There was a sure sign that Spring is returning to Central Florida this morning at Mead Gardens–the lovely sound of Northern Parula singing in the Live Oak trees. It’s a very welcome sound, and I found about 5 this morning, though none posed for photographs. A pair of Wood Ducks, however, were just begging to get their pictures taken. They were sitting on a tree branch which hangs over the water (one of their favorite places to perch), and I couldn’t help but fire off a ton of shots of one of my favorite ducks.
The Northern Parula were accompanied by Blue-gray Gnatcatchers (they sure know how to strike a pose!), Ruby-crowned Kinglets, American Goldfinch, Palm Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a nice Black-and-white Warbler. Gray Catbirds and Carolina Wrens also frequently made their presence known. I also found about three Hermit Thrushes, which is always a treat.
But the highlight of the morning was finding the Rufous Hummingbird that has been wintering in the Gardens. I normally arrive and leave early, and I suspect I’ve just been missing her. But this morning was warm, and I found her for the first time this year in the butterfly garden.