Monday, December 5, 2016


After not having a lot of luck at Santa Rosa NP the day before, I decided to try Palo Verde on my 2nd to last morning.  It was about 2-3 hour drive, but given I was used to eastern time it wasn't hard to arrive at dawn.  There are a lot of rice paddies around Palo Verde National Park and I knew that this was one of the better areas for Jabiru (as well as some of the rarer rails that I didn't try for).  I pulled over when I saw some egrets in a ditch and then some storks farther back.  In the half-light a Wood Stork with its head at an odd angle gave me a rush of adrenaline as I lifted my bins.  I somewhat sheepishly let the binoculars fall, only to have a Jabiru drop down right in front of them.  Using the car as a blind, the bird paid me no notice and ended up walking right past.

The massive bird was hard to fit into the viewfinder.

I found a few more a little farther down the road.  The bird seems like something out of Africa.  Check out the size difference between it and a puny looking Wood Stork.

Spoonbills were fairly common here as well, this one gave up better photo-ops than any I've encountered in Florida in the last few years.

Finally a Double-striped Thick-knee.
These giant nocturnal plovers (?) would sometimes appear in pastures, but this was my first chance to stop for one.  The birds looked like a pheasant had been stretched into the proportions of an Upland Sandpiper.  It'd be interesting to know how they act when they're foraging.

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