Two for one.

Been away from the keyboard for a while. Some time has passed since our last Daily Sighting post. Let’s make up for that. Here are two…


Went to the Everglades for birds, alligators and adventure. Our small airboat slid over swamp water and saw-grass, past jungled islands that had Black Vultures in treetops.

Bears and panthers stayed hidden, but we saw Tricolored Herons, Glossy Ibises, Snowy Egrets, a Snail Kite and cold Anhingas. Yeah, cold. The morning was sunny, but temperatures were in the fifties.

"...cold-blooded about danger."

We saw an alligator, too, rare on a chilly day. But, this ten-footer was cold-blooded about being cold.

We stopped. He glided nearby, looking unlike anything in a zoo, unless it was Jurassic Park.

A Purple Gallinule walked chicken-like on floating vegetation. He knows that gators are underfoot, but this bird’s cold-blooded about danger.

Hell, on that day, even wrapped up under hats, coats and scarves in the tropical Everglades, we were all cold-blooded.

Bird Shadows.

And then it got warm. While on a sunny beach, shadows zipped and rippled across the sand and over the Atlantic surf.

"A new challenge..."

One of these might’ve been made by a Ring-billed Gull, Brown Pelican, Collared Dove. Even an Osprey.

I aimed my cell-phone camera at a bird shadow, and captured most of it just in time. Didn’t get to see the bird itself, but could make a good guess about what it was.

Then an idea hit: Bird shadow-watching.

Experts already spice up birding by going naked, which means no binoculars.

Some south Florida beach lovers have a different definition, but that’s a story for another day.

And some birders identify species only by listening.

How about a new challenge? Shadow birding. Here’s that bird shadow I snapped before it flew out of sight. Know what made it?

10 Responses to “Two for one.”

  1. Gaybirdy says:

    PS to above isn’t there a book of bird silhouettes ?

  2. Gaybirdy says:

    Can’t tell what the bird is but I love the concept. Can any one I D the bird, or does only “the Shadow Knows, what lurks in the hearts of men” or bird watchers. Norm must be my age if he knows who Lamont Cranston is.

  3. patrickquillin says:

    Elizabeth, you are spot on! And thank you. It wasn’t until I saw them with an adult male that I could recognize them. They’re not supposed to be in Colorado Springs. I guess no body told them. Again thank you.

  4. norm schaefer says:

    Does my name need be Lamont Cranston?

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Love it….bird-shadow watching….even more challeging is bird shadow watching of pics you took on a beach….

    Patrick, wonder if your bird(s) could be juvenile Hooded Merganser? Also, Sibley Guide notes that Hooded and Common Goldeneye hybridize…

  6. Marc D. says:

    Bird football, bird shadow-watching, what’s next? Bird Olympics? Bird politics? An aviocracy? As for them ‘gators — a gator got pok’ salad Annie’s granny.

  7. Bill says:

    When I used to be a guide at a local filter marsh, folks were continually saying things like “That alligator is right behind that bird! Doesn’t the bird know he’s in danger?”


    Those birds (and your gallinule) know that gators prefer to ignore birds in favor of fish and turtles — which they consider rather like M&M’s. Too many indigestible feathers and not enough meat in a bird, especially a gallinule that weighs less than 12 oz. soaking wet, and they’re too hard to catch, let alone digest. If a gator can’t swallow its food whole, it has to bury it and let it tenderize for a few days. They can’t chew. Wrong kind of teeth. And they sure can’t pluck.

    A gator sunning, or swimming on the surface, isn’t hunting. They’re ambush hunters. When they’re hunting, you see nothing but eye-knobs and nostrils.

  8. Emilie says:

    Despite what Patrick says, I do think it is a mid size tern.

  9. Rob L says:

    I have no idea what the shadow is, but it’s a cool idea.

    I, too, was in Florida, it was cold, and then warm. We went on a boat ride through the backwaters of Miami Beach. Near the end we spotted a pair of dolphins, apparently mates, jumping and flapping ten feet away. So impressive we forgot about the birds we saw at the beginning of the boat trip – two enormous Ospreys overhead, landing in the branches of a small island. Later we told people about the dolphins, but I don’t think we mentioned the Ospreys. Until now.

  10. patrickquillin says:

    Shadowing birds, eh? It must be a gull, but it’s not a tern. You see, terns are always seen in pairs- thus the saying- one good tern deserves another.
    Okay, that was bad but, I am again shadowing a water bird, several. Last year you guys helped me but I’m not convinced. Along the stream here in Colorado Springs I enjoy the mallards, wigeons, shovelers, gadwalls and Canada geese. Last week a rare pair of hooded mergansers stopped by. But this guy, or now four of them have me stumped, again. It just can’t be the eared grebe. They look a lot like the hen hooded merganser except the top of the back is black. The head is bushy after completing a long dive. The eyes are dark, the sides are brown. Big bushy brownish hair-do is the give away. But I can’t find him in a book. Help.