Spent the day today with an old friend showing me around the island. It was a beautiful, hot sunny day--perfect Florida! I had not been there for a very long time, and even then only very briefly. The best part was driving out to the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and making a couple circles on their one-way road through the park. There were slightly different birds each time. As I did out west, I am tryiing to learn the names of everything I see. There were quite a few herons on this sandbar, white and great blue.
There are a lot of birdwatchers here. Some birdwatchers watch and birds, and some birds watch the birdwatchers.
Here are some roseate spoonbills hiding under some mangroves. Aren't they gorgeous? Would match the towels in my bathroom nicely!
And some white ibis probing the mud.
These next two took some research. I knew the first one was an adult yellow-crowned night heron, but it took some help from one of the bird experts in the visitor center to identify the second as a juvenile yellow-crowned night heron. It was made harder by the fact that the photos were washed out because of the angle of the sun.
And finally, an anhinga drying his wings after diving for fish. He can't fly again until his wings are completely dry, so he hangs them out in the sun.
It was a fun day of watching birds. We continues driving through Captiva Island, turned around, and finally headed back home. Here is a photo of the road along the island and of a wildflower I saw. At first I thought it was a black-eyed susan, but those grow to 3' tall, and this one was only about a foot tall. Turned out to be an East Coast dune sunflower! Now I will know what it is when I see it again.