(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.
The Herring Gull is one of the largest gulls we see in our area and typically only in the winter.
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.
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.
This Osprey has his Speckled Trout meal secured and is heading for a perch away from the Eagle’s prying eyes.
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.
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.
The path from the parking area to the beach yielded a Monarch Butterfly, a Sedge Wren and a 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?
Also along Osprey Trail we encountered a living fossil, the Gopher Tortoise munching his morning salad.
Returning to the trailhead along a different route we remained under the watchful eyes of an 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!