This is not a bird. But it is an American Bird Grasshopper.
I followed this one from a stalk to some grass blades to this sea grape leaf, snapping away.
I found it along this path through the dunes out to the beach. I parked at the sandy pullout known as Beachwalk Pasley on Hutchinson Island, in Stuart.
There were dune sunflowers along the path.
Its bright flowers attract a variety of pollinators, including butterflies, moths and bees. Its dense growth pattern provides cover for many small animals, while its seeds are eaten by birds.
Right in the middle of the path: a Northern Curlytail Lizard.
They are native to the Bahamas but were brought to Florida early in the last century to control insect pests.
We are lucky in Martin County to have a number of simple paths like this to unguarded beaches. Parking in the sandy lots is limited but free. It is one of the reasons we chose to live in this county rather than the more densely populated counties south of us.
It was a mellow beach day, not a lot going on. This Ring-billed Gull is dozing, fat and sleek facing into the southeast breeze.
Nearby, another gull keeps an eye on me.
When wind is from the east (or southeast), especially in winter, we can get Portuguese Man O’ War washed up on the beach.
We think of them as stinging jellyfish but they are actually a species of siphonore, a colony of animals related to the jellyfish. Some people call them Blue Bottles. Do NOT step on or near them!
I walked north towards Jensen Beach, a guarded beach. You can see in the distance where Martin County ends and St. Lucie County begins. Martin County has a four-story height limit on buildings.
I got a nice look at a Willet running in the surf. They are bigger and have longer legs than the other common sandpiper-type beach birds.