It’s about 63 degrees at 6:20 a.m. Met Nita at 6:30 to go birding together this morning. Our first bird of the dark morning was a WOOD STORK standing near the Cedar Cove Canal. I’ve never seen one there before. We watched it for quite a while as it fed in the shallow water near the end of the Park Beach. We were both impressed by how big it was, and how purposeful it seemed in its systematic sweeping of the water with its big bill. I have no idea what WOOD STORKS eat, but this one was finding what it wanted right here.

When we saw the eastern sky coloring up, we decided to hike around to the Cedar Cove Town Houses to watch the SUNRISE at 7:42 a.m.. We got there about ten minutes early and enjoyed watching the BLACK SKIMMERS flying around in front of us. There must have been hundreds of them, and more kept appearing from the distance. We saw a few CORMORANTS and PELICANS fly by, and we could see the silhouette of what we thought might be a GREAT BLUE HERON way off to the left. The red sky just kept getting brighter and brighter behind the clouds at the horizon, and all of a sudden the SUN appeared. The whole scene was pretty spectacular.

When we walked by the Cedar Cove Marina on our way out, we saw a GREAT EGRET in the water, so we stopped to watch it feed. We immediately noticed how different it was from the WOOD STORK in both size and manner of feeding. Then a SNOWY EGRET flew in, and we noticed how small it looked in close quarters with the GREAT EGRET. Then just to make the scene complete, the WOOD STORK wandered up from the canal and began feeding in the Marina too. We watched all three of them and got a clear sense of how different they are from each other, and how easy they are to tell apart when they’re so close. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to help Nita learn her big white birds — or to learn a bit more myself.

We hiked down to the Faraway Beaches just to check for shorebirds, but nothing was there so we headed home. It was a lovely morning, and I’m looking forward to more birding with Nita.