Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Sanibel 3

Late during our two-week stay on Sanibel Island, we discovered the Bailey Homestead Wetlands. This area appeared to consist of a couple of water purification ponds.  Although the area seemed ideal, we saw very few dragonflies here. The birds, however, were remarkably tame. The first was a male anhinga. Anhingas are classified in the order Pelicaniformes, due to their webbed feet and throat pouches. Among the birds in that order, Anhingas are thought to be closest to cormorants. Among other unique features, Anhingas have only one carotid artery, nostrils with no outer openings in adults, and vestigial tongues (Frederick and Siegel-Causey 2000).
During a visit to the Bailey Homestead Wetland on 10 February 2017, I took this photo of a Cattle Egret. I have posted about this invasive bird elsewhere in this blog. Cattle Egrets appeared to be less common in Sanibel during this visit, but that status may have been due to the time of year. Elsewhere in Sanibel, on the Bailey Tract of the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, we came upon a Great Blue Heron in a very strange pose. Clearly this behavior was an attempt to lose heat. The day was one of the hottest of the year, with temperatures around 90 degrees. I had never seen anything like this before, but since I have seen photos of Great Blue Herons doing the same thing here in Minnesota.
Every day we beach-combed, seeing different birds on nearly every hike. This Black-bellied Plover perched on a large piece of driftwood, elevated above the beach. Black-bellied Plovers breed in the Arctic of the New and Old Worlds. In this hemisphere, they winter along most coasts of the United States and south along the South American coasts. In mixed shorebird flocks, Black-bellied Plovers act as sentinels. They are “wary and quick to give alarm calls” (Johnson and Conners 2010). 

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