We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. It was sunny, with soft breezes and a comfortable humidity level. We had a total of 13 participants and many were returns from last year’s trip. We started out with the same enthusiasm as last year, with two boats, one piloted by Matthew Anderson and the other by his colleague Kirk Fusco.
As we began the trip, a boater along the way was having engine trouble. We did our good deed for the day and towed him back to the dock.
We then started our journey and headed straight to the island rookeries. On the way, we saw an Osprey nest on one of the channel markers and several groups of Least Terns flying overhead. On the island rookeries, there were multitudes of active Brown Pelican nests and many other active nests of herons, egrets and anhinga’s. We had the pleasure of seeing young spoonbills sitting on the nest, their heads popping up occasionally. To our surprise, a Black-Capped Night Heron took flight giving us the opportunity to get a good look with our binoculars.
There was a sand flat with a Reddish Egret and Caspian and Royal Terns. It was easy to compare the differences between the terns. Afterwards, we took a rest and enjoyed lunch together on one of the islands.
On the way back, we stopped at an oyster reef. Matthew & Kirk educated the group about oyster clusters, how they reproduce and the different types of marine life that depend on them. We learned that oysters are a keystone species that provide essential habitat.
Thank you Matthew and Kirk for giving us a day to remember.
For more information about the Friends of the Spoil Islands, friendsofspoilislands.org
Report Submitted by Adella Blacka
Photos courtesy of Doris & Steve Brookens, Richard Lynch, Adella Blacka
(Bird list below photos)
TOTAL: 36 species
Waterfowl: Red-breasted Merganser, Mottled Duck
Pelicaniformes: Brown Pelican; Double-crested Cormorant; Anhinga
Wading Birds: Great-blue Heron; Great Egret; Snowy Egret; Little Blue Heron; Tricolored Heron; Green Heron; Black-crowned Night Heron; White Ibis; Roseate Spoonbill; Reddish Egret; Cattle Egret
Raptors & Allies: Black Vulture; Osprey; Red-shouldered; American Kestrel
Shorebirds: Spotted Sandpiper
Gulls, Terns: Laughing Gull; Ring-billed Gull; Royal Tern; Least Tern; Caspian Tern
Kingfishers: Belted Kingfisher
Woodpeckers: Red-bellied Woodpecker
Empidonax: Great-crested Flycatcher
Corvidae: Fish Crow
Swallows: Tree Swallow
Mimids: Northern Mockingbird
Wood Warblers: Northern Parula
Cardinals: Northern Cardinal; Blue Jay
Blackbirds: Boat-tailed Grackle
For a complete list of birds, see link below: