exclusive valet birding
I hadn't been in Florida in fifteen years, since before I started birding, so the life birds started coming as soon as we left the airport. White Ibises are all over the place--roadsides, along the ubiquitous canals, parking lots... And I saw my first Anhinga ouside a restaurant where we stopped for lunch. (My Big Fat Greek Restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale. Very nice place. Try the keftedes.)
Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)
And Cattle Egrets are common roadside birds as well.
this one was at Green Cay, but trust me, they were all over the roadsides
Birding by the roadside is fun, but the best thing was Green Cay Wetlands.
This is a fantastic man-made wetlands park, run by Palm Beach County, with about a mile and a half of boardwalks that bring you right up close with normally-reclusive waterbirds.
This American Bittern wasn't a lifer, but what a view! It was not eight feet away from me, almost under the boardwalk. Funny thing--right after seeing it, I ran into Central Park birder Brian Padden, who was birding there with Big Year birding legend Sandy Komito. I had the pleasure of pointing them at the Bittern.
just off the parking lot
The birds at Green Cay start even before you reach the boardwalk. Along the path from the parking lot to the nature center building, we saw several warblers, Painted Buntings, and White-Winged Doves.
And then you get into the wetlands, and there's just a riot of birds. There are ducks:
I don't know how I missed seeing Blue-Winged Teals before, but I had.
in south Florida, Mottled Ducks replace Mallards as the common ducks
Common Gallinules live up to their name at Green Cay
juvenile Purple Gallinule. I didn't get a really good picture of an adult.
Grey-Headed Swamphen, an exotic South Florida speciality
Tricolored Heron. Well, I suppose you can claim any number of colors you like...
juvenile Little Blue Heron
adult Little Blue Heron
Glossy Ibises! Wood Storks! Limpkins!
Glossy Ibises, another introduced species quite at home in Florida
Wood Stork. It took HOW long to figure out these were dinosaurs?
this Limpkin was loudly asserting his territorial rights after a dispute
and Roseate Spoonbills. My god, the Spoonbills.
that spoon, that spoon, that Spoonbill...
And those are just my life birds! I'm not even close to done writing about Florida. More soon.