I awoke this morning to a steady snow falling, and we now have about two inches on the ground. I don't really mind, I think it's beautiful and know that it will be gone in a day, but it does make posting about our Florida trip that much more pleasant.
We saw lots of birds at Blue Spring State Park. The problem, as usual, is that they generally saw us first and so took to the air before we could get a good look. But we did have some special moments, like the Purple gallinule from the last post, and this one, a bald eagle atop a ratty looking pine directly across from the boat launch.
About fifteen minutes into the paddle we heard a Pileated woodpecker hammering in the woods to our right. We sat still until she showed herself.
Lisa pointed out several heron nests in a small rookery near the bank of the river. These large, lanky birds seem so out of place high up in a tree.
This heron plied the shallows, looking for lunch.
Once down the Smith canal the birding became a bit more difficult. The narrow, overgrown canal provided great camouflage for the birds. But while Lisa and Lori struggled somewhere behind me to find a place for a potty break, I watched this Eastern wood pewee until it came out and perched in the sun.
And this Anhinga waited just long enough for me to get a few shots before flying away in protest. I had no idea their tails were so long.
We heard many noises in the woods along the canal, and we hoped for a bear or a bobcat. What we got, eventually, was this turkey, a big tom who was working his way along the high bank of the canal.
Once back out on the river, we didn't see a whole lot. Boat traffic had picked up and it was early afternoon. But I did see this Black vulture preening in a tree near the river. I had never gotten such a good look at one before--we only have Turkey vultures at home. I think this bird is quite handsome.
As we neared the boat launch I was struck by this vulture, preening on the branch of a long dead tree with the moon coming up behind it. All I needed was a little mist instead of that bright blue sky, and it would be the perfect vulture picture!