I arrived at Orlando Wetlands Park early this morning hoping to find a Gull-billed Tern that was reported here yesterday. As I approached the spot where it has been seen recentlyI began to get disheartened. I could see that there were no terns flying, and I was becoming convinced that I would miss the bird for a second straight time. But the bitterns seem to have taken pity on me. A Least Bittern came out to hunt for fish, as if to say, "I know you won't get what you're looking for, but at least you'll have some fun pictures of me." Then an American Bittern also decided to make itself known. It was like I could see what it was thinking. "If I stand really still and point my bill up, you won't notice me, I know it."
But no terns. I had given up hope and, hanging my head in shame and misery, began walking back to my car. On the way I happened to look to my right and suddenly there were two terns flying way off in the distance--too far to identify. One would occasionally dive into the water and the other would swoop low over the water without diving into it. Could that be it? They began flying closer to me.... Score!!!!! The bird stayed pretty far away; these are the photos that came out somewhat close to sharp that show the bill . By the way, the other tern was a Royal Tern.
Oh, there were other birds there too, including all the usual herons and egrets. A Bald Eagle and a Northern Harrier made an appearance. I saw about 4 Purple Gallinules and heard 3 Sora, and I also found 2 Marsh Wrens. And a Savannah Sparrow decided to pose pretty for me.