Beyond the BackyardOrlando Wetlands Park

Birdy Morning at the Orlando Mudflats

It was my last morning of my Christmas vacation. The first sunny day in a week. I went to the Orlando Wetlands hoping for Roseate Spoonbills and a sunrise like this…

Orlando Wetlands at Dawn – Taken in 2012

But sadly, I encountered a very different sight – a mud flat! I didn’t realize that they are de-mucking one of the best cells in the wetlands as part of a wetlands renovation project. It’s valuable work that isn’t particularly photogenic…

Sunrise at the Orlando Mudflats!

There was a bright side, though. It was very easy to see the Wilson’s Snipe that were hanging out in the mudflats. Usually these timid birds are harder to find and photograph out in the open.

Wilson's Snipe
Wilson’s Snipe on Mud Flat

This Glossy Ibis certainly showed off his colors in the bright morning sun.

Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis on Mud Flat

My target bird of the morning was Roseate Spoonbill in flight. But most of the good birdy activity was on the side of the path looking straight into the sun. So I ended up walking some paths that I’ve never explored and enjoying the little birds who surprised me, like this Savannah Sparrow who perched so nicely out in the open.

Savannah Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow

I found a Great-crested Flycatcher who lurked in the depths of a distant tree and refused to be photographed. Then this Gray Catbird hopped out and said “meow!”

Gray Catbird
Gray Catbird

When I least expected it, a pair of Roseate Spoonbills flew in and landed in a tree. They are so pretty at this time of year in their bright pink and orange breeding colors. I stood watching them for a long time, hoping they would fly closer. They didn’t. But at least I got to see them!

Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

I think I took the most pictures after I got back to my car to leave. There was a flock of American Goldfinches feeding in the tree above my car. I love their cheerful happy calls that sound like “Potato chip! Potato chip!” I love watching them hang upside down at my bird feeder, and it was fun to watch the same behaviors out in the wild.

American Goldfinch
Upside-down American Goldfinch