We decided to spend our Easter Birding day with some old friends, then come home and relax before the first baseball game of the season and an early flight home.
On our way we encountered a adult and colt (young crane) Sandhill Crane. Deanna says she remembers the crane from when it was a little puff-ball just a week before. Boy has it grown!
After visiting with the cranes we continued on to Oscar Scherer State Park which hold the largest piece of Xeric Florida Shrub-Scrub on the Gulf Coast home to all sorts of endemic species such as the Golfer Tortise, Xeric Oak, and my favorite of them all, the Florida Scrub-Jay!
When we arrived we asked where the most recent sightings of Scrub-Jays had been, picked up a couple maps, then moved on. Our first stop was the “Blue” Trail, the location of where I had seen those wonderful birds just a year ago. We walked and scanned and walked and scanned but saw nothing. Deanna and I then gave the Green Trail a try. We did two loops and just like the Blue, the Green too was silent. At this point I was getting a little discouraged. Last year all it had taken was a step on the trail, but unfortunately this time was going to take a bit more patience. Luckily, we had saved the yellow trail which was 4 miles through pure shrub-scrub. If we could find Scrub-Jays anywhere it was here.
We began to walk and walk and walk. I was beginning to get a bit bothered by the heat and wondered why I hadn’t brought my water bottle from the car. My thoughts began to wander when suddenly I heard that beautiful shriek I knew so well and in flew my favorite bird in the entire world, a FLORIDA SCRUB-JAY! I just knew their curiosity would get the better of them, I thought! He flew right up to me, close enough that I could easily touch him. What a bird! The beautiful blue shades contrasted so well with the tan on his back. He began to call to his mate, and she too flew in. Wow!
After spending time watching the Scrub-Jays, we parted ways and Deanna and I headed back and after getting a bit lost continued birding. The rest of the days birding was uneventful but to me an experience with a bird I love so much like a Scrub-Jay is worth more than 100 life birds.