During this journey, we escaped into the mesmerizing turquoise waters of the warm gulf. I had read about this place in so many birder books and it exceeded my expectations. Captiva Island is one of the most desired locations for tourists. We went on a weekday and left early before everyone woke up in Florida to find a parking spot. And thanks to great planning on our parts, we had a fantastic trip into the unknown.
|A great place to start your day for breakfast or afternoon lunch|
We grabbed breakfast and I ran to the beaches before the thousands of people arrived to chase all the birds away. A sip of coffee and a quick run to the beach turned out to be a great idea as I was able to find several birds up close.
But we were heading away from Captiva Island to Cayo Costa State Park where we would be secluded and not have to deal with the tourist crowd. So we brought our cooler of veggies and water along with beach chairs and umbrellas.....
|Cayo Costa State Park|
And from there I explored the beaches alone away from noisy crowds. Sydney enjoyed the sun and water while I tracked Ruddy Turnstones. I was able to observe them close from the water while they foraged around vegetation left on the beach. Several hung out on piers and others were strolling around on the beaches.
It was also here that I found my first US Anhinga! I had only seen them in the dark rainy forests of Panama a couple years ago. When I saw this bird again, I smiled. This bird moves like a snake through water or a needle pulling thread. Cue Sound of Music:)
It wasn't my Shire(Wisconsin) nor was it the mystical Central America. But it was tropical with too many birds all around me. I was in my own country birding and it felt safe. Granted, we had to seriously navigate around the Spring breakers and the Northerners who have had to endure a most painful winter. So in a sense, I'm glad I live in Arizona because I didn't feel the need to tan or soak in the sun all day on the beach......
We sat on the boat to and from Cayo Costa. I remember wishing that time didn't exist. Being with my friend and being in Florida around so many new birds made me wish I had a month to spend there. But life does not wait nor does it care what you do with it. So we made the most of it.
Watching a Double-crested Cormorant tackle a large fish and then swallow it whole was fascinating.
|Double-crested Cormorant gets his meal|
So no Northern Gannets. They will have to wait until next time. We had a wonderful day at Captiva and Cayo Costa State Park. Stay tuned for more! Next week we'll discover a religious sect ruled by women and Gopher Turtles......
For more on our world's birds check out Wild Bird Wednesday!