I love my off-Fridays! Last weekend I went to Orlando Wetlands Park for my last visit of the year. The park closes between mid-November and February. It was really quiet that morning. I was the only one on the trail for sunrise and a good hour afterward.
The sunrise is always beautiful at Orlando Wetlands. The trees and palms make a beautiful silhouette against the morning sky.
The reeds were alive with little birds in the early light. Savannah Sparrows are back in Florida! I was surprised to not see some Swamp Sparrows mixed in. Palm Warblers flipped their tails repeatedly as they hopped from branch to branch. An occasional Common Yellowthroat showed himself briefly, then hopped back under the cover of vegetation.
I sat down on the side of the trail to photograph the Snowy Egrets fishing in the marsh waters. It was with great surprise that I looked up and saw a Peregrine Falcon fly out from one of the trees. I managed to focus and get three quick shots as the bird flew away.
Waaaaaay across the marsh, a pair of Bald Eagles sat together on a branch. I silently begged them to do a courtship ritual, but they didn’t oblige. :-p
Dozens of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks flew back and forth across the marsh all morning. I spent a good hour sitting on the bank, watching and photographing them as they fussed and fed. They seem to gang up on each other, whistling in chorus and poking their beaks at one poor bird until that bird flew off. I managed to snap the shutter as one such spat took place…
Find my birding list from today on eBird.