July 2011 Cedar Key

Cedar Key is a quaint little fishing village on the Gulf Coast, about an hours drive from Gainesville, Florida. While vacationing there for a week in July, I had the opportunity to visit a few of the keys with Captain Rick in search of the Magnificent Frigatebird.  His “know how” paid off and I saw my first White Pelicans and American Oystercatchers as well.

Magnificent Frigatebird

White Pelicans

American Oystercatchers

The trip added three new birds to my Florida “life list”.  Fortunately, the pelicans and oystercatchers are seen in Northeast Florida, so I had more to look forward to.

Meanwhile, back home in Jacksonville, the Laughing Gull and Royal Tern chicks were multiplying and covering the north end of the dunes and beach at Huguenot Park.

Laughing Gull and Chick

Royal Tern and Chicks

This is the largest nesting area (several thousand birds) on the East Coast for these birds.  It requires constant monitoring during the summer months by park staff and volunteers in order to protect them and ensure successful breeding.

A common park bird, the Turkey Vulture, surveys the landscape for carrion (dead animals), which sometimes includes birds.

Turkey Vulture

Lastly, a much less common bird, the “Great White” Heron, graces the edge of a dune.

“Great White” Heron

It is the “white color phase” of the Great Blue Heron and is more commonly found in south Florida and the Caribbean.

Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Thanks again,

Phil Graham–Photo Naturalist

NEXT POST   August 2011 – Tennessee and Hanna Park: Night-Heron, Anhinga, and More!

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” –Lao Tzu

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