After a nerve wracking drive down 19 to Dunedin, 17 of us were ready for some fun and relaxation; doing one of the things we like doing the best. Observing the birds. Although the strong winds and blowing sand gave us some competition; we were not deterred. Ruddy Turnstones, Sanderlings, Least Sandpipers, and a host of Short-billed Dowitchers gave us photo ops.
We had to wade the tide out to the sandbar at the Pet Park, but with the winds and swirling sand the Plovers weren't there. We did see a juvenile Bald Eagle sitting on shoreline. We tripped out to the Nature Trail and were greeted with an adult Long Horned Owl. After some very diligent searching these two Great Horned Owl chicks were found in the smallest of nests. It was difficult to determine there were two until I got the photo on the computer. This was the highlight for the trip to Honeymoon. Lunch at no other place than The Lucky Dill was excellent as usual. The list of species for Honeymoon Island was 47 species and the eBird link can be seen here.
After lunch it was on to Fred Howard Park. This area is a superb place for large gatherings of certain species at different times. The largest gathering this time were well over an hundred Black Skimmers. There were Marbled Godwits, Short-billed Dowitchers, Least Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, and lots of Willets. The thrill for me and I daresay for most was the close-up view and photo op of the Whimbrel who was congregating in the midst of the Marbled Godwits, Dowitchers and Willets. The link to eBird for this list is here. We had a total of 55 species for the two areas.