More Visitors on the Bay

Two more bird species turned up on Sarasota Bay this morning.  A common loon, down from the lakes of Alaska, Canada or the northernmost U.S., spent much of the day fishing near our sea wall.  Usually seen alone during the winter months, these northern visitors favor large inland reservoirs or relatively shallow bays and estuaries along the coast.  Their famous yodeling is rarely heard until their spring migration begins and they will remain on open water until nesting season is under way.

A pair of pied-billed grebes also graced the bay this morning.  Though permanent residents throughout most of the continental U.S., including Florida, these small, stocky grebes favor freshwater lakes and brackish inlets; in my experience, they are seldom observed on large, open coastal bays and today's visitors were certainly unexpected.  Quick to sink below the surface if disturbed, pied-billed grebes spend much of their time diving for small fish and aquatic invertebrates.

In addition to the bird sightings, large schools of mullet are currently moving through Sarasota Bay, attracting dolphins from the Gulf of Mexico.  A trio of those energetic mammals, always welcome and entertaining visitors, fed near our condo this morning.