After another beautiful sunrise, we spent all morning bird-watching and enjoying the company of like-minded people from all over.
Just like yesterday, I was up at 6:00 and rode up to the visitors center for the sunrise.
Part of the sunrise experience is the sound of the birds. So turn your sound way up on this little video.
Another beautiful, golden morning.
On the way back to the campground on the Guy Bradley Trail, I spotted this Osprey with a good-sized Speckled Trout.
After making sure the fish was dead, the Osprey carried it over to the large nest I photographed yesterday.
I then made my morning stop at the Eco Pond. There were lots of photographers silently watching the feeding birds.
The Roseate Spoonbills were nice and close and the lighting got better by the minute.
They are in full breeding plumage right now.
In the above photo, you can see the orange tail-feathers which I had never noticed before.
Spoonbill preening with White Ibis feeding.
I took tons of pictures and it was hard to choose which ones to post.
Back at our fifth wheel, I was surprised to find Linda up and drinking her coffee. We decided to do the 8:30 a.m. bird walk. This time of year there is an 8:30 bird walk every morning.
This morning Christi was our ranger guide.
Because of the presence of the spoonbills at Eco Pond, Christi decided to do this morning's bird walk there. No one objected.
We met a couple from Atlanta, a couple from Indianapolis, a guy from the Netherlands, and a guy from Tennessee.
About a half hour after we arrived at Eco Pond and saw all the wading birds, all but the Wood Storks disappeared. We concentrated on smaller birds and raptors around the edge of the pond.
Oh, and we got a good look at this American Crocodile that hangs out on the back side of the pond.
South Florida is the only place in the U.S. where you can see native crocodiles in the wild and the only place where both American Alligators and American Crocodiles co-exist.
Crocs are more tolerant of saltwater, and they just look meaner than alligators.
As we were departing Eco Pond, we walked toward the campground. An Osprey flew right over us with a newly caught fish.
At the campground, we were checking out a palm tree near the first bathhouse in Loop A. Our Tennessee guy, Mark, was tent camping there and said there was a Pileated Woodpecker there.
At first we didn't see anything, but eventually a big woodpecker landed on the topless palm. Soon, it worked its way to a hole where its mate poked its head up.
That's the male in the hole and the female getting ready to make a "shift change". The male has a red "mustache" under the corners of its bill while the female has a black "mustache". The male also has a red forehead while the female has a black forehead.
With the Pileateds, we saw a total of 27 species in our two-hour walk. Not bad.
After Christi and all the others left, Linda & I sat at a picnic table with Mark and watched the woodpeckers.
We got to know Mark who lived in California and worked on the Alaska Pipeline for 25 years. Sadly, he lost his wife, Laura, to Hodgkin's Disease two years ago. She was a prominent veterinarian in her early 50s and passed away only a few months after diagnosis. Before she passed, they left California and bought property in Tennessee.
We invited Mark over for dinner and Linda made some spaghetti.
On the way over, Mark saw a guy season two nice big steaks and then he left them out while he made a quick trip to the bathhouse. In that short time, a vulture snagged one of the steaks. Oops. With the vultures and crows here, it's not a good idea to leave any food out or unattended for any period of time.
We talked into the night about all sorts of topics. In the middle, Kathleen, who we met yesterday, brought her husband John over. They asked us a few questions about places to stay on their way back north.
Christi, our bird walk guide, said "It takes special people to come all the way to Flamingo and spend some time". From the people we've met, I would have to wholeheartedly agree with her.
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