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Observations & Images
14 October 2006
Pre-Nesting Wildlife Encounters

Dawn broke as an overcast, blustery day over the Refuge. As with the last visit, the Osprey nest is vacant and the area around the nest is quiet. For a brief moment, the Sun broke through the clouds revealing that a male Pileated Woodpecker is using the successful Pileated Woodpecker nest cavity that fledged two young from last season as a roost.
The Woodpecker comes out of the cavity to start his day. He was obviously in need of a strong cup of coffee to get motivated for after he hitched up to the top of the tree trunk I waited for almost twenty minutes to see him fly off but he just sat there looking around. I eventually gave up on him and moved off.
The Sun disappeared quickly behind thick clouds for the rest of the morning and, paradoxically, it got darker as the morning wore on. This turn of events played havoc with the photo exposures which was a shame given all the opportunities that presented themselves. Here a Red-Shouldered Hawk scans the area from a palm tree off of Pete's Impoundment Trail.
Naturally, since there was not enough light to get a good exposure, when the Hawk flew off it passed close by me.
The brown feathers mark this as a juvenile White Ibis.
The adult model of the above bird---white feathers have replaced all the brown.
Mottled Ducks swim in Pete's Impoundment.
A great number of Ospreys were present at the north side of Pete's Impoundment where they were fishing in the waters of the Indian River Lagoon. Here an Osprey scans the water below for fish.
It is impossible to walk the trails at Pelican Island NWR without inadvertently spooking birds out of the dense foliage alongside the trails. Here a Tricolored Heron takes offense at my passage by taking wing.
The Heron was, ultimately, not too disturbed by my presence for it flew only a short distance before landing atop a mangrove tree. Here it tries to keep its balance as a strong gust of wind ruffles its feathers.
The high point of the day occurred when three River Otters came out of the mangroves only a short distance in front of me as I was walking along the trail. I was surprised by their sudden appearance and the fact that they did not notice me standing almost on top of them. Here one of the Otters can be seen covered with sand from rolling around on the ground in a sandy patch in the middle of the trail.
While two of the Otters enjoyed a sand bath, a third appeared from out of the mangroves who was much more observant. Here the Otter can be seen watching me.
The alert stance of the observant Otter, seen at left, garnered the attention of the other two, one of which can be seen in the background at right with a sand-covered face. These two then turned and disappeared back into the mangroves.
The third Otter, who was the most preoccupied with its sand bath, here takes notice of me before it, too, disappeared into the mangroves following the other two.
Pelican Island is well-known as a place where White Pelicans spend the winter. Here a White Pelican is seen as it flies by.
 
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OspreyWatch by Bob Montanaro
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