and anything but tolerant of humans. Hard to get good shots. Am so happy for you that you got to do that!

Bird Girl said...

Kelly this is so amazing to see Bald Eagles out a condo window! Yes indeed, these birds and all birds really do acclimate themselves to their surroundings, don't they? Reminded me of Pale Male & Lola nesting across from Central Park! I'm so glad you found Rick and I can't wait to read all of your future posts.
Florida in on my agenda!!!

Roy said...

The Eagles in Florida remind me of Pale Male, the Red-tailed Hawk who basically repopulated NYC with Red-tails. Now there's a thriving colony of Red-tails who nest on the buildings surrounding Central Park and hunt in the park itself. Plus now there are two mating pairs who nest on the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and hunt in Morningside Park. Raptors seem to be able to adapt to urban and suburban intrusion (remember the introduction of Peregrine Falcons to Boston's skyscrapers back in the '80s, part of an effort to control the pigeon population?).

oldcrow61 said...

Fabulous pictures of the Eagle. A magnificant bird.

Dina said...

What luck to have the eagles where you were vacationing. Great pictures!

Kay said...

Wonderful pictures of the eagles! I would love looking out the window at an eagle's nest! We have great birds in TX but not nesting Bald Eagles!!

Moria said...

Wow, I would love for a Bald Eagle to nest right outside my balcony. That is exciting! Thanks for the great images, Kelly.

Susan said...

Gorgeous eagle shots - we saw lots of them as well when we were there..so nice to see them adapting! Loved Long Boat Key too -so beautiful there! Great to have hooked up with a local guide...just a little envious but looking forward to your photos!

Kyna said...

That eagle is so cool! :D And to have it right out a bedroom window...

JKoenig said...

Wow! Those Eaglew take your breath away, and you got such outstanding pictures. I would have never even thought to look for Eagles in Florida. Can't wait to see more!

Warren Baker said...

Well done to the eagles! What great fortitude and enterprise they show.

Great photo's Kelly.

Hilke Breder said...

Amazing pictures of the eagles, Kelly. It sounds like you had a dream of a birding vacation. Birding in Florida can be so much fun because you don't have to go very far to find ones you never get to see up North. Also birds there seem to be less shy, maybe for lack of hunting?

Heather said...

Wow Kelly, what a cool experience. I've never seen a Bald Eagle in person - I'm a little jealous that you got to see one so close!!! That's really cool that you got to have such an intense, one-to-one birding day with an expert. What a fun trip!

Jenny said...

Oh My! I'm soooooo looking forward to your next few posts from sunny Florida!!! Those Bald Eagle shots are crackers Kelly!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

I am so sorry I missed you when you were in Florida--next time you're here, we must get together. (You can come see Tank...) The birds here are spectacular, that's true. I know so little about them. That's one thing I plan to do in the future...learn about birds. Right now I'm reduced to "Isn't he/she pretty?"

Mary said...

That is amazing! I can't imagine the eagles wanting to nest that close to humans! What wonderful photos! Can't wait to see what other wonderful birds you saw.

Carol Mattingly said...

Beautiful photos Kelly. I saw a balded eagle when I vacationed in San Juan Island off the coast of Washington state several years ago but couldn't get really close. These are so beautiful

Wanda said...

You will probably look for excuses to go to Florida every winter now! Your photos are lovely, Kelly. The news reported on a Bald Eagles Nest along the Little Miami River in Warren County, you probably know of it.

Dave Lewis said...

So, it looks like you had a terrible time in Florida, so sorry.
Nice butt shots of the Eagle!

Wren said...

Oh, good to know. I collect guide recommendations, since I have so many short trips and a good guide makes all the difference.

I'm trying to imagine having that eagles' nest outside my bedroom window, and it just does not compute. I mean really - I go gaga over the robins underneath the deck every spring, can you imagine how I'd be with an eagle to watch?

Larry said...

So cool to have the eagles nest right there huh Kelly? I really like the photo with the juvenile on the branch and the adult in the nest. What a shot!

I am really looking forward to more photos from this trip with Rick. Great idea finding a local guide to fill your day with birds. I think you won't forget this trip anytime soon!

Kerri said...

Oh I want to visit!! Fabulous shots!

Pam said...

Kelly, your photos are stunning. I am so jealous, can you see me turning green with envy.
We use to see quit a few eagles a few miles from where we live but we haven't seen any for some time now ):
Thanks for sharing the beauty.

Together We Save said...

Wow - that is so amazing!! I have never even seen a bald eagle!! I mean in person!!

Johnny Nutcase said...

that's pretty crazy! You were so close, that's so neat. You got awesome photos, i love them all. They look proud of their very public nest, and they should be. Love the photos!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

WOW! You were so close! I'm so glad you shared these photos. I went back to the reservoir today, but still no eagle sighting. The nest is up so high, and across the lake, *sigh*. I really need a bigger zoom lens.

Dave said...

WOW!

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone! What a spectacular sight. In Cincy...we only have a few nests, and they are sooo far away, plus, they keep the nests secret to protect the eagles, so when I saw these eagles nesting and living out in the open in a busy suburban area I was amazed. I visited them again on Wednesday, but they had not fledge then. I wonder how they are doing...

Anna said...

Kelly not at all as far as I can see, excellent collection again, Anna :)

E said...

These are great, love them all.
Hugs.