Monday, 23 March 2015

Curlews and Herons and Snipes, Oh My!

It was a gorgeous day on the island today. We sat by the pool and read and I knit. Later on we visited the Birding Center.

The first one we saw was at the water feature - a spotted sandpiper.
Walking down the boardwalk we noticed people looking at something in the water.
It was the papa gator who has come over from the more northern pond.
We were fortunate enough to see the Wilson's snipe again. It is very hard to spot amid the reeds.
The markings on its back are quite distinctive.

Here's a better view of its back and the little rusty tip of its tail.
Then we saw this swallow in the air. It landed right on the railing about 20 yards ahead of us. We believe it's a rough-winged swallow. Another life bird for me. He stayed there for quite a long time, probably resting after a busy afternoon of feeding.
We finally saw the baby gators today
with mama not too far away.

At the big pond, we saw this yellowlegs walking around.
We're not sure if it's a greater or lesser yellowlegs but the legs are definitely yellow.

Speaking of yellow legs, this moorhen is in that club, too.
This female grackle was lying in the sun with her feathers fluffed out and her mouth open.
Retracing our steps, we noted that three of the little gators were out of the water sunning on the edge of the pond.

Their sibling was snoozing in the water.
The curlew didn't disappoint us. It was putting on quite a show for us.
It was being quite successful getting morsels of food out of the ground.
This little crab must have been a tasty treat.
 Another profile shot.
A second curlew flew in noisily announcing its arrival. It and the other one made their way towards each other. Skip and I thought we might to get to see them mating but it appeared to be more of a territorial dance, as if the original one said 'there's plenty here for both of us'.

Then 8 redknots flew in. They were very far away and the light was not right but this is the best I could do of them.
Then I saw this yellow-crowned night heron in the mangrove. He walked right out in the open.
It looks like it has yellow legs, too. The stiff, white plumes from the back of its head are clearly seen.
The colours of the bills and feet of the black-bellied whistling ducks are so distinctive. Today we heard their 'whistling' as they flew overhead and landed on the railing.
Back in the parking lot, Skip saw some movement on the ground. On closer inspection they appeared to be ground squirrels.
They are very cute.
Back at the condo, Fred spotted this scissor-tailed flycatcher on the wire across the street.

It truly was a great day for birding on the island.

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