After leaving Orlando we headed south to stay in Palm beach for about a week with friends of the family. This area was extremely affluent and built up with many mansions and country clubs, including the house of a certain US presidential nominee who shall not be named. Although it was hard to see the house for the massive wall.
There's a long beach here, and as it was thronged with people it wasn't brilliant for birdlife. The local pier however had some friendly if not slightly menacing Brown Pelicans that were waiting for scraps from the fishermen. Laughing Gull and Royal tern were also seen here. On a non avian note it was pretty cool to see the masses of Portuguese-Man-of-War that were washing up on the strand. These nasty stinging jellies kept us out of the water here for a long time. A couple of days into our stay at Palm Beach I discovered a small unassuming boardwalk across lake worth called Snook Islands Natural Area. It was one of the shortest boardwalks I have ever encountered but it produced a surprising wealth of new birds for me. I had my first Red-Bellied Woodpeckers nesting in a tree here, and saw a good few new waders. American Oystercatcher were breeding here, in what I later found out is one of the few spots on the Atlantic coast in Florida in which they breed, the population mostly being found on the Gulf coast. Spotted Sandpiper, Least sandpiper, Short billed Dowitcher, Black Bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover and Least Tern were all new birds here also. I was watching the spotted sandpiper in the heat of the afternoon when an ominous black shape appeared. This intimidating bird glided purposefully past giving good views. A Magnificent Frigatebird! Not quite what I was expecting to find in such an urban area but wow what a bird! Another of these fine creatures later passed by, giving good views. These are extremely agile seabirds which get their prey by harassing other seabirds and forcing them to give up their catch, similar to the behaviour of skuas, in what is known as kleptoparasitism.
In our time here in Palm Beach I got to visit some other great birding spots, but they will be written up in full in their own blog posts which should be on their way soon
|Green Iguana - These cool reptiles were quite common in some areas, here bathing in the sun, But I later learned that they are quite a serious invasive species causing some problems in the local ecosystem.|
|Green Heron - Very approachable and stunning plumage, quite a change from birds in Ireland!|