A Day on the Bay

Awakening to the yodel of a common loon, I looked out to find Sarasota Bay shrouded in fog. The loon drifted on its surface, just off shore, and the distant silhouettes of herons and egrets, standing in the Bay, let me know that low tide was at hand. By mid morning, the fog began to lift and small flocks of ibis, wood storks and snowy egrets moved between the mangove islands. A lone dolphin plied the boat channel, a flotilla of white pelicans gathered in a nearby cove and, out on the calm waters, double-crested cormorants and red-breasted mergansers dove for their breakfast.

Clear, sunny skies illuminated the Bay by mid afternoon, drawing brown pelicans, belted kingfishers, ospreys and royal terns to the scene, circling above the water before diving to snare their prey. Along the sea wall, great blue and green-backed herons patrolled for insects, lizards and small fish while, near the entrance to our harbor, a large school of striped sheepheads drifted through the clear, sunlit water.

This evening, as a full moon rose above Sarasota Bay, squadrons of laughing gulls, white ibis, snowy egrets and royal terns headed for their nightly roosts. All was silent except for the intermittent splash of restless fish, seemingly glad to have survived another day amidst their numerous avian predators.