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Observations & Images
25 December 2006
Pre-Nesting Wildlife Encounters

A Red-Shouldered Hawk silhouetted against the Christmas dawn.
The first of three Magnificent Frigatebirds seen throughout the morning.
Two Black Vultures watch the sunrise.
A Caspian Tern crossing the Centennial Trail.
The Tern kept an eye out for possible prey in the pond below.
White Pelicans leave one of the Impoundments heading toward a mixed flock of birds feeding offshore of Pelican Island.
A great number of birds flew in to feed on what must have been a school of fish moving past the island. Visible are Cormorants, Great Egrets, Great Blue Heron, Brown Pelicans, and White Pelicans. The Egrets and Herons were left on the sidelines to watch the feeding frenzy without being able to take part directly.
Part of a larger flock of White Pelicans paddle around Pelican Island as the fish are driven in front of them. A Brown Pelican and Cormorants follow along.
A view of the feeding maelstrom as the birds go after their prey.
This Tern left the confusion to enjoy the fish it caught in private.
Nearby a solitary Osprey hunted alone. Here the Osprey dives toward the water after sighting a fish.
The Osprey adjusts its dive to keep on target. Just before hitting the water the Osprey brought its talons forward to land feet first in a position to grasp its prey.
The Osprey hits the water.
The Osprey is only in the water for a few moments before it starts to pull itself back into the air.
The Osprey emerges from the water with its talons empty. The fish has eluded being caught this time.
The Osprey heads for shore.
The Osprey is wet from its plunge into the Indian River Lagoon with the sodden feathers making for more strenuous flying to stay aloft. If a fish had been caught it would make for even harder flying to carry that additional weight along with being waterlogged.
The Osprey shakes itself like a wet dog to dispel water from its feathers. Note the water droplets spraying out.
After circling to dry off a bit, the Osprey hunted again and this time was rewarded with a fish which it carried off.
A Brown Pelican heads out toward Pelican Island.
A Blue Crab in this view from the Centennial Trail boardwalk.
The small Eastern Phoebe is a common sight in the open areas of the Refuge.
A Black Racer (?) with just its head showing from a hole in the trail. The snake stayed absolutely still for over eleven minutes before finally ducking back underground.
The snake retreats back down into the ground. A close look reveals the standing photographer reflected in the snake's eye. A similar self-portrait occurred with a Common Yellowthroat on 21 May 2007.
The third Magnificent Frigatebird of the day passing overhead. The second Frigatebird was seen perched out at Pelican Island and was too distant to get a good picture of. This bird was gliding in wide loops which eventually took it out over the ocean.
An American Kestrel tries to balance itself in the strong wind.
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OspreyWatch by Bob Montanaro
www.lunarcabin.com - - - - www.ospreywatch.org