Saturday, March 17, 2012

"Birds" of all kinds - Cedar Key, FL

Wednesday, we packed up the bikes on the back of the truck and headed to "downtown" Cedar Key.  It's only about a 6 mile drive but we wanted to save our energy so that we could pedal for hours!  Good thing we did as we needed it!
The day was one of those perfect Spring days....blue skies, white puffy clouds, and a warm breeze.  And, as long as you kept moving, those pesky no-see-ums left you alone.  (Everyone in the campground looks like they have the measles because of the no-see-ums.) 

We were scoping out places to watch the sunset and think we have found one!
Waterfront access for sunset watching!

I looked for sand dollars but didn't see any!

Cedar Key is such a sleepy little town and we just pedaled and pedaled.  Quite a number of people use bikes or golf carts as their mode of transportation.

We headed over to the airport but first pedaled over to a residential neighborhood close to the runway.
We found this waterfront lot for sale....

This would make an awesome RV site!  
And we figured that it was an good omen when we saw the realty sign....

Some of us call ourselves "pelicans" because we are kind of lolly-gagging around and not too graceful!  It's not a negative thing, though!  Just funny!  We found this sign on the street (yep - the one street of the residential neighborhood we were checking out) and thought it was funny as there really aren't too many kids nearby that we could see!  But, since I feel we are big kids, it was time for a picture!


The Cedar Key airport is really a cool place to visit but the word "airport" may be a bit of a stretch. 
Pretty cool landing! Our "first" bird of the day!
We talked to this pilot (a female!) for a bit.  There are quite a few pilots that are trying to prove the value of the airport to the town of Cedar Key.  It's in a bit of need for some repairs and apparantly the town does not want to put too much money in it.   Based on a survey that she is doing, pilots come from all over the world to land at Cedar Key (who knew??!) and they bring in an estimated $1.5m of revenue to this sleepy town.  That's a lot of dough!  She had also told us that if we ever get the chance to see a Black Hawk helicopter land, take advantage of it as the pilots love showing off if they have an audience. 

It was time for us to continue our pedal and we stopped a bit down the road to take a look at some osprey.
Wow - look at that beak!
And some more Osprey......

These two were guarding their nest!

Second sighting of birds today!  We pedaled back over the bridge and started going back to town but first I had to get a picture of a pelican!

Our third sighting of a bird!
As we pedaled, I heard a "thump thump thump thump"....could it be?  Yes, it was!  I hollered out to Dan.... "the helicopter is coming".  You would have thought we were pedaling for our lives.  Our little legs were pedaling as fast as they could to get back to the airport before the helicopter landed.  We made it just in the nick of time....


Not sure if this is a Black Hawk, an Apache or another kind of helicopter but it sure was neat!  We saw the pilot land once and then he zipped back around, did a loop and came in for a second landing.  The wind was picking up pretty swiftly and, as hard as he (or she!) tried, they could never get it to touch down the second time.  It was very cool to see, well worth the speedy pedal and this was our fourth sighting of a "bird".

Back to our pedaling, we stopped to take a few pictures of the structures along a canal and the water tower...


Our next stop was the Cedar Key Cemetery as I really really wanted to find the owls.  I looked at just about every tree top in the cemetery and was getting a bit frustrated that I wasn't having any luck.  I parked my bike and decided to walk into the woods that were between the cemetery and the sound.  Finally, I had my reward!


The nest was HUGE and, at first look, I saw one little owlet!  He was so cute.  I looked a bit harder...
and saw two babies!
Dan and I just stood there and watched and watched.  It was AMAZING!  We walked to the other side of the next and low and behold, saw this....

Great Horned Owl
and then this.....

Beautiful!
I was wondering why the babies seem to be at different stages. According to some information I found on the web, there are usually 2 eggs per clutch, with a clutch ranging in size from 1 to 5 eggs (5 is very rare). The incubation period ranges from 30 to 37 days, averaging 33 days. Brooding is almost continuous until the offspring are about 2 weeks old, after which it decreases.  I guess that's why there seems to be two different aged babies in the nest!!??!!

Too cute!
We were there about 45 minutes or so just watching them.  Another couple came up and they had binoculars and a scope.  They let us look thru the scope to get a better view of the parents and the babies.  It was such a cool sight to see.  This was the last of our "bird" sighting for the day and I couldn't have been more pleased with how it ended! 

Ain't life grand?!!!!

12 comments:

Sherry said...

Oh boy oh boy. I wonder if they will still be there in the middle of next week???? The owls that is. :-))

Nancy and Bill said...

I would say that was a perfect day. Cool birds and the Owls were so cute!! Hope you got to see the sunset at your specially selected spot!!

Keep having fun we are taking notes!!

Cathy said...

Glad you two are having so much fun! We miss you!

Gail and Rick (Gypsy Turtles) said...

That looks like a perfect day! I've read so many great blog posts about Cedar Key. It must be a great place to visit.

Gin and Syl said...

Too cool!! I know I would have gotten a crick in my neck watching the owls but I wouldn't want to leave.
Pelican Realty...meant to be.
Syl

Ceal said...

Your Cedar Key has a lot of beautiful scenery as compared to the Cedar Key near us. The owls are fascinating & look like they are looking right at you.
I don't know what kind of helicopter that was either & I've seen a lot just over our house.
Happy St. Patrick's Day & the Luck of the Irish to you & Dan.

Catherine, Jo Beth and Grace said...

Outstanding pics of the Osprey and the Owls. Looks like a great place to be for the month of March.

Karen and Al said...

What a great day you had. I really have to get back to Cedar Key!

Barbara said...

Can't wait to get down there and see that sunset with you!

Elaine said...

More amazing bird and nature pictures - who would have ever thought that Cedar Key would give you such awesome views and photos!

Dave and Maxine- Wandering Wingers said...

Looks like you two are having a great time in Cedar Key. Great pictures of the birds. Looking forward to some great sunset photos!

Brandon and Amanda said...

Very neat! Loved the pictures of the owls. Can't wait to see you guys in a few weeks!