Crested Caracaras & More…..

Crested Caracara in flight- femaleFemale Crested Caracara

Tony and I packed up our camera gear and headed for the north boat launch on Lake Istokpoga before sunrise yesterday.  A Nikon guy and a Canon guy with a shared passion for landscape and wildlife photography.  We arrived at the boat launch just before 7 am and could see the ospreys flying around near their nesting platform but there simply wasn’t enough light for photography.  So we walked out to the end of the boardwalk and watched the sunrise.  There was lots of rain in the area and the rain clouds seemed to just hang in the morning light as they were back lit by the rising sun.  All that made for some excellent photographic opportunities.

Istokpoga Sunrise

The light didn’t improve much after sunrise and while the ospreys flew in and out, the shots I got just didn’t measure up for posting to galleries or on our blog.  Better luck next time, hopefully.  We stayed at the boat launch for a couple of hours hoping things would improve but the ospreys must have been otherwise occupied as they only popped in for a cameo appearance and were circling way to high for any good shots.  Instead, I focused my attention on some of the songbirds in the shrubs along a fence line.

Male Cardinal at Istokpoga

Male Cardinal

We headed east on Hwy 98 after a snack in the parking lot before turning south and then west on Hwy 621.  Basically, we did a clockwise loop around Lake Istokpoga to Lake Placid before eventually heading back to Sebring.  The drive along Hwy 621 proved to be very fruitful.  Near the dam at the south end of Lake Istokpoga, we spotted a group of vultures feasting on an armadillo that failed to out run a car or truck earlier.  Imagine our surprise when we noted a male and female crested caracara among the vultures.Crested Caracara - male

Male Crested Caracara

I checked in my North American birding guide and the only place in Florida noted on the map for this bird is in central Florida around the Lake Placid area.  These guys made a quick meal of the armadillo and our parked SUV about 100 feet away didn’t seem to bother them too much as they mostly just kept eating.  The male was the more striking of the two caracaras but I wasn’t able to nab a shot of him in flight unfortunately.  He did pose nicely for me on a nearby fence post.  I thought about cloning out the barbed wire but thought it looked better left in the photo.  I may still give it a try though.

Tony & I had a great time today and the drive on Hwy 621 was very rewarding after a less than stellar morning trying for shots of the two ospreys at the boat launch.  It was an early day today.  I played pickleball in the afternoon too before Tony & Christine came over and joined us for supper. The humidity in Central Florida has been brutally high this past week, so it was nice to actually be able to sit outside as it cooled off moderately during the evening.  It rained a lot before midnight though when a huge thunderstorm blew over.  At least most of the runoff ponds are now filled up again.

Enjoy the photos. Comments are always welcome.