Either I’m becoming more observant, or new birds are suddenly in my field of vision. Today, simply walking Samson, we saw a few of these:
A Wood Stork is the only stork native to North America. They slowly stalk but quickly snap up fish, frogs and whatever else they can find in swamps, ponds and today, roadside ditches.
Birdwatchersdigest.com nominates them for “ugliest bird,” but I think that’s a bit harsh. The eating must have been good today, since this one hardly looked up when I paused to take his (and his friend’s) picture.
In between sessions at workshop yesterday, I was walking by a wall of windows and saw this guy staring at me through from the other side of the window, just foot away. I stood really still and he stood really still until I got a few nice pictures and he slowly wandered off.
He looked a bit different than the usual herons I’ve seen in the area. Today I went to allaboutbirds.org and used their handy identification guide. With just a few clicks indicating location, size and color, “Sand Hill Crane” popped up. Bingo! He (assuming this was a “he”) was probably wintering in Volusia County. His slow, graceful gait was mesmerizing. I wish I could have seen him fly. His wingspan would have been magnificent. I loved watching his backward-bending knees and the way his toes splayed out each time he took a step.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he was surprised to find a church and parking lot in the place that was remote and wooded the last time he was here. He may have been thinking the same thing about me. A year ago this church wasn’t here, either. Natural wetlands are succumbing to relentless development in this part of Florida.