Tuesday, December 7, 2021

BEAUTIES and the Beach

BEAUTIES and the Beach

Photos by Jean Hall | DOWNY is the scene at Sand Dollar Island—newly hatched Black Skimmer chicks.

A Royal Tern newly fledged chick part downy and part houndstooth pattern.

The Reddish Egrets are tall and longlegged with unique feather colorationand they dance for their foodor at least it looks that way to humans. They are the rarest of all egrets in the United States and are designated by the State of Florida as “threatened species.” 

Marco Islanders are so fortunate that they do not have to go far to enjoy this rare beautyoften observed by the shallows of Tigertail Lagoon stalking their prey. 

A juvenile Reddish Egret has been seen regularly in the mornings, right in front of Residents Beach and travels as far south to the JW Marriott. Most mornings this young beauty is flapping his wings, running, zigging and zagging in the watera unique feeding behavior, mesmerizing regular beach walkers and hotel guests. 

Caution: This is a rare wild bird and as a juvenile must learn to hunt for foodwhich are small fish plentiful by the surf line. FEEDING Wildlife is not recommended. Enjoy this beauty on our beach and she will continue to bless us with its presence.

Juvenile Reddish Egret frequently seen in the mornings right in front of Residents Beach and JW Marriott—stalking his prey by the surf “dancing for his breakfast.”

Be ready to take out your cellphone and record a “Jagger type” dance from the Reddish Egret! Again, watch respectfully from a distance.  

The scene is all DOWNY further to the north on the wilder side of Sand Dollar Island. The nesting colony of Black Skimmers are recovering from the effects of Tropical Storm Cristobal. They have re-nested and the DOWNY babies are scampering all over. The colony is looking very healthy according to Jean Hall of Audubon of the Western Everglades. 

Black Skimmer Mom with downy chicks at Sand Dollar Island—doing very well having recovered from Tropical Storm Cristobal.

Also, joining the Black Skimmers are the beautiful Royal Terns distinct with their red-orange bill and black tufted cap during the breeding season. Some of their chicks have fledged with plumage showing its houndstooth pattern. 

There were also Least Tern nests with eggs, and they are very late. Again, Mother Nature is amazing allowing the Least Terns to re-nest several times. If you happen to get too close trying to look for chicks, you will hear a loud warning overhead from a protective parent. 

Walk on the wild side of Marco and experience the DOWNY Beauties just emerging! Watch from a distance and respect the posted areas.


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