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15 October 2007

Bottoms Bonanza

I made a quick run down to Bottoms Road this morning... well, it was supposed to be quick... On the way out, as I was approaching one of the favourite (visible) low tide hangouts, there was an explosion of white as all the gulls took flight. This usually means a predator is nearby. Aha! There he is! A beautiful Bald Eagle! I lost track of him, so went a bit further up and turned around for another look. He was nowhere to be found.

Oh, well, as long as I'm going this way, I'll just go on back down the road again and see if anything else ineresting turns up. About halfway down, I spotted several vultures circling over the marsh. Might as well try for some in-flight shots while they're lower than usual.

A quick review showed one that looked a bit different. I chalked it up to lighting until I turned off the camera and picked up the bins. No wonder he looked different! It was a young eagle!

Eventually, the adult came back... then another adult!

I grabbed the camera and tried to talk the eagles into slowing down. (What, you don't talk to your subjects?) No dice. Those things are FAST!

And then there was another juvie!

They all landed further out in the marsh where I could no longer see them. Several vultures lit down out there, as well, so there must have been a sandbar buffet. After a few more ups and downs, I decided I wasn't going to get any better pics today, so might as well pack it in.

Moving along very slowly so the people behind me would go around, I glanced out across the reeds once again. DAWG! There goes the spoonbill with three of his brothers! Wait! Here comes another one! I watched until they all landed... yep, out of sight and totally inaccessible. Once I got to the highway, I thought maybe I'd go on down to Mashes Sand. Then it hit me. The Panacea welcome center is on stilts and sits at the edge of the marsh. Maybe I could see the eagles or spoonbills from there. Nope, those clever birds were all hiding in the sheltered between area. The only interesting thing there was a chickadee who fussed at me until I went inside and left him to enjoy the feeders. He was too quick for pics and I was getting too hungry to stalk him.

Bottoms Road is moving up on my list of favourite birding spots. And it's close enough to zip down there just about any time. I think some of the birds are starting to recognize my car.

Here are a few highlights from last evening.

Come back tomorrow night for a peek at the biggest bird ever seen in the north FL marsh.


Steve said...

That's fun. Birding is such a soulful pursuit.

And your avocet got me again!

Meems said...

i always learn so much from your posts. i am so new at this newfound hobby and these photo-op adventures, but i'm having the best time learning. your descriptions make me 'feel' the anticipation of the capture. love all your photos. btw, i just ordered the sibley guide book... thanks.

Peggy said...

Ok, I MUST know--where the heck is Bottoms Road?????

SophieMae said...

Steve, I just couldn't resist taking dozens of pictures of the Avocet. He's just so beautiful.

Meems,the fun never wears off. Hope you wear out your Sibley guide as quickly as we did ours. 8-]

Peggy, Bottoms Road is off 98, just north of Panacea. Turn left between the 45 and 35 MPH signs. I keep forgetting it's part of the SMNWR. There's a fairly popular boat ramp at the end of the road. I don't know if you could kayak there... maybe into Dickerson Bay. Once you get in there, you could probably maneuver into the birds' hiding places. If I get a chance to go down there agin tomorrow, I'll check some of the side roads in Panacea and see if there's another good ramp on the bay.