The OTOW Unique Birding Club gathered bright and early at the Health and Recreation building for the hour plus long caravan to Emeralda Marsh and Wood Duck Drive.
We stopped several times along the drive - but since it was a narrow one-way road, we couldn't always stay as long as we liked because some less relaxed drivers wanted to get moving. They must not have been retired. This is a Limpkin and he was keeping company with a couple of White Ibis.
I still can't resist taking pictures of every Great Blue Heron I see. They are so beautiful.
An Eastern Water Snake decided to cross the path at the same time we were walking. I don't know who was more startled - the snake or the birder who almost stepped on him!
It will take about a year for this immature White Ibis to turn white.
Many of the herons and ibises were starting to get their breeding feathers. This Great Egret was pruning his new feathers.
An especially pretty Glossy Ibis - look at the colors!
Even the adult Pied-billed Grebe look like babies. They are so cute.
An Eastern Phoebe in a tree near the observation tower.
I was so busy looking at the Phoebe that I almost missed a Great-crested Flycatcher sitting in the same tree. This picture was taken earlier but I am including it here again because it is a much better shot than the one I took yesterday.
There were just a few Tree Swallows flying overhead.
This was the prettiest stop along the road - and we were able to pull off to let people pass. There were lots and lots of Coots and Common Moorhens swimming around, as well as herons, ibises and egrets.
Off in the distance, one of the more experienced birders spotted these Ring-necked Ducks. The rings on their necks are purplish - and not anywhere as easily seen as the ring around their bills.
They have very distinctive coloring and are easily identified.
Look at the nice long tail on this Boat-tailed Grackle.
Another Glossy Ibis showing the first signs of his mating colors.
I wish I could have gotten a picture of the Common Snipe in the scope - he was great! Other birds we spotted included: House Wren, Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Tri-colored Heron, Sandhill Crane, Cattle Egret, Bald Eagle, Snowy Egret, Vultures, Sparrows - and more!
After a full morning, we gathered at the Main Street Diner in Leesburg for a delicious lunch and fellowship. Bill and I had to depart promptly after eating for the long drive down to Fort Myers where we are visiting with good friends Wendy and Larry.