Our second port of call on our February cruise was Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands. We had no excursion booked, so we just rented a couple bikes for the morning. We headed towards town, but didn't quite know what we were going for, if anything. Grand Turk is a coral island so thankfully the ride was pretty much flat (a good thing).
The major industry on Grand Turk is salt production and we hoped we'd see some birds on one of the island's many ponds. At the first pond, we saw a small group of White-cheeked Pintails. They had great markings, including a big white cheek and orange stripe down the sides of their beak.
On the same pond was a nice sized group of Black-necked Stilts. Beyond them was a group of sandpiper-types and further still, a couple herons, but without a scope, we couldn't confidently make a call on any of them.
At the next pond were Ruddy Turnstones and at another, two Tri-colored Herons. One of the tri-coloreds was not shy and actually approached me, giving me the opportunity for some nice close-up shots.
The other heron stayed further back, foraging for food. It would pull its head back toward the body, its neck crooked almost snake-like. With eyes focused on the prey it would uncoil and strike, bringing in its bounty.
In another pond, a Reddish Egret perched on a log, preening, and looked like it was already in breeding plumage with pink bill and pinker head and neck plumage. It shared the pond with a number of what I believe are Royal Terns.
We biked along yet another pond, this one was littered with human debris. But the birds were there nonetheless, like this Little Blue Heron atop a discarded propane tank.
We retraced our route back to the cruise center and got one last look at the ducks, who hadn't moved much in the hour or so since we had passed. It was a nice visit to Grand Turk: a few birds and a nice bike ride, both beneath the bright Caribbean sun.
Grand Turk Fun Fact: After orbiting the earth 3 times, astronaut John Glenn's Friendship 7 capsule splashed down in the waters near Grand Turks. He was taken to Grand Turk for debriefing and medical exams.