Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Winter Reprieve

My husband and I just returned home from a beautiful sunny break in Naples, Florida.  Many "snowbirds" were complaining about how cold it was there while we were down there, but having just left 4 feet of snow, we were not among them.

Besides being blessed with blue sky and sunshine, there was wildlife practically everywhere I turned (in spite of all the development).

Our home away from home the first half of the break

I saw a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron (a life bird!) before I even made it down to the beach from our building!

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

On the beach, there were a few people walking, and there were plenty of birds!  They seem much more used to people there, and it was easier to get close to them.  I tried to get to the beach as close to sunrise as possible, and some of the birds were still sleepy.

Sanderling


White Ibises were busy foraging for food already. 




I came upon two Osprey nests along the beach, too.


It seemed every few steps I took, another beautiful bird species would catch my attention.  Not quite like winter in Massachusetts where I see the same species repeatedly for months with very limited variety.

Willet

Brown Pelican

The first morning I walked on the beach, a woman was walking a ways in front of me and occasionally she was picking things up and throwing them in the water.  Eventually, I caught up with her and discovered she was attempting to save seahorses which had been stranded on the sand and were being gobbled up by gulls.


Ring-Billed Gull w/ seahorse

Juvenile Brown Pelicans

Adult Brown Pelican closeup

At one point on the beach, a channel separated my section from the next.  I didn't want to wade across it, but there were hundreds of terns on the other side that were very enticing!  I was able to positively identify Royal Terns and Black Skimmers among them.

Black Skimmer

Royal Terns

Laughing Gull
(1st winter)


I was surprised to find quite a few Northern Cardinals around the buildings in the neighborhood where we were staying.  These are the smart cardinals, compared to the ones at home dealing with all the snow!

Northern Cardinal

Palm Warblers provided another surprise in the neighborhood.  They were nearly as common as House Sparrows are at home.  I only see warblers at home during spring or fall migration.  It was fun to see some in the winter!

Palm Warbler


3 comments:

  1. Glad you had a nice trip and thanks for sharing some of the south. Is it just me or is the bill of that cardinal huge?

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  2. I hadn't noticed it, but now that I've looked at it again, it does seem big!

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  3. Lovely. I can't wait to be there!

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