Jan 082015

I am a big fan of surprises in birding. Usually the best surprises are seeing unexpected birds…rarities or out-of-season birds. Today involved a surprise of a different kind. In preparation for this month-long trip to Florida I did a bit of pre-trip investigation, looking up the birding hotspots and trying to get an idea of the species expected to be seen at those locations during this time of year. Today, while roaming around the neighborhood by bike here in Florida, I spotted a break in the mangroves with a Reddish Egret hunting in the shallow lagoon. Great. When I parked the bike, the surprises kept coming. A Roseate Spoonbill. Fly-by Wood Storks. More Roseate Spoonbills. A few Tri-colored Herons. I sat down on the bank with my camera, and then 20 or so White Ibis appeared from out of nowhere. Little Blue Herons approached almost too close to focus. From that one unnamed spot I had a total of nine species of waders within 50 yards (and usually much closer) behaving as if I wasn’t there, plus flyover Glossy Ibis, making it a 10-wader stop. All unexpected. I love surprises when birding.

Group photo

A sample of the group. Can you name the five species present here?


A Tricolored Heron in the mangroves. Natural lighting looking un-natural.

Reddish hunting

A Reddish Egret in its hunting pose. It chases its prey, often with wings raised, unlike more stationary hunters like Great Egret.

Little Blue Heron

A trusting Little Blue Heron investigating the strange photographer on the shoreline.

 Posted by at 5:45 PM