Saturday, January 14, 2012

Smyrna Dunes

I had to drive up to a Jay Watch event north of Daytona Beach and decided to try for a couple of Life Birds on the way home. First on the list was a reported Purple Sandpiper at Smyrna Dunes. I had never been there, though I have been right near it many times in my years. I headed along the long boardwalk toward the beach and ended up taking a wrong turn and ended up on the beach on the wrong side. Dang.

Now I had a long walk through soft sands but my time was limited so I stayed on that course. Fortunately, it provided me with a nice surprise. The water roiled just off shore so I waited to see what might be causing it. The bird surfaced right in front of me. A Common Loon! Not all that common to me.

Common Loon

When I got to the jetty, it was crawling with people fishing. They nearly covered the entire structure! Even with all the activity, dozens of Ruddy Turnstones ran around the rocks in search of food.

Ruddy Turnstone

No sign of the Sandpiper. However, there was another bird that caught my attention.

Sanderlings are very common in Winter along the beaches but I had not been able to find a single one this year. This one was so concerned with feeding that it basically let me approach slowly and I got my favorite shot of the year, so far.


This bird has very worn feathers but is still a beautiful creature. Now off to find the other Life Bird I was after. The next post might be rather long. It has been awhile since I was at Merritt Island.

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