Thursday, January 17, 2013

Biscayne National Park, Part II

Click here for Part I.

Once the sun rose, my attention turned away from it and towards some of those it had awakened -- the birds of Biscayne.

Loggerhead Shrike
The first one to present itself was this little fellow, who despite my best efforts I've been unable to identify.  He didn't seem to have any particular plan for the day yet beyond warming up and enjoying the view.

The fans of the Audubon Florida Facebook page come through, specifically Crystal Conway who identified him as a Loggerhead Shrike.  Thanks, Crystal!

Turkey Vulture
The Turkey Vultures weren't too lively yet, either.  We saw a lot of them in Florida, often in large groups flying in lazy circles in the sky that made you nervous about what might be on the ground below them.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
We're entering the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron portion of this post.  I hope you'll indulge me like he did, never pausing in his morning hunting while I watched and snapped away.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
It didn't take him long to find what he was looking for -- a nice, tasty crab.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
It was fascinating to watch him, moving slowly through the shallow water, freezing in place when he spotted his prey until only his tail was twitching like a cat ...

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
... then he'd strike in a flash and with a splash, always coming up with another breakfast morsel.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
It was only a few minutes, but they were an unforgettable few minutes just watching nature happen.  Observing a struggle for survival that unfolds thousands of times per day, but is no less magical or mesmerizing just because it's common.  Being close enough to take in every detail without influencing how it unfolded.  And being reminded how there is unbelievable beauty in even the simplest elements of God's creation.

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