Today is Ed's birthday, so that means we have to do what Ed wants, at least to a point.

Before we left home, Ed decided that this is a birding trip --- he wants to use some of the bigger camera lenses he hasn't used for awhile. With that in mind he chose to go to Weedon Island Preserve.

The park has a paved trailed as well as a couple of board walk trails. The first board walk trail took us throw a mangrove swamp to an observation tower.

The view from the observation tower. There were lots of people fishing, from boats, kayaks, paddle boards, piers and some were even standing in the water.

A flock of white pelicans performed an aerial routine for us.

The gopher tortoise, the state tortoise of Florida, is a keystone species because it digs burrows that provide shelter for at least 360 other animal species. The tortoises are threatened by predators and habitat destruction.

We were lucky enough to see two gopher tortoises. One was hanging out by his burrow, the second walked down the trail to the first tortoise's burrow.

We walked past a couple of salt water ponds. At the first pond we saw lots of small fish swimming around. At the second pond we saw two Ibis across the pond and some jumping fish. At the third water area (which I think was an inlet off Tampa Bay) we hit pay dirt. A hundred or more birds were busy having lunch. At first the birds were quite far away but happily the birds moved closer to us as they ate.

The Roseate Spoonbills were beautiful as usual.



There were hundreds of Ibis, at least a dozen Great White Egrets, a number of Little Blue Herons and some Snowy Egrets.

The sun was bright and the water clear so the reflections were interesting.

All of a sudden the Ibis and Roseate Spoonbills rose in unison and flew away. Then we heard the familiar cry of an Osprey as he flew into a tree bordering the water. It was interesting that the herons and egrets were not affected by the arrival of the Osprey.

I stopped to talk to a woman along the boardwalk and she pointed out black spots on the trees. If you made movement toward the spot --- it scampered out of view. The spots were Mangrove Crabs.

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Once you knew the crabs were on the trees, they were easy to spot.

A Great Blue Heron was tired of Ed and John taking photos of it so it decided to leave.

What is a birthday without a birthday dinner. Before we left home, Ed went on trip adviser and found the Harry Seltzer's Steakhouse. Because it was Ed's birthday, the table was given a free bottle of wine and Ed got a free desert. On top of that the food was excellent.