Rebecca Smith and Gallus Quigley of Archeopteryx Birding and Nature Tours rose early to drive to Shiloh Marsh in Volusia County, part of Merritt Island NWR to assist Greg Miller of Wildside Tours in leading 15 participants out to see saltmarsh sparrows. It was a foggy and slightly chilly morning as we hiked into the marsh. We had a few “muck sucking” incidents along the way and only managed one Saltmarsh Sparrow but we did see 52 other species, including this Bonaparte’s Gull photographed below, there as well and Greg Miller passed on his great wisdom of birding to all present. Rebecca Smith got a LIFER and number 300 on here Florida list! Congratulations Beck!
We met up with Eli Shaperow at Port Orange Causeway Park (Seabird Island) so he could take us to his Clapper Rail spot but while there we added American Oystercatcher, Red Knot (a lifer for one participant) and White Morph Reddish Egret.
We continued on to Ponce Preserve and everyone got Clapper Rail which was a re-lifer for Rebecca Smith who use to work with them back before she started keeping a bird list. IT was also bird number 301 on her Florida List.
We then headed to lunch at Norwood’s Eatery and Treehouse Cafe which was delicious.
After lunch we made an attempt to find the Common Eider that had been reported but had no luck so we continued on to Fred Reden Park and the great gull watch. Over 20,000 gulls on the beach and Greg Miller talked in detail about gull ID as we scanned for the “rare one” in the mass of gulls. In end we ran into Michael Brothers who as always finds the good stuff an Iceland Gull and as we were leaving for the day we had Parasitic Jaeger harassing the gulls on the water.
Rebecca Smith, Gallus Quigley, and Greg Miller finished off our day at Guru Indian Restaurant in Clermont with three (3) delicious vegan dishes and lots of beer to wash it down. We follow that up with some dark and stormy while relaxing on sofa after a long and productive day.