Once the clapper rail had moved off into the mangroves we got back in the van and drove a bit farther along the Black Point Drive. We didn't get far before I saw a group of wading birds very near the road. Among them were a couple of glossy ibis, a bird I had some very poor photos of from a previous Florida trip. They were moving fairly quickly so I didn't get very many images, but they are WAY better than what I had.
|Glossy ibis pair feeding near shore. Pretty bird with iridescent feathers--I see purple, red and green.|
|This one caught a fish. You can see the reflection of roseate spoonbills to the right.|
There was a group of roseate spoonbills preening in the shallows. I took what may well be the best spoonbill images I ever will when we were in Florida last year, so I didn't spend a whole lot of time with them. That's the downside of only having one day in the park--you've got to keep moving to make sure you get all the way through. It was fun though watching the group doing their morning calisthenics.
|The always odd yet gorgeous roseate spoonbill.|
Suddenly there was a crowd!
|Spoonbills with white and glossy ibis.|
Then Bob pointed out a group of greater yellowlegs a bit farther along the road. I had just gotten the camera on them when they took off. Dang!
Shortly after this we arrived at the half-way point of the drive, and the bathrooms. We stopped to use the facilities, and parted ways with Bob and Joyce of Crow Tours. We traded business cards and they gave us some good tips for other places to bird in central Florida. Who knows, maybe we'll hook up with them down the road.
At this point the road turns towards the east and into a slightly more elevated area, which changes the habitat dramatically. There's less water and more trees and grassland. This is where we usually see large numbers of coots, and farther along in the deeper ditches one is nearly guaranteed to find alligators. This day was no exception, but I'm not a big gator fan, so I stopped for my mom to take a look then drove on. I wanted to get to the Visitor Center to look for songbirds and have some lunch--I was hungry!!
Next: Buntings, sapsuckers and a surprise appearance at the Visitor Center.