Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our Fine Feathered Friends

These Wood Storks, Mycteria americana, have all lined up for their picture. They are actually year-round occupants of most of Florida, and both the eastern and western coasts of northern Mexico. Although we have seen an occasional one along our resaca, never have we seen this many. I guess Hurricane Dolly blew them up to us. They are lining the banks (along with numerous white egrets - Cattle, Great, and Snowy), all looking for a meal. You may wonder why they merit inclusion in a gardening blog - simply, because they happen to be standing on my lawn. In a day or two, the waters will probably recede back into their banks. When we widened this resaca, we dug a bank that goes straight down instead of a gradual "beach"-style bank. This was a mistake - wading birds like a gradual "beach" to fish in - so the number we usually see is limited. Secondly, the waves (albiet, small ones) are eroding down-wind bank as they lap upon the shore. If we ever work on the resaca again, this will either have a beach landing or a sea wall. (Wouldn't a board walk and deck be lovely?)

Some other birds we rarely see here are seagulls. After checking out National Geographic's Field Guide to the Birds of North America, I think he's a Laughing Gull, Larus atricilla. This one is trying to gulp his fish down on the fly. (and I think eating a fast-food burger in the car is hard!). As I was shooting this picture, he dropped the fish. I would swear I heard another bird snap it up in his jaws! It sounded much like purple martins chomping on bugs at dusk - only louder.


Anonymous said...

I love that first photo! What a fantastic shot!

Meems said...

Oh, Mary Beth, I love the wood storks. We have some that hang out in the waters behind my neighbor's yards. It's so fun to watch them fly over in groups too. They are amazing birds. Of course, I LOVE birds so feel free to include them anytime.

Glad all is well after Dolly.
meems @Hoe&Shovel

Anonymous said...

How neat to see so many of these birds. I have never seen a wood stork even though we are so close to the Gulf & Florida. Enjoy them while they stay.

Always Growing