Operation Pink Bird

Posted by Jane N on

I have been taking a vacation to Florida for the past five years now and one of my goals has been to see the Rosette Spoonbills. The first year I was there I got a brief peek at a couple thru the scrub brush on Sanibel Island but I wanted a better view. It has been reported that the oil spill of a couple of years ago damaged the Spoonbills nesting habitat and that was why there have been fewer birds in recent years. So each trip I make to Florida Sissy & Bill try to find the Rosette Spoonbill for me.

This year I extended my stay so that I could spend some time with my nephew Kieth and his wife Kris. They used to live in Texas and recently moved to Florida, much to Sissy's delight. While in Texas they were able to see flocks of these beautiful pink shorebirds when they visited Galveston Island. I was so envious. I enjoyed their pictures but wanted to see some for myself.

Since Keith & Kris moved to Florida they have been able to explore their surroundings and it seemed like everywhere they went they saw Spoonbills. Come on, they even saw some in a drainage ditch at their local CVS store! So Keith appointed himself Commander of Operation Pink Bird. He & Kris were determined to help me find the elusive Rosette Spoonbill.

On Saturday we arranged to meet at a state park that they had seen Spoonbills at often, Myakka State Park. With Keith in the lead, we headed out on our quest. He knew all the locations of the perfect habitat areas, some off the beaten path I would never have noticed. We scanned every wetland spot with our binoculars. We saw plenty of Herons, White Ibis, a few Glossy Ibis and a Red-shouldered Hawk. There were many Alligators in the water and sunning themselves on shore, but sadly no Rosette Spoonbills.

It looked like Operation Pink Bird was going to be a failure. But it really didn't matter, I was enjoying spending time with them looking at the birds. Sharing my hobby with them. It has been at least 10 years since I had seen them yet in seemed like only yesterday. I was having a great day just being in the outdoors enjoying their company.

Since it seemed like we weren't going to see any Spoonbills I had to let them in on a secret. I had taken a river boat ride the day before up the Peace River estuary to a Wood Stork rookery. Sharing the rookery with the Storks was a small group of Rosette Spoonbills. Finally, after five years I was able to get a good look at them. So no worries I spotted my Rosette's. Keith can keep his title as Commander of Operation Pink Bird, for I will be back.......

Happy Birding, Jane

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