When we got to the museum we saw a few little lovelies in the tree by the drive where the bus was. I don't even remember which ones. But it was a great start! On the bus I saw geese, cormorants, hawks, turkey vultures, and egrets out the window on the way there. And when we got into some sort of turn-around situation (I have no idea) when we were almost there, some swallows of some sort.
Once we got there, a chipping sparrow at the very tippity top of an evergreen tree gave us a rousing welcome. So cute! At the entrance they have a bunch of boxes for purple martins, I only saw one not flying about wildly. The picture sucked. Oh well! They are apparently basically overgrown swallows (that's how Paul described them anyway). They are so fast, I don't know how people manage to get pictures of them in flight!
There were also some glossy ibis flying overhead, about a dozen of them. It was really cool to see them flying. Yes, yes, I saw that in Cayman, but this time they weren't flying specifically away from me!
Once we headed out into the .... park? reserve? whatever ....... we saw laughing gulls pretty much everywhere, and crows right off the bat. Possibly fish crows, but I can't tell them apart. Someone claimed a boat-tailed crow, but I'm not sure about that one either.
We heard a common yellow throat at the water's edge, some people saw another warbler but I don't even remember what kind. I didn't see it, I had gone a bit ahead to avoid the cluster. I did see a marsh wren, but it flew off before I could get a picture. That little guy was maddening! He would pop up, catch my eye, and then duck down into the brush again. It was too fast to follow. It seemed like there were a pair, fetching nesting material and building a nest in the grass by the water's edge.
We also saw a great blue heron, our only one of the day, and too far away for my taste. He mostly just stood there, although he did fly a short distance to stand directly next to a nearby egret. It's funny to see the different birds jockey for position.
We saw some horseshoe crabs in the water, that's always cool. These dunlin were hanging out near them. Apparently the birds all come to eat the horseshoe crab eggs.
We saw a bunch of skimmers, but they were too far off to get a decent picture. Their beaks are so cool! We saw them fly, but I don't think they were skimming. They were close to the water but not really on it, at least that's what it looked like to me.
Someone spotted a falcon on a tower, which I could only see as a shape. I mean, I could see that ~something~ was on the tower. It's very possible I would be happier with more powerful binocs.
Then there were terrapins! Hahahahahaha, that was awesome, go Terps! There was also this group of cormorants hanging out, I've never seen that many together at once. They were too far away for me to even ID them though, let alone appreciate them properly.
The place was full of platforms for osprey, and they took full advantage. We saw them flying. We saw them sitting around on their nests. It was great! It was an osprey heavy day. :-) I have a special fondness for osprey after seeing them in Cayman. "That was no gull!" I'm starting to be able to ID them.
We walked along their forest trail but it was not active. I spotted something that was probably a magnolia (at least that's what Paul eventually found in that tree) and someone found a brown thrasher, but that was about it.
The last stop was a yellow-legs. I didn't get out for that one. I took a few shots through the bus window, but they were not stellar.
On the way back, lots of turkey vultures! And a few egrets, it's hilarious to me to be driving down the highway with all the noise and traffic and pollution and look over and see an egret right there.
It was a great day. I like shorebirds, much easier to spot and photograph than the little lovelies that are coming through!