A little later on, we checked the exposed oyster beds, and found some (you guessed it) Oyster Catchers. They have particularly strong beaks and feet to walk on the sharp oyster shells without getting hurt, and to open them for the juicy morsels. I like their bright red bills.
A park ranger said that the oyster is the most important thing on the coast. Everyone and everything likes to eat it, it filters the water to clean it, and the shells are used for construction, as tools by the Native Americans, and to build up the shoreline itself. When it was time to go back inside for the last session, I decided to play hookey and continue birding for a while, especially when a brilliant orange Oriole flew into a nearby tree, glowing in the sunshine! Before we left the island, Lydia directed us to a small fresh water pond we hadn't found before. Hooded Mergansers shared the shore with Egrets, Herons, Vultures, turtles and an alligator!
In the evening, more birds come in for a choice roosting spot for the night, but we couldn't stay any longer, and finally headed down the road towards home. As we drive up I-95, we notice red flower buds swelling on the maple trees. Have faith! Spring will come again! Next year the Region 3 conference will be in Nashville, TN, a mere three hours from Louisville. We are planning to go again to reconnect with our interpreter friends.