The random pictures of evilmike

That's what he said. Twenty years ago would be about 1981, I don't know what your crazy attempt to make me feel old by insisting that was 40 years ago is about but it hasn't worked.
Hey, I don't know when everyone hears stuff. Wasn't attempting to make you feel old, Vanna White is 65, heck I don't even think I'm old and I've been married longer than Dave. There could have been a release of the song in 2003, John Larroquette is 75, but I didn't take the time to look it up.

TLDR: You're old, and so am I, but not as old as we used to think this age was.
Last week, I was looking for a couple of types of birds that I did not find. However, I did not have the same difficulty with the brown pelicans.

pelican 2023-02-20-01.jpg

pelican 2023-02-20-02.jpg
The Right Kind of Habitat

A Florida scrub jay perching in a recently burned area of the scrub sanctuary where it makes its home. Interestingly, the fire didn't cause any habitat loss. Instead, Florida scrub needs to catch fire every few years to maintain the biome and keep it from turning into a forest. The sanctuary maintains 4 different cells of scrub, separated by fire breaks, so they can set fire to one every couple of years to rejuvenate them. The scrub jays were taking advantage of this fire-cleared area. They were all over this cell, going about their business, hunting for bugs (and helpfully ignoring photographers.)

scrub jay against the burn 2023-06-30-01.jpg
One unexpected side-effect of Hurricane Idalia was a sudden influx of American flamingos to the United States. The birds have made appearances as far north as Ohio and Pennsylvania. And even though Florida has a few accidental visitations a year from flamingos, it has never been in numbers like this. There have been multiple sightings, and some of those have been of as many as 50 birds. Unfortunately for me, almost all of the sightings have been over 150 miles away from here.

So far, the closest sighting that I have been able to manage is finding another type of pink bird -- the more common, and paradoxically less well known, roseate spoonbill:

spoonbill 2023-09-10.jpg
A Pause before Chaos

The reddish egret's feeding strategy is to patrol the tidal flats, and when it thinks there is a potential meal nearby, it unleashes as much energy as it can in a short burst. It runs; it hops; it flaps its wings. It does anything it can to startle, confuse, and harass any small fish in its zone of chaos, ultimately making them easy prey.

reddish egret 2023-10-09-01.jpg

reddish egret 2023-10-09-02.jpg

reddish egret 2023-10-09-03.jpg
A Bird Tale

Every year, a few fork-tailed flycatchers get confused as they migrate between Brazil and Argentina and fly the wrong way. Ultimately, they end up in North America, often in Florida. This year, one of them ended up in Floridana Beach. It's a fairly obscure community (nestled between the equally unknown Melbourne Shores and Sunnyland Beach). The community does have one important detail however -- it's easy to get to. Some years, a flycatcher will visit the area, only to stay miles from the nearest public road. This year, not only is the area accessible, the flycatcher is amusing itself by flying between a county park and the state park right next door -- much to the delight of dozens of bird watchers. The only trick is figuring out which park the bird is currently visiting, or to be stubborn enough to stay in one spot until it eventually flies by. I caught up with the flycatcher on the road between the two parks. It flew right in front of me and perched on a wire just long enough for me to get a couple of pictures.

Other than its rarity, the flycatcher has one other feature that is noteworthy -- its tail is at least as long as the rest of its body.
fork-tailed flycatcher.jpg

fork-tailed flycatcher 2023-10-29-02.jpg
Last edited:

I don't think this old dock can be used for its intended purpose. Fortunately, the pelicans have found a new use for it.

pelican dock 2023-10-29.jpg
Reddish Egret in the Surf

This was a pleasant surprise from a few weeks ago. I normally find reddish egrets in isolated areas, far from the crowds. Imagine my surprise when I spotted one going fishing in the surf, with all of the typical reddish egret energy (otherwise known as "zoomies"), near the surfers and swimmers at a popular tourist beach. It's off-season, so the beach isn't as crowded as it might be, but it was far from deserted.

reddish egret 2023-11-25-01.jpg
Pictures from my trip to the botanical gardens last weekend. It might be cheating slightly to take Spring-like pictures at a Botanical Gardens, but I'm happy with the results. Lucked into a bug in the second picture, which is a bonus.

flower at mckee 2024-03-17-01.jpg

flower and dragonfly at mckee.jpg