Blue Run Park borders the beautiful, crystal clear Rainbow River just down the road in Dunnellon. Melanie Vittiow lead the OTOW birding club along the trails. The day started out clear and brisk but it quickly warmed up as we made our way around the Pond Trail, the Sandhill Loop Trail and back along the Blue Run Trail.
There were several Wood Ducks on the large murky pond. They were pretty far out, but I was able to get a couple of decent pictures. After this optimistic start our sightings quickly went downhill.
I was desperate and even took a picture of a Turkey Vulture. How can a bird that is so ugly look so beautiful in the air?
We were towards the end of the Blue Run Trail when we spotted a bush with activity. Starved for a sighting, we gingerly stepped a couple of feet onto private camping property despite the warnings that "Police will Notice" signs. There were several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers that flit around so quickly, it's almost impossible to get a decent picture. This one is good enough for identification.
Another picture that's good enough for identification - and nothing else. This is a Black and White Warbler - one of my favorite little birds. He was socializing with the Gnatcatchers.
This bird was overhead as we headed back to the parking lot. I am not sure what it is but suspect it's a first-winter Yellow-rumped Warbler.
Another unidentified bird. I think it's a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Where's Norm when I need him?
The sighting of the day was a pair of magnificent Piliated Woodpeckers. We had to go into the thick brush to get a good view - and got covered with prickly tags - but it was worth it!
One of our eagle-eyed spotters pointed out this small tree frog. Cute.
After our hike we headed to Gruffs (with a "G" not a "C") for lunch. This is a great group and Bill and I really enjoyed ourselves! Next month is the annual Christmas Bird Count.