Serendipitous Sandhill Sighting

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This week’s photo, taken December 22, 2012 at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge near Central Florida’s Atlantic coast, features a ROSEATE SPOONBILL, the only bird in the western hemisphere with a spoon-shaped bill. 

Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas this week. We’re also not in Seattle. Instead, we travel to Titusville (near Cape Canaveral in Central Florida), for an annual visit with my brother and his family. Florida is jam-packed with birds. Here are a few highlights from our two self-guided tours, plus a mention of what leads to a serendipitous sighting.

Black Point Wildlife Drive (Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge):

TRI-COLORED HERON

WHITE IBIS

ROSEATE SPOONBILL

WOOD STORK

BLACK VULTURE

Blue Heron Water Reclamation & Wetland Area:

ANHINGA

GLOSSY IBIS

BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK

PALM WARBLER

After spending an hour at the Blue Heron Wetland, we drive through residential Titusville toward my brother’s house. About one mile from his home, all traffic suddenly comes to a halt. Ahead of us, a truck driver is backing up and turning a huge moving van, and the 18-wheeler is blocking the street in both directions. While we sit in our rental car and wait for vehicles to resume their forward motion, some motion outside my driver’s window and across the street gets my attention. Two SANDHILL CRANES are feeding on someone’s front lawn. Luckily, my camera is exactly where it should be – on my lap. So, from inside the car, I capture a few images of my only life bird of the trip, and just in time. A few seconds later, traffic starts flowing again.

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About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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