Thursday, October 17, 2013

Glorious morning on the bay

Seems the weather has finally taken a turn in a subtle kind of way as we head toward the winter camping season. Slightly cooler and drier this time of year compared to summer, we often spend our weekend mornings in the Ten Thousand Islands area. But, with the national parks closed last weekend, we instead enjoyed a full weekend on Biscayne Bay. We launched from Deering where the sun can be seen rising over the little island known as Chicken Key. Why is it called Chicken Key? White ibises roost there at night and the funny bird with the curved beak is often times referred to as a chicken. It does kind of cluck like one and apparently it shares culinary characteristics of the chicken. The best part is, hundreds of white ibises fly across the sky along the shoreline of Biscayne Bay early in the morning; and they do this like clockwork daily.

We were lucky enough to access the launch site 30 minutes or so before sunrise. This was nice as we had our boats ready to go by the time the sun began peaking over the water. The clouds hung a bit higher than usual which provided a beautiful display of orange and blues. I decided to hang out by the launch site and wait for the daily commute of the white ibis. Rush hour typically begins immediately after the sun's upper edge clears the horizon.

In the meantime, Vivian and a fishing buddy, Jay, paddled out onto the water. I waited at the shoreline with a yellow-crowned night-heron. Soon after,  I decided to get in the boat and anchor off shore a ways, providing me the best sight of the birds as they began their flight.

There are so many birds that it takes about 15-20 minutes for the show to end. They all head in a southerly direction and my best guess is, they are heading to mount trashmore which I am sure is ripe with all kinds of food for the birds. Knowing that the birds are heading to a pile of trash kind of takes some of the charm away from the scene. On the other hand, you have to appreciate a bird's opportunistic instincts. 

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