Hello, Mr. Wood Stork.

Now, usually when I refer to a “birdie weekend” it suggests a Saturday and Sunday of solid birding. However, this weekend, the term took on an entirely new meaning.  You see, Michelle and I spent this past weekend in the Florida Everglades with over a hundred members of the Wild Bird Feeding Industry for the organization’s annual meeting.  While we weren’t exactly out watching birds, we were certainly talking about them, non-stop, for three whole days – making it a very birdie weekend, indeed!

Michelle and I had a blast meeting new people and catching up with folks we’d already had the pleasure of knowing.  Once the meeting came to a close, knowing full well that we couldn’t possibly head home without birding, we took the few hours we had left, and headed straight to the nearest swamp!

On our way to the swamp, I catch my trusted driver, Michelle, with her eyes everywhere BUT the road.  Obviously, this isn’t a first.

Naturally, Michelle would rather watch the birds than the road!

I don’t know about you, but I have never been with a birder – in a car, on a walk, or at a restaurant – who isn’t constantly looking. Safe? Doubt it.  We just can’t help it! And, with roadside birds galore, how can you not look?  Out of nowhere, Michelle casually says, “Hello, Mr. Wood Stork.”

Mr. Wood Stork

Her cool and relaxed remark is followed by a fast and reckless U-turn that made me glad I was wearing my seatbelt. She managed to bring the car to an amazingly silent halt right beside the beautiful, endangered Wood Stork.

A Wood Stork searching for food in the Florida Everglades. The yellow bill and brown coloring down the neck and head indicate that it is a juvenile.

Mr. Wood Stork showing off his beautiful wings!

This was not the last of Michelle’s fancy driving. There were birds everywhere!

A Great Egret strolling along the highway...

I believe that this is a Juvenile Broad-winged Hawk. I am, admittedly, still a little shaky on my raptor identifications (especially those juveniles, who can vary quite a bit in appearance). If anyone disagrees with this ID, please share... I am always happy to learn something new!!!

Here is another photo! Doesn't this hawk make you want to soak up some Florida sun, too?

Here is one more photo of what I believe to be a Juvenile Broad-winged Hawk. There are two things that are throwing me off a bit: 1) The throat doesn't have nearly as much white as I would expect, and 2) The presence of the crescent shaped translucence on the edge of the wing (common in Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawks). Hmmmm.... Thoughts?

This happened no fewer than five times, before we realized that we needed to make it to the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Reserve quickly, or we would be left with very little time there.

Welcome to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

A White Ibis from afar

Love those baby blue eyes!

A Red-bellied Woodpecker

A Juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

A Downy Woodpecker

An Anhinga!

Check out these gorgeous wings!

The Pileated Woodpecker - what a sight!

The Great Crested Flycatcher

There were a few more we would have loved to spot, but I suppose we will have to wait until next time…

Until then, happy birding!


P.S. Fully aware of my slight anxiety when it comes to alligators, Michelle swore there weren’t any nearby.  Toward the end of our adventure, though, she thought it would be swell to point out the “little baby” two feet away from me… Not cool.

The "baby" alligator!

Then, with an huge, up-to-no-good smirk, she kindly pointed out he, who was partially responsible for creating the little munchkin above. Few things encourage me to accelerate my birding pace. This, apparently, is one of them! Even more so than the flight we were about to miss…

The "papa" Alligator

This entry was posted in Birding Adventures, Pacific Bird™ and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.