57 degrees at 6:35 a.m. The National Weather Service forecasts that it’s going to be mostly sunny and will go up to 67 degrees. Civil twilight will begin at 7:00 a.m., the SUN will rise at 7:26 a.m. and set at 5:45 p.m. The MOON rose at 3:53 a.m. and won’t set until 2:32 p.m. It’s a waning crescent that’s 14% illuminated. Sky and Telescope says that at dawn this morning VENUS will shine to the upper left of the Moon. LOW TIDE at 4:53 a.m., HIGH at 11:48 a.m., LOW again at 4:19 p.m., and HIGH again at 10:06 p.m.

Getting started at 6:50 a.m. Just as Alan MacRobert of Sky and Telescope said, VENUS is above and to the left of the crescent Moon. It’s lovely to look at in the relatively clear morning sky. Beautiful view of the sky from the Cedar Cove Townhouses at 6:55 a.m. The color along the horizon is subtler this morning than it was yesterday — pastel pinks blended with gray clouds above and below, plus Venus and the crescent Moon high above all of it. At 7:00 a.m. I heard an OWL hooting from the Cedar Cover Marina. While I was looking for it, it flew over my head, and I saw that it was big and had ears: a GREAT HORNED OWL! Its hoot sounds like “Who? Who did it? Who? Who?

While I was standing on the stairs behind the Island Room at 7:10 a.m., an IMMATURE NIGHT HERON flew into the Cedar Cove Marina. It had its back to me so I couldn’t see the streaks on its breast, which might have helped me figure out which species it was. Another birdwatcher called down to me from his Cedar Cove balcony, where he had been scanning the water with his scope. We agreed that Cedar Key should be crawling with birdwatchers….

Got to the big Cedar Key Marina at 7:20 a.m. and saw a GREAT BLUE HERON standing almost up to its belly in the water. As I was looking at it, it suddenly squawked and flew up onto a piling. About then a KINGFISHER flew in.

Got to the Fishing Pier at 7:30 a.m., in time to see the SUN up and bright yellow this morning. Warmed up at Kona Joe’s then started home. At 8:05 a.m. I spotted a WHITE BIRD the size of a SNOWY EGRET standing in the water in the Cedar Key Marina. I looked for the yellow feet to confirm its identity. Finally saw one, so my bird is definitely a SNOWY EGRET. Bob’s got me worried about WHITE PHASE BLUE HERONS, so I’m paying closer attention to my “EGRETS”….

Later I decided to hike out to the Faraway Beaches just to check on what’s happening out there. At 10:55 a.m. I saw 3 RUDDY TURNSTONES, 4 SEMI-PALMATED PLOVERS, and 1 SANDERLING. All three were moving around on the pebble strewn beach, a scene well worth the walk.

At 7:20 a.m. a GREAT BLUE HERON is standing almost up to its belly in the big Cedar Key Marina. It just squawked and flew up onto a piling. A KINGFISHER just flew in. Didn’t get to the Fishing Pier until 7:30 by which time the SUN was all the way up and bright yellow this morning. By 8:05 I was back out on the bridge and spotted a white bird, SNOWY EGRET size, standing in the water in the Marina. I’m looking for the yellow feet to confirm its identity. Finally saw them, so it’s definitely a SNOWY EGRET. Bob’s got me worrying about white-phase herons, so I’m now paying closer attention to my “egrets.”

At 10:55 a.m. I was walking along the pebble-strewn beach at the Faraway end of the island and saw 3 RUDDY TURNSTONES, 4 SEMI-PALMATED PLOVERS, and 1 SANDERLING — not a bad day for shorebirds.

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