Thursday, 27 January 2011

Never Mind The Monarchs - or leisurely Florida birding day 4

Wednesday morning, Paul and I went down to the beach to see if last night's storm had made much of a mess - or more importantly, dumped a booby or bridled tern down o the sands or offshore. Well, one must be optimistic!
Of course, our cursory check revealed no such excitement and the only interesting thing brought ashore was a dead barracuda, which the gulls and a turkey vulture were taking something of an interest in.
I took this pic of a Forster's tern, seeing as I had my 'scope to hand.

Later, we decided to go to the Big Bend Power Station - famed for its manatees. During the winter months, many of these engaging sea mammals congregate in a shallow lagoon alongside the power station.

The warmer waters in the area of the station's outfalls provide a comfortable alternative to the cooler gulf temperatures and for some 25 years the station has monopolised on this annual migration as a PR coup, and have built an excellent manatee viewing facility, with educational facilities etc.
We were hoping that some manatees would be visible, but weren't quite expecting the 250 or so that were basking in this welcome environment.
From the viewing platforms we could look down and observe the manatees as they went about their business below. Very nice indeed. 

While there we also saw cownose rays and bonnethead sharks, but few birds.  The usual opsreys, vultures, brown pelicans, egrets and such. The only 'new' bird was a peregrine flying around the power station.
A few monarch butterflies were flitting around, hence the pic (and poor punny blog title).

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