Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
There were cardinals and mockingbirds, ever present and always enjoyable.
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
There was a surprising number of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers in and around the area — surprising to me anyway, since I'd never seen them in the area before.
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus)
This was my first opportunity to photograph these slender beauties or even to observe them close up, and I was amazed both at how graceful they were in the hard winds blowing in from the gulf and at how quickly they moved in flight. I've decided that I'll need quite a bit more practice and familiarity with these tyrant flycatchers (or a good helping of luck) if I want to capture any shareable pictures of them in flight.
Another treat of the morning's trip was the opportunity to watch five Common Nighthawks wheeling and diving overhead. I climbed to the top of the sanctuary's observation tower and spent a good twenty minutes trailing them as they moved down the island until they finally passed beyond the range of my binoculars. New addition to my life list!
Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor)
There were also plenty of dragonflies and butterflies on hand, busily enjoying the bounty of this small paradise.
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
I ended the day with a quick drive down the road to nearby Bryan Beach, where the tidal pools hiding behind the dunes often attract a variety of shorebirds, herons and such. This particular morning, two lonesome Willets comprised the total count of shorebirds and no waders were in sight, but the sandbars and the far edges of the water were teeming with Laughing Gulls and terns, including Caspians, Royals and even a couple of Sandwich Terns.
Juvenile Laughing Gulls (Larus atricilla)
However, these three young gulls seemed to be the only ones not taking a midday siesta; they were busy cackling and playing in the water like their human counterparts just on the other side of the dunes, enjoying the beautiful weather while the grown-ups lazily soaked up the early summer sun.
"What, you're still here?"