Late this afternoon the birds broke into two groups, or rather, as two of the birds decided to loaf and preen on a lawn across the lake, the other three resumed their clockwise cruise around the lake. Now only one heron, a Little Blue, was following along. I waited with my camera as they approached. It was about 6:00 PM, very cloudy and rather dark, but I staked out a position only about 20 feet from the lake’s edge as they approached our property.
The mergansers may have been simply encountering schools of fish in a random manner. However, I am quite convinced that they were fishing cooperatively, as they moved in a diagonal line, parallel to the shore, with the leading duck the farthest out, and the following birds diagonally nearer to the shore. This would tend to herd the schools of fish up against the shore. This sequence repeated itself many times, and I observed it again this evening.
Here they are about 10 feet offshore, with the trailing birds nearer to the shore than the leader:
The birds then converge nearer to the shore, move clockwise in a circle, and appear to be diving for fish:
The circle becomes quite tight, as a Little Blue Heron stands by patiently:
Now the three mergansers seem to be feeding:
White Ibis, immature:
Common Moorhen at waterfall. Note the red mark on the uppermost part of the leg, a field mark that I had not noticed before. The park is beautifully landscaped and well-maintained.
This Common Moorhen shows off its large yellow feet while swmming:
A young Swamp Rabbit permitted us to approach quite closely. Its ears
appear shorter and its coat is darker than the cottontails up East:
A humongous rock-colored Iguana and its smaller green companion basked on a little island:
Small green Iguana:
Big gray Iguana, about 4 feet long. Note the huge dewlap and the prominent round sub-tympanic shield:
Red-eared Slider in the little pond:
We then drove a few blocks west on Sheridan and visited the boardwalk at the wetlands near Broward County SW Regional Library, still hoping to see another exotic Purple Swamphen. No luck again, but there was beauty there.
Gulf Fritillary on Pickerelweed blossom:
Red-winged Blackbird on reed:
I tried to get a picture during the third syllable of its “Conk-ra-lee” song, as that is when the bird extends it wings and expands the red and yellow epaulets:
Great Egret on the boardwalk railing:
This Green Heron kept flying just ahead of us as we walked along the boardwalk:
Then on to another boardwalk, at Chapel Trail Nature Center, a couple of miles west on Sheridan Road. Here I got a glimpse of an American Bittern that literally dissolved into the marsh vegetation right before my eyes. We also heard a House Wren and saw several nice Prairie Warblers. Best sighting was a Limpkin, that startled me by flying up from cover and promptly dropped out of sight, screaming at me whenever I moved. Obviously, the Limpkin could see me but it did not work the other way around. No more photo op’s.