Saturday, November 29, 2014

New Life Bird and a New Park

I had another brief window to run back to the coast to check for the Great Cormorant before we headed back home to Orlando. I got up a bit earlier so I could be at the spot at sunrise. I started my search across from the boat ramp and watched a as Willet, a couple Black-bellied Plovers and a few Least Sandpipers (below) began breakfast just after dawn.

Least Sandpiper

I scanned the boat ramp from the other side of Bunches Pass and checked all of the pilings I could see but nothing was sitting in the open at the moment. Just as I was about to get back in the car a bird rose from the water and began flying toward the bridge. It was the Great Cormorant, no question. It slowed its course and swooped up to rest on a channel marker. Farther away than I would have liked but I at least got some kind of photo.

I thought I could head over to the boat ramp for a closer look but by the time I got up on the bridge it had flown off.

Great Cormorant

Nothing else held my interest so I headed to a new park I was finding out about nearby. Boyd Hill Preserve. Interesting place but I didn't have much time. I started on the Swamp Trail and soon found a Pied-billed Grebe just off shore.

Pied-billed Grebe

The next trail led to a small island with a great view of downtown St. Petersburg. In one spot, a metal statue of a heron gleams in the water.


Across the lake I could make out a large raft of American Coots. Soon I noticed something else. A boater decided it would be a great idea to speed straight through the flock to get to his fishing spot. Jerk.


There are many trails in the park and the path overlap one another going from several different habitats. Some day I will have to spend hours going through them all. This morning I had the place virtually to myself


I decided it was time to head back and found a small field that was swarming with Palm Warblers. Both sub-species were here feeding on the small insects flying about the grasses. Usually Florida gets mostly Western Palms so it was nice to also see the Eastern variety in full sunlight.

Palm Warbler

I was wondering why I didn't see any sparrows here. A perfect spot for them. On queue, a Chipping Sparrow flew up from the ground and landed right in front of me.

Chipping Sparrow

I found another metal sculpture near the small pond in the center of the park. A giant Armadillo!


Another feeding flock was trying to get me to stay but I had to go. One more shot, though. A Northern Mockingbird kept a close watch on me as I advanced toward the exit and the car.

Northern Mockingbird

One Life Bird added to the list as well as a new park. Not a bad couple of hours of wandering.

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