Odds and Ends…

One thing I’ve learned about vacations in my life: They always end up being my busiest days! That’s the way it’s been since I can remember. My last vacation in Florida did not differ from the traditional busy vacation. My wife loves when I plan our vacations because she returns home happy and satisfied.

“Shooting pictures can be done while having fun too!”


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© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

What’s Up?

Sandy Key Salt Marsh

The days we (my family and I) were in Clearwater, the weather temperature was high and happened that tit had not rained for about a week. The salt marsh water levels were low and many parts of the area were merely mud left over. Luckily there was a large area with enough water to sustain fish and aquatic life. Bird count was low mostly because of the high temperature. I was very aware of the weather conditions but I have learned from my backyard experience that local birds usually seldom abandon their territory, instead they look for shelter and limit their activities in order to avoid exhaustion or waste their energy.

I walked around looking for birds. Little by little, I found them here and there.

Our plan was to meet my good friend Tiny at the marsh at 10:00 in the morning. I decided to be at the salt marsh much earlier to scout the area, this gave me an extra time to shoot more pictures.

With the company of Tiny we also walked around the marsh for a shooting session, it was fun to do while we conversed about many subjects. Quality time with a good friend!


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The next series of pictures were shot before I met Tiny. I don’t know which of the ospreys is this one. I shot the photos from distance, I thought the nest was already abandoned.

“The Mayor” of the salt marsh greeted us graciously too!

Great Blue Heron " The Mayor"

Great Blue Heron ” The Mayor”


© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

Loggerhead Shrike

While I was in Florida on vacation, I was fortunate to spot an interesting bird, a # 207 on my list of lifers! Here is some information about this bird:

The Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) is a passerine bird. It is the only member of the shrike family endemic to North America; the related northern shrike (L. excubitor) occurs north of its range but also in the Palearctic. E-0448

It is nicknamed the butcherbird after its carnivorous tendencies, as it consumes prey such as amphibians, insects, lizards, small mammals and small birds. Due to its small size and weak talons, this predatory bird relies on impaling its prey upon thorns or barbed wire for facilitated consumption.

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Laniidae
Genus: Lanius
Species: L. ludovicianus

Binomial name

Lanius ludovicianus

Linnaeus, 1766

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