Sometimes we are lucky enough to encounter beauty in the world around us when we least expect it. One recent morning, while I was busy looking down instead of up, the Roseate Spoonbill featured above (and below) in this post just appeared out of nowhere! Suddenly someone called out, “Oh, look, a Roseate Spoonbill!”, and I was fortunate to snap a few shots quickly as he passed overhead and flew off into the distance. Both the Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology refer to the Roseate Spoonbill as a ‘bizarre’ wading bird. True, they are curious-looking, but I much prefer to think of our strikingly pink Spoonbill as “flamboyant”, as described in the detailed Birds of America Online!! Once hunted for their magnificent plumage, the Spoonbill is a large wading bird, with a huge 50″ wingspan. It forages in shallow water, sweeping its large, spatula-shaped bill side-to-side until the bill snaps closed upon contact with small fish or other aquatic prey. A tiny fraction of the size of the Spoonbill, our endearing little Warblers and other small birds are returning in greater numbers every week. A few days before the Spoonbill and I crossed paths, I heard this diminutive bird above chirping in the trees. So small and so fast, they have always been very difficult for me to photograph – I was sure that I would lose track of him as he flitted from one branch to another. But he eventually emerged from the woods and hopped along among the marsh reeds. I managed to capture him in the shadows before he took off again, but alas…. I’m still not sure what he is…..?? Though some encounters are unexpected, other birds are truly ‘regulars’, and they joyfully make their presence known nearly all year round. I always feel uplifted when I hear the unmistakable loud trill of the Red-winged Blackbird, as he flaunts his brilliant red shoulder patches, singing out with all his heart. For those who sometimes encounter harder-to-identify birds by their sounds, check out the wonderful online resource at All About Birds called All About Birds Songs and Calls!