Many birds in one place, that’s Bird Island.
Great Blue Heron gets in Brown Pelican’s space.
So many birds to watch. Counting them is hard, but we did it on Friday – me with binoculars and camera, husband piloting a small center-console boat from our boat club. I called out species and numbers and he tallied them on a notepad where I had already written names of birds we were likely to see.
I submitted an eBird checklist next morning: LINK
Pelican chick and parent.
Counting nesting Wood Storks and Brown Pelicans is like counting stars in the sky.
Rock jetties built on either side of the north end of the island help keep it from eroding, I believe.
A couple of juvenile Magnificent Frigatebirds were over in the pelican section of the mangroves.
Nearby, adult male frigatebirds were roosting. A couple looked like they had crash-landed, but I suppose they were sunning.
Just around the bend we found the bird we were looking for: a Common Eider!
We had seen this bird the day before while boating with friends. I recognized it from when we lived in New Hampshire, where they were common along the coast.
Common Eiders are very Uncommon in Florida. eBird shows just a few sightings a year.
A colorful duck of the northern seacoasts, the Common Eider is the largest duck in the Northern Hemisphere.
This looks like a non-breeding male: ID photos.
What motivated this bird to visit Florida in March? Was it caught in a storm?
Coming back around the northwest corner of the island, the GBH was still there.
A new male frigatebird arrived on the scene.
The juveniles took off.
They flew around, seeming reluctant to land while the adult male was circling.
Soon there were three juveniles in the air.
Watching frigatebirds soar is like watching kites without strings, flying themselves.
As we rounded the southern end of the island, we saw the eider duck bobbing on the waters of the Indian River Lagoon.
Last time I blogged eiders was June 2016 in New Hampshire, when I photographed females and ducklings: Pop up ducks. And in March of 2016 when I watched a male Common Eider as well as a Common Loon and a Snowy Owl: Drive-by coastal birding.