What a glorious morning just to be out! 15 early birds decided not only to enjoy the day but also to get in some birding. Driving onto the island and checking the staging area was a great surprise. Birds all over. It was very difficult to leave the area. We got close to 21 species there alone. The sun warmed the trees and the birds. Insects were abundant and the birds were in a feeding frenzy. As expected, Grey Catbirds were all about. Kinglets, White-eyed Vireos, Blue-grey Gnatcatchers, Palm Warblers, House Wren, Indigo Buntings, King Fishers, Brown Pelicans, and others were spotted and heard.
A majestic Bald Eagle sat there, surveying his domain from a great distance, but I was able to get this photo with my phone. Yes, I was surprised that it came out as well as it did. Moving on down the trail, Tim spotted a Northern Flicker, which several of us got to see. Sandhill Cranes could be heard in the distance. I cannot remember a time that we did not hear them while on the island. Carolina and House Wrens, Female American Redstarts, Black & White Warbler, Pileated, Downy, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, The nice surprise was a Merlin that flew over.
Moving out to the locks and checking out the interior, did not scare up a Shrike. But, the American Kestrel was in residence. We spotted another Bald Eagle flying over the canal. The stretch that is here is beautifuo. The far end is barely visible in this picture, but the bridge on 19 is the endpoint.
We exited the island and moved on to our next stop. Food. We opted to go to Norton's in Crystal River. Good company and food. The list of 45 species can be seen on this ebird link. https://ebird.org/checklist/S152992600