It's always a treat for me to see Gray Kingbirds with their soft gray backs and disproportionately large beaks. Someday Ohio will have a record of one of these birds. Well. I hope so anyways. David Goodwin, Ray Webb, and spent a beautiful, Florida-style, sun-filled day on Honeymoon Island near Dunedin, FL. The migrants were slow that day but the birding was fun.
Not all the migrants were slow that day. We saw nearly half a dozen Gray Kingbirds. Who can argue with that?
And as of late I have found myself quickly interrupted by leps–butterflies. This Gulf Fritillary put on a real show. And I enjoyed it. I really like this quote:
I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.
George Washington Carver
Most of life whooshes by us with such blinding speed that we have a hard time focusing on what is around us right now. Many of us are so anxious about the future that it discolors the present. And since we are latched hard on some imaginary future where everything is better we tend to view our current position with a certain amount of disdain. This is why I like birding so much. It gets me outdoors. And it is very immediate. Very now. It puts my focus on what's around me. And in the end, birding is like Windex for my soul. It doesn't really fix my problems. But it gives me a different, fresh perspective. It helps me enjoy who I am right now. I find myself thankful for my current condition–whatever it may be. I talk to too many folks in their later years who look back on their younger years with regret. I don't want to get to the end of my life with any regrets. Wow. How did I get here? Haha. On with the birds!
Here is a Ruddy Turnstone with several Short-billed Dowitchers in varying stages of molt. They really blend in with that background!
And this is a gaudy Ruddy Turnstone blending in surprisingly well. Umm. Except for that black and white head. This almost begs a caption. Hmm. Maybe something like “Hey guys! I can hide, too! Can anyone see me?”
A strikingly beautiful Ruddy Turnstone in alternate (breeding) plumage. Wow.
A molting Red Knot in the foreground, a molting Short-billed Dowitcher in the background, a breeding-plumaged Ruddy Turnstone on the right make for a fine trio. The bulky bodies of both the dowitcher and the knot are similar. And the coloration of both is somewhat alike as well. But take a look at the bill lengths! The Red Knot has a much shorter beak than the Short-billed Dowitcher. This picture demonstrates well this difference.
This concludes a most enjoyable trip to Florida. Stay tuned to this blog for live updates from The Biggest Week in American Birding coming soon!