Spring in Florida

April was a month with lots of travel. The first trip was to the University of Florida in Gainesville for a conference called “From Stars to Life”. I stayed an extra day at the end to go birding along La Chua Trail in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park and a few other hotspots in the Gainesville area. The final tally was 53 different species of birds, almost half of which (23) were species I saw for the first time ever. Particularly numerous were various types of herons and egrets: great blues, little blues, snowies, greens, cattles, and more. Blue-winged teal, American coots, white ibis, red-winged blackbirds, and boat-tailed grackles were also present in large numbers. Among the 23 “firsts” were Carolina wrens, anhingas, black-necked stilts, palm warblers, a limpkin, eastern towhees, a prairie warbler, and a pileated woodpecker. Impressive in a rather different way were the many alligators along the trail – and sometimes almost on it.

Below are a few photographic highlights from La Chua. The full album can be found in the usual location.

A great blue heron (Amerikaanse blauwe reiger) in breeding plumage.
A great blue heron (Amerikaanse blauwe reiger) in breeding plumage.

A much smaller cousin to the alligators encountered further down the trail.
A much smaller cousin to the alligators encountered further down the trail.
A palm warbler (palmzanger).
A palm warbler (palmzanger).
Good thing I have a zoom lens to get close-ups, because you don't want to get too near these beasts.
Good thing I have a zoom lens to get close-ups, because you don’t want to get too near these beasts.
A juvenile white ibis (witte ibis).
A juvenile white ibis (witte ibis).
A female anhinga (Amerikaanse slangenhalsvogel) drying her wings after a dive.
A female anhinga (Amerikaanse slangenhalsvogel) drying her wings after a dive.

Perhaps my favorite picture of the trip: a bald eagle (Amerikaanse zeearend) with a freshly caught fish in its claws.
Perhaps my favorite picture of the trip: a bald eagle (Amerikaanse zeearend) with a freshly caught fish in its claws.

 

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