A Red-shouldered Hawk rested at the end of the boardwalk and allowed us to approach rather closely.
When we moved just a little nearer it launched into flight.
We had a fleeting look at a Great Crested Flycatcher.
During our brief walk we saw a Marsh Rabbit, but few birds.
Halloween Pennants were numerous, ...
... as were butterflies, including this male Julia heliconian.
We visited again the next week and found an Eastern Towhee. As a kid in New Jersey I called them "Red-eyed Towhees," not realizing that there was a white-eyed population in Florida. I should have paid more attention to the text in my first bird book, Chester A Reed's Land Birds East of the Rockies (Doubleday, Page & Company, 1923). Over 70 years ago I defaced my original copy by penciling "SAW" over the picture of each bird as I added it to my first "life list." I recently found a copy in good condition.
During the winter we see towhees with both eye colors, but this bird is breeding locally. Its eyes are actually yellowish, not pure white. He was singing from a treetop on his territory, just as described in my first bird guide
He was missing a few feathers from the back of his head.
An Anhinga flew over the boardwalk.
A lone female Mottled Duck paddled among the Spikerush. It is a bit odd to see one without a mate.
This is a view from the end of the boardwalk earlier this spring. Now this area is mostly under water.
During the wet season the high water disperses waders, so their numbers were low as expected. However the absence of some other waterbirds, notably coots, Common Gallinules and exotic Purple Swamphens was unusual. Further, we had not seen any Loggerhead Shrikes since returning from Illinois. A few can be seen all winter, and they normally increase in the spring.
On the way home, hoping for shrikes, we stopped at West Pines Soccer Park and Nature Preserve (quite a combination!). One of the two boardwalks was closed due to construction. There were no shrikes here either, but as usual at this time of year, over 50 Black Vultures had congregated at the edge of the wetlands.
An unusually pale Northern Mockingbird perched on the fence. Was it a young bird?