We took a trip up to Ocala, a delightful town NW of Orlando in Central Florida. It can be referred to as the Horse Capital of the World as it is home to some of the finest stud farms and equine training centres anywhere on the Planet. My very good friend Capt. Mike Trickel lives there with his wife Cathy. They have a beautiful 10 acre spread where Mike drives his horses in teams drawing superb carriages, but more of this later.
Cathy has placed a number of bluebird boxes around the estate and these delightfully colourful birds are a fine sight to behold. The top photo shows the lovely blue and orange plumage of an Eastern Bluebird just glowing in the early morning sunshine. The other bluebird is perched on a batbox roof. Mike has placed this on a tall flagpole in the garden and it was fun watching almost two hundred bats pouring out of their home at dusk. A very effective way of controlling mosquito numbers, apart from the fun watching them while enjoying an aperitif from the veranda.
We saw so many birds around Mike´s farm that I would just love to have spent more time with the camera trying to capture all the different species, but we had so much else to do and so little time to do it in. I regret missing out on a chance to photograph the statuesque Sandhill Cranes that were wandering around in the pastures but I did not have a camera to hand.
These highly colourful songbirds are generally very welcome visitors to garden feeders and she hoped to see more of them in the future.
Finally, a couple of less conspicuous but nonetheless attractive little birds in the garden were the Palm Warbler (I think) and a member of the flycatcher family called the Eastern Phoebe. I am not certain about the warbler, it is just the the closest match I could find in Sibley´s Birds. Any help with this ID would be appreciated.