Birder's Eye View

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Birds at Busch Gardens

"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands." -Douglas Adams

Yesterday my family took a day trip to Busch Gardens, which, expectedly for this time of year, was swarming with thousands of tourists. Regardless, it was fun, and I was able to get some cool bird photos and even see a few lifers.

The only downside (besides all the tourists) is that, apparently -- and understandably -- neither the ABA nor the AOU allows for the counting of captive birds. The upside is, however, that now that I've seen some new birds, I'll know more of what I'm looking at when I finally do see them in the wild. =)

Hooded Mergansers aren't new to me -- a flock of 8 have recently taken up residence in one of my neighborhood's ponds -- but I've never seen one as close as this! There were several males adn females swimming around in the hippo tank, and for me, warranted much more interest than the hippos themselves.

I just thought this was kind of a cool shot. I love how you can see each pefectly placed feather on this one; they're gorgeous birds.

I also thought this one was pretty. She was a very content looking female, floating around placidly with the others.

Finally (finallyfinallyfinallyfinally!!!) saw my Black-necked Stilt! I've been wanted to see one for over a year now, and, although I can't officially count it, I can at least say I've seen one! There were quite a few of them in the aviary, and this one posed quite nicely in the afternoon sunlight for me.

Other would-be lifers I saw included a Brant and several Ruddy Ducks, of which I was unable to get a good photo.

Well, I suppose this will be my last post for 2008!

Until 2009,

Happy birding, and best wishes for a safe, happy, wonderful new year!


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