To check out the birds at Gilbert Water Ranch this morning, I invited Sharon O. from my community to join me. Although she had never birded before, she handled my old binoculars with ease and enjoyed our time there -- including a re-route due to the east gate being closed.
When we started birding at 6:45 a.m., the first birds visible in the dawning hour were numerous white birds at the southern edge of Pond 7. In front of about a dozen of those Great and Snowy Egrets stood a very big thick white bird that even Sharon recognized. "Is that a pelican?" Yes! An American Pelican! -- big as life but too dark for photos. We lucked out that it was still present when we returned. So, I snapped a few distant photos.
|White Pelican stretching its wing, tipped in black|
|Female Great-tailed Grackle|
|American Avocet, basic plumage|
Not all winged creatures were birds. Dragonflies fascinate me and Sharon was awed by its translucent wings
Herons overhead in nearby trees tend to wig me out. Yet, it was this bird staring at me from its perch on a tree limb in the woods around Greenbelt Lake in Maryland many years ago -- that piqued my curiosity enough to make me buy a bird book. I've been birding sporadically ever since, so I took a photo of this similar one at the Water Ranch this morning.
It was another comfortable weather morning to be out among the ponds and the birds. As usual, I was ready to leave as more dog-walkers and bicyclers arrived. Temperature had risen from the high 60s to the 80s so it was time. Great and Snowy Egrets as well as Black-crowned Night Herons and Great Blues added to our enjoyment. I spotted only one warbler, an Orange-crowned, and checked off a Horned Grebe at Pond 5.
As we were leaving on the east trail, a Red-tailed Hawk perched on the light standard by the restroom. It seemed curious about having its photo taken.
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View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25353815