|Our back yard in Boca Grande, Florida|
After breakfast we decided to explore a region of the Gasparilla Island State Park we'd noticed a few days ago; an area a little off the beaten track where invasive vegetation was being managed. This could just possibly provide the perfect habitat for my quarry... and I hadn't even manipulated the plan for my own benefit!
A few metres on, that call again. Once again I began to pish quietly. This time it really did the trick and two birds started calling excitedly back in response. And these were unquestionably Carolina wrens. It took a good few, frustrating seconds but eventually one, then two birds showed well. And what smart looking wrens! Big, bright chunky birds, with wacking great supercilliums, even my non-birder companions were reasonably impressed. They became known immediately, and appropriately, as Satty's birthday wrens.
|Florida box turtle|
On the beach it was the same stuff, white ibis (pictured), willet, ruddy turnstone, Forster's, Royal and Sandwich terns (pictured), etc, and we meandered along enjoying the delightful subtropical climate.
Later that evening as we headed out to a local restaurant to celebrate Satty's significant birthday we heard an Eastern screech owl, very close but in some pretty dense vegetation. I tried to locate the singing bird with my head lamp but unsurprisingly it eluded my beam. Had we not had a table booked, I may have been tempted to dash back to the house and return with my recorder but I had to leave this particular potential lifer for another time. I know that many North American birders will happily tick a bird on call or song alone, but I'm not in that camp. If I don't see it, I don't count it.
The owl was still calling when we returned a couple of hours later and we could even hear it from the back of the house. Oh well, it's always good to have something to look for should I find myself in Eastern screech owl range again.
And the highlight of our journey home was adding great-tailed grackle to the trip list at Houston Airport!
Now, back to reality and the onslaught of the festive period...