Wednesday, February 15, 2017

New Smyrna Beach

     We spent time each day on the beach and morning strolls were my favorite as they allowed me to dip my feet in the ocean and the day was not too warm yet. New Smyrna Beach is where we stayed and its on the Atlantic Coast, just smidge North and East of Orlando.
     I liked mornings best because there were always birds to be seen on the beach and they were not shy and skittish like they are in New York:
Do they call them sandwich terns because they hang out, sandwiched between the royal terns?
Sandwich terns are easily distinguished by their yellow-tipped black bills, and medium size.
Sandwich terns are birds of the Southeast, so another life bird and one that I would rarely ever see in New York.
While the royals are not a first for me, I enjoyed having so many in one place, and they practically stand around and barely shift aside if someone walks by.

2017's bird of the year- the Ruddy Turnstone!
This one is making sure to look spiffy- preening its feathers as it accesses the gland that allows they to oil up, waterproof, and clean their feathers.

Sanderlings and ruddy turnstone were constantly working the shorelines-- except this guy. He looks like he earned his nap.
Snowy egrets worked the waves every 50 yards or so from one another.
They look great running through the waves, catching small fish with style.
Even the willet- a normally loud, seemingly terrified of everything that moves, kind of bird, barely moved as I shuffled down the beach.

I found one osprey Hunting along the shoreline and was so stoked to find another, with its prize, feasting! Gulls gathered below to quickly run below and grab anything that fell from the post.
Osprey are another bird with pigeon frequency in the neighborhood. They are everywhere. I was so stoked to be able to sit on the sidelines and watch this guy feast on this fat, delicious fish.
A walk homeward was made even more special, when you get to do so among dolphins. I walked back to where we were staying, while 5 or 6 dolphins swam the same route that I walked. What a privilege!
Brown pelicans were a frequent sight, soaring gracefully over the surf.
This dolphin was my favorite with its unique dorsal fin. I wonder if it was born like that or what caused it otherwise to take on such shape.

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