Laughing Gulls

Laughing Gulls are common on beaches or in parking lots throughout South Florida and the Eastern Coast of the United States.  As you would probably guess, their name is derived from their raucous laugh-like call.  I been told that they are not really laughing; it’s just the sound of their calls.  But the lively group below sure started “calling” a lot when I took my shirt off at the beach the other day.

Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) Juvenile

Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) Adult

This adult found a crust of bread…

…then dropped it in the sand…

…and shared it with his younger compatriot.

Hovering and scanning for an easy meal.

Skimming the bay waters and pulling up a weed.

Birding the Florida Keys – John Pennekamp Coral Reef Sate Park

Recently a business trip landed me in the Florida Keys. There are many great bird watching spots in The Keys, but I only had time for one. I decided to check out John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. I had been there several times in the past; as a swimmer, a snorkeler and as a canoeist, but never a birder.  This time I spent a couple of hours walking along the various trails and took some time to watch shore birds from a bench on one the beaches.  It was amazing to discover how much more there was to this familiar spot.  I realized that each time I visited the park in the past I was on a mission.  I would normally rush straight to the canoe rental stand or the beach, but this time I had no special agenda other than to wait for what nature wanted to give.  I think I need to do that more in all areas of life.  How much am I missing because I am in to much of a hurry?

As I emerged from my car I looked up to see this Red-bellied Woodpecker.  He stayed put long enough for me to snap a decent picture with my point and shoot camera.
There were boardwalks that winded through the mangroves.  I had to share this one with a large reptile.
This Laughing Gull didn’t seemed to be amused at the moment.
I ran into this White Ibis a couple of times.  He seemed to be very used to humans and let me get very close.
Here he is again.
Snails are much better than birds at posing for pictures.
Look closely and you will see a Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
These Oceanblue Morning-glory flowers dotted the huge vines that draped the wooded areas of the park.
A Herring Gull and a Double-crested Cormorant resting on some rocks.
Cannon Beach