Who Let the Birds Out?

I felt like asking that question, this morning, as we paddled through the Tarpon Bay mangrove tunnels.  There were so many interesting birds; it seemed as if we were paddling through the San Diego Zoo.  But, the funny thing about it was that it appeared as if these birds were escapees from a bird show, where the birds are all trained performers.




When we spotted this Yellow-crowned Night Heron, I paddled up to it very slowly, trying my best not to make any noise with my paddle.  As I got closer and closer, he didn’t seem to be bothered.  So, I took several photos before saying anything to Bruce.  Meanwhile, he stayed quietly behind.

At first, I whispered; still, the bird didn’t fly off.  Next, I talked in a normal voice, but, he didn’t budge!  I ended up getting so close to the little guy I could have poked him with my paddle! 

In all, on the marked mangrove tunnel loop we saw dozens and dozens of various birds that never seemed bothered, as I approached with my camera.  We even saw a Roseate Spoonbill (see above); a somewhat rare sight on the trail.  And, as luck would have it, we saw one of the rarest sights of all out there on the trail; a river otter!  According to one of the guides I spoke with at Tarpon Bay Explorers, he had only seen a handful of them during his eight years with the company.  You will have to take my word for it that we actually did see it, because my photo of the critter was just a blur as he scurried in the dark shadows of the mangroves, hopped into the water, and then swam across to the other side before taking off again.  But, at least we saw it, and, at least I get to share my other photos with you, now that I have the software downloaded from Fuji’s website for my camera.  (I couldn’t wait until I got home…  So, if you would like to see those dolphin shots I got, I added them to my Flipper post.  Don’t get too excited; I missed their heads, but I did get the very tip of the baby’s nose in the second shot.)

So, back to the birds, the following are some of my favorites from today:






This Turkey Vulture had his eyes on a dead mullet, which, unfortunately were plentiful due to the red tide killing them off.  I’m sure that also explains why Bruce didn’t catch any fish in Tarpon Bay today!



Other birds we saw and photographed were Little Blue Herons, Great Blue Herons, White Ibis, Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets, Cormorants, and others I couldn not identify.  I will have more photos posted on my fototime site, after I return home.

Besides paddling with the dolphins, this was definitely the highlight of our Sanibel vacation, so far!  It was definitely for the birds!


4 thoughts on “Who Let the Birds Out?

  1. Hi Elaine! Loved your post about the birds. The third photo of the bird you said you did not know the name of is a “Black-Crowned Night Heron” We have one at our Lake! We also have a Green Heron, and Great Blue Heron along with so many interesting birds. Have fun!


  2. Hey, Elaine. Nice shots. The bird in questions is a Black-crowned Night Heron. Beautiful specimen! I’m envious of your trip. I once lived about 70 miles from Sanibel Island, but one day I hope to get back to Florida and check it out.


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