A volunteer in blue uniform came out with a board indicating that the 2 mile Indigo Trail was open. After a brief discussion with my husband I started walking toward the trail, leaving him to his own devices.As I passed the gate to the refuge road I noticed in the distance a person in light blue walking down that road. Entering the Indigo Trail I ran into a guy who drew my attention to a partially submerged alligator in the ditch by the trail, saying that he had walked the entire trail without seeing anything else of interest. No birds!
A Northern Mockingbird, the state bird of Florida, was perched on a bush near by. I had seen plenty of those at home.
Anyway, I backtracked and looked down the road into the sanctuary. The person in a light blue outfit was receding in the distance. Well, I am sorry, I too had to find a way in, and soon discovered a spot with foot tracks where I could easily squeeze past the gate. I did so and soon was walking down the warm smooth empty blacktop road. After a few minutes I arrived at at large lake or pond on the east side of the road. A Roseate Spoonbill and a Reddish Egret (changed label from Little Blue Heron; see comment below) were feeding companionably side by side in the shadow near the opposite shore and were slowly making their way across to my side. I was jubilant: the bird I had come to see! The sun was coming from the wrong angle for a good shot, but no matter what...
Closer to shore a single duck was walking along the water's edge, a Mottled Duck, a species threatened by extinction through hybridization with mallards.
.Finally a good view of the Roseate Spoonbill
A pair of Pied-billed Grebes were floating on the lake on the other side of the road. This species of Grebes seems to be the most common pond bird in Florida.
Finishing with my camera I turned back to the road, when I saw the person in light blue come toward me: the volunteer who I had thought I had left behind at the visitors center! In the meantime another person had walked up from the gate. The volunteer kindly directed us back to center explaining that the animals needed a day of rest from visitors. Embarrassed as I was, I was also very happy that I had gotten the photos.
Back at the center we drove to the Bailey Tract, the only part of the sanctuary that was open. It was an area of ponds connected by paths. The only birds I saw there was a male Anhinga in breeding plumage
and several Common Moorhens
and an American Coot
along with several Snowy Egrets and Little Blue Herons, and many Yellow-rumped Warblers, flitting through the bushes and trees.
To be continued ... withTerns and Gulls on Bowman Beach, a trip to the Everglades, and finally a walk down the old pier in Naples at sunset