View #1 on Tamiami trail
View #2 on Tamiami trail
I actually had extra energy when I arrived this afternoon, so I headed out to bird Tigertail Beach on the north end of Marco Island (where I am staying). There is actually a somewhat healthy population of Burrowing owls on this island. They apparently nest in vacate lots which the community eventually fights to develop. It is, as always, an ongoing battle. I did find 2 of the owls (#238) on my ride to the beach. They were standing 15 feet from the sidewalk as people walked by with dogs. These are the tamest Burrowing owls I have ever seen. I snapped a record pic of one of the rather lethargic looking owls.
***Click for bigger images***
Sleepy Burrowing owl
Tigertail Beach is a long sand spit that attracts lots of shorebirds at this time of year. My main motivation for trekking down the beach was to find Snowy and Wilson's plover. These two species checked into the year's list at #238 and #239, respectively. I was able to manage some decent shots of these birds. I also observed Least and Western Sandpipers, Red Knots, Short-billed dowitchers, Willets, Sanderlings, Black-bellied plovers, Semipalmated plovers, Piping plovers, and Dunlin. I just missed Killdeer for the plover-slam! Caspian tern was a welcome surprise, and a Reddish egret also made an appearance for year bird #241.
The well-camoflauged Snowy plover
Wilson's plover stretch - Best shot from today!
Wilson's plover with habitat
Tomorrow I will head to Sanibel Island and JN "Ding" Darling NWR. This ride will be about 63 miles. I am now going to get some much needed sleep!