WHITE-WINGED SCOTER

White-winged Scoter, Parrish Park, Titusville FL

CONTINUING THE THEME OF ARCTIC BREEDING BIRDS, a White-winged Scoter had been found during the birding festival near the A. Max Brewer Causeway to Merritt Island. Happily I was able to chase it on my last morning and it was still loafing around under the bridge at Parrish Park. Another Florida rarity and, following its recent split, a very welcome world lifer for me, which I had missed in several other places until now. The flat calm waters of the Indian River also provided a refuge to a couple of Black Scoters, with hundreds of Lesser Scaup, four Common Loons (or Great Northern Divers) and seven Horned Grebes of note. Whilst watching the scoter I spotted some air bubbles, away from where the loons were fishing and to my delight a Manatee's head popped up out of the water and I was able to take a short video of it as it swam by a few metres away. After a quick visit to the world famous Ron Jon's surf shop in Cocoa Beach I called in at St Cloud on the way to the airport, where on the shores of East Lake Tohopekaliga I added a Snail Kite and four very accommodating River Otters before it was time to start the long journey home. The temperature was back to a more normal-for-Florida 82 degrees fahrenheit today...  although the 'Polar Vortex's' next cold front was only a day away. I also see that 'Storm Brigid' is forecast to bring chaos to the UK after I get back as the series of severe weather events continues.

Snail Kite, East Lake Tohopekaliga

River Otters, East Lake Tohopekaliga

Skater's paradise at Ron Jon's (IPhone 5S Hipstamatic).