Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snipe Hunting at the Dump

 Bill, Beth and I went to the dump. Not just any dump but the Citrus County Solid Waste Management Landfill. They have a road around the operation where people can drive and see the various birds that frequent the dump as well as the large machinery moving the trash around. They call it the Eagle Loop as so many Eagles are in the area.

Thousands of birds circled overhead - mostly seagulls - but we saw 8 to 10 Eagles circling, landing and fighting to be king of the heap.

You can stop your car anywhere along the road but you have to stay out of the path of the large tractors and trucks. We had bright orange vests to wear if we got out of our car. We pulled up next to this Killdeer. You can see what long legs he has! I've seen many more Killdeer this year than usual.

Overhead, looking down into one of the retention ponds, we spotted this pair of Hooded Mergansers. As they were swimming away something else caught my eye.

There was a Wilson's Snipe on the bank. He was far away so my pictures aren't great. Beth was excited as this was a Life Bird for her.

A Life Bird is one you've never seen before and many birders keep an ever-growing "Life List."

Beth added this to her list - then returned home to Kure Beach where 4 more of the elusive birds waited for her! I think we taught her what to look for.

As we drove around, the pair of Headed Mergansers swam back.

Bald Eagles are such beautiful majestic birds - it's hard to see them picking in the trash. This bird is over 4 years old - the time it takes for full adult plumage.

Another Bald Eagle - a first year juvenile. Now that's a big baby!

And another. I assumed this bird with so much white was younger, but my book tells me it's actually a 2nd year juvenile. I didn't see a 3rd year - but it would have looked more like an adult with an almost all-white head and tail and dark-brown body.

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