Second Honeymoon

(This is a continuation of our last article, Honeymoon.)

 

Same day, same place, same sense of wonder at the diversity of birds!

I used too many words in the first part of this post so let’s just look at some pictures.

 

Just off the beach we found a freshwater pond containing a few Common Gallinules and four Black-crowned Night Herons.

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

 

The Herring Gull is one of the largest gulls we see in our area and typically only in the winter.

Herring Gull

Herring Gull

 

American Oystercatchers breed along our Gulf Coast although they are not numerous. They have large flat bills which they use to pry open mollusks. Equal opportunity feeders, they won’t pass up much of anything that looks like food.

American Oystercatcher

American Oystercatcher

 

An immature Bald Eagle cruised just off the beach searching for a seafood breakfast. They will readily take birds and mammals but seem to prefer fish. They are also notorious thieves, harassing other birds and stealing their food.

Bald Eagle (Immature)

Bald Eagle (Immature)

 

This Osprey has his Speckled Trout meal secured and is heading for a perch away from the Eagle’s prying eyes.

Osprey

Osprey

 

We were surprised on the mudflats adjacent to the beach by an uncommon winter White-crowned Sparrow. He posed for a few candid shots and disappeared into the mangroves.

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

 

While we were admiring the above sparrow, a Clapper Rail emerged from the dense reeds searching for crabs and shrimp. These birds are very secretive and are normally heard but not often seen. This is only the second one I’ve observed.

Clapper Rail

Clapper Rail

 

The path from the parking area to the beach yielded a Monarch Butterfly, a Sedge Wren and a House Wren.

Monarch  (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

Sedge Wren

Sedge Wren

 

House Wren

House Wren

 

We took a short hike along Osprey Trail, one of the few remaining virgin slash pine stands in south Florida. Guess what we found?

Osprey

Osprey

 

Also along Osprey Trail we encountered a living fossil, the Gopher Tortoise munching his morning salad.

Gopher Tortoise

Gopher Tortoise

 

Returning to the trailhead along a different route we remained under the watchful eyes of an American Kestrel.

American Kestrel

American Kestrel

 

 

It was a terrific day. We saw a lot of birds and wildlife and best of all I was able to recall many fond memories. The honeymoon continues …

 

We hope you enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!

 

 

Additional Information

Honeymoon Island State Park

Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail

 

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

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24 thoughts on “Second Honeymoon

  1. Hi Wally. Me again! I am getting caught up this evening although I am disappointed with this post because it does not contain your usual humor! No laughs today, well that’s not true because I read the next post. I suppose a girl cannot have it all ways. I love all your shot but congratulation on seeing and photographing the Rail. The Osprey, Bald Eagle and Kestrel are excellent shots. Thanks for sharing your wonderful photographs with us.

  2. We got over to the mainland there the end of last season, but too late for the ferry to the Island. It’s definitely on our must be visited list — and even more so after reading your posts here.

    • The good news is that all our birding was done within the main state park without having to take the ferry to Caladesi Island. Hope you’re able to make it!

  3. I enjoyed the second honeymoon Wally. Well, as much as I could, and for the benefit of your many readers who might misinterpret my comment, I wasn’t actually along there with you and Gini.

    Congrats on the Clapper Rail. I suppose our equivalent here is the “common” Water Rail, so common that no one ever sees one until the shallows freeze over and the rails are forced to feed on the edges of the reeds.

    Nice raptors with both the Osprey and the American Kestrel and I too would be disappointed if I found no Ospreys along Osprey Trail. What is it about that trail that appeals to Ospreys alone – the opportunity to sit there and be the target of so many oohs and aaahs and to be able to pose in the Floirda sunshine? I wish.

    Those Gopher Tortoise. Are they strictly veggie? Just checking if I need steel toe caps when I visit.

    Enjoy your birding days as I do my friend.

    • Thank you, Phil. The Ospreys love that trail because from their perch atop a tall pine tree they can see the Gulf of Mexico to one side and a protected shallow bay on the other. A lot of fish for the taking! Your toes should be safe although the tortoises will occasionally dine on insects and maybe a lizard. Happy you had a good trip to Lanzarote! I suspect you’re happy to be back home.

      Have a good weekend!

  4. Wally,
    I finally got by here and am kicking myself for taking so long. Your photos are beautiful. Not very often that one gets a great photo of a marsh hen!
    I’m a follower now!

  5. Beautiful series of photos.

  6. One of these days I must make it to your neck of the woods! You always have such a huge collection of FABULOUS photos. Me, I’m still seeing the same ol’, same ol’. Waiting very impatiently for April/May when the Indigos and Buntings arrive with the Tanagers, etc.

  7. Your superb set of images make me wish I was there, Wally. wouldn’t mind some of the warmth too!

    I’m missing your usual wealth of entertaining preamble, however.

    Best wishes to you both – – – Richard

    • Richard, I think I used more than my share of wealth on the first installment! We are in a cool spell right now so wait a day or two before booking your flight.

      All the best.

  8. A great series of photos! I envy the warmth down there…oh well…

  9. WOW Wally, the Osprey and the immature Bold eagle really caught my attention in this great post!
    But also the tortoise and the rail, what a wonderful day you must have had 🙂
    Keep well, I hope you are enjoying better weather than us!!

    • Good Morning, Noushka! Although it’s a beach location, there is a really wonderful diversity of fauna and flora to discover. Hope you have a great week.

  10. So many beautiful shots! I was there last weekend and saw that kestrel. He was at the end of the trail near the restrooms. I’ve never seen one on the trails there before.

  11. You got such gorgeous shots…Love the butterfly.

    • Hi, Charlie! Thank you for the nice words. That’s one of the nice things about our winters – we even get to see butterflies on the beach!

  12. so many birds i don’t get to see here! eagle, osprey, oystercatcher, rail, etc. etc. so cool!

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