Companions

While I record each species we see and use eBird to track birds as we travel, my birding partner is more interested in "slow birding" – taking time to "smell the flowers" – to mix metaphors. It’s got me seeing more and enjoying birding even more.

We came upon these gulls just after a lesson from a local bird walk leader. So we paused and sorted them out into Laughing Gulls, Ringed-billed Gulls, and Herring Gulls. Right now,those are the three species here so it is fun to sharpen ID skills by just going over groups – and when they line up on a pier it’s even more interesting.

Just up the road we saw these Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. Can you see what they were looking at?

Yes, it was an Anhinga, a relatively rare bird here. We watched it as it fished with snake-like movements and then strolled back up to the larger group of ducks, spreading its wings to dry out, and hanging out with the kids with bubble-gum legs.

In the next field we saw an odd couple – a young Crested Caracara and an adult Turkey Vultures. I know that they are both carrion eaters and sometime soar (kettle) together, this seemed almost like a foster mom situation.

A second juvenile joined the group as we watched entranced by what appeared to be flying lessons.

There were three juveniles, one of whom could barely fly, several Turkey Vultures, and everyone seemed at ease with the scene. No adult Caracara seemed present. We loved what we had seen but were a bit bewildered about what was going on. Anyone have any suggestions? Leave a comment if you do.

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