Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Morning at Green Cay

It seems like we've been traveling so much lately that we've hardly had time to do any birding locally. A few weeks ago we decided to change that and spent a long morning on the boardwalk at Green Cay. Now, I love Green Cay, and it's certainly the most reliable location for wading birds within a half hour's drive, but we always have to face the fact that lots of non-birders also visit, and their interests are often at odds with ours.

Little Blue Heron

Occasionally, birds fly up and perch on the railing, giving everyone with a camera a golden opportunity for photos. But the boardwalk is dominated by speed walking senior citizens throughout the morning, and they stop for nothing. On this particular morning, a Wood Stork landed just a few feet away from us. As a group of walkers approached from around a bend, Maureen snapped away, mindful that it was only a matter of seconds before they came near enough to flush it. 

A little farther along, a Roseate Spoonbill prompted one of the most surreal conversations I've ever had.

Woman: Oh, look - a Flamingo!
Me: It's a Spoonbill.
Women (to me): Oh, it's a Spoonbill, not a Flamingo. I don't know why I believed you!

That's right - she attributed the words that came out of her mouth to me, and actually seemed annoyed. I didn't know what to say to that (and still don't), so I just gave her a nonplused look for several seconds and walked away, scratching my head.

Roseate Spoonbill -- NOT a Flamingo
It seems that most of the passing migrants have already made their way through, and more and more we're only seeing those warblers that we can reliably expect to see throughout the winter in South Florida. Among these was this Common Yellowthroat, but the Palms and Yellow-rumped (or is it Myrtle) Warblers were also out in big numbers.

Plenty of ducks were on the water, with a little more variety than just the Mottled Ducks, now that the Blue-winged Teal are back. We couldn't find any Green-winged Teal, although we'd seen them reported, but then, we've never never seen more than a few at a time at Green Cay, even when we have come across them.

As we approached the end of the boardwalk loop, we found a Sora that had ventured out of its hiding place in the reeds. Not long after discovering him, he disappeared back out of sight. It's nice to see the Soras every once and a while to reassure us that they're still around, even if we can't find them most of the time.

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