As I mentioned in my previous post, we included several visits to the beach during our one week in Florida earlier this month. I love these winter trips to Florida for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the sunshine. But the most fun for me is seeing the variety of birds at the beach.
The Boat-tailed Grackle is as much of a pest to folks at the beach as the gulls are. I include the following picture to try to show the rich color of the male of the species.
|Male Boat-tailed Grackle|
Great Blue Herons are not as commonly seen on the crowded beaches as the Grackles and Gulls, but the one pictured in the next two photos seemed quite comfortable among the many folks enjoying the Florida sunshine. It wasn't until I downloaded the pictures, though, that I realized this one was missing its right foot.
I thought a heron with one foot might be unusual enough that there might be some information about this one on the internet. I did find a story about a heron that was missing its right foot and was fed daily by a couple who lived nearby. They said they'd been feeding it for 11 years, and the story was 10 years old. So I think it's unlikely that the bird I saw is the same one. If you're interested, you can click here to read that story.
Among the shore birds that we saw on this particular day was one that I'd seen for the first time when we went to Florida two years ago, a Reddish Egret. This one was moving rapidly through the shallows, in search of some tasty tidbit, and didn't exactly pose for its picture.
Before leaving the beach that day, we checked another spot where we have seen some interesting shore birds in the past. The tide was in, though, limiting the shallow water in that spot and apparently keeping the birds from foraging for food there. But we did see a Tricolored Heron, sitting among the bushes, apparently waiting for better foraging conditions to return.
And here's one last shot of one of the spots we frequent on our beach days.
|Doug, sitting on a bench in the Florida sunshine|