Special Birds

Here are some memorable birds I've seen lately.

We found this unfortunate Common Loon (Gavia immer) lying on the beach. Some of the loons that winter down here end up dying for various reasons. Some of them, like this one, seem to get weak and don't feed as well, and end up washing up on the beach where they die. This one probably hadn't been doing well for quite some time, as it should've molted into breeding plumage over a month ago. We gave it to a rehab center. Sometimes they make it. Sometimes they don't.

While our friends Ben and Joy were visiting, we got to see some Burrowing Owls, which have an isolated population on Eglin Air Force Base on the bombing ranges.

Eastern Gray Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) have chewed through the fuel lines on two of our work trucks to sharpen their teeth. This Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) made sure that this individual wouldn't be doing that again. I actually like watching the squirrels, but also don't mind nature taking it's course like this.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to go see this Greater Sand-plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) that showed up near Jacksonville, FL at Huguenot Memorial Park for 12 days (he's the one alone next to the water in the middle). Below, you can get an idea of how people were "flocking" to see the bird. This is only the second time this species has been recorded in the Western Hemisphere. It was neat to see him catching fiddler crabs (probably Uca pugnax) and eating them.

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