birds, brainstorms, egrets, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip, Uncategorized

At the Venice Rookery…

Procrastination is one of my best talents. It was when I was a kid, and it’s still with me all these years later. As a matter of fact I have two phone calls I need to make, and I ought to be packing for a trip I have coming up. But at this moment I’m lamenting the trip to the Venice Rookery that I’ve been talking about taking for weeks but only got around to going there yesterday. The Great Blue Heron babies bobbing their heads weren’t there, as I’d promised my friend, though the great egrets and anhingas were raising a ruckus. A little mockingbird flew by and landed on a fence, giving me a nice feature photo. But I confess that I was disappointed when another photographer told me that the great blue babies had fledged the nests. But we began to take pictures of the birds that were there.

These anhingas were keeping busy high up on this snag.
Although you might think these are grown up great egrets, they are still babies who looked as if they were going to take off flying any second.
These two anhinga ‘kids’ looked like they might tie their necks in a knot as they bobbed and weaved. Their neck pouches were fluttering the whole time, I’m told that’s how they keep cool. The day was hot, but breezy, so we were comfortable as we ate our picnic lunch in the shade.
This great egret wading on the nearby shore caught my eye, and it soon became evident that he caught himself a nice fish for lunch.

As I walked to the car to get our lunch I noticed a great blue heron flying towards the rookery. She landed on the very top of the shrubbery, and, much to our surprise, up popped two ‘babies’ who were very happy to see her. We hadn’t been aware of them at all, and if we had been I probably would have thought they were adults, they were that big.

Mom must have brought back a fish for her babies.
It looked to me as if this baby is going to down the fish in one gulp. Mom will have to go fishing again if his sibling is going to eat.
I guess we need to fluff up a bit after that excitement.
I liked the depth of field in this photo.
Someone looks like he wants to go with Mom.

Soon it was time to go. What started out a bit disappointing had turned out to be a fun day. Mother Nature is like that.

Thank you to joannie6535 for reminding me of where I actually was yesterday.

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Seafood on the menu…

When our visitor visits Florida she likes having a drink while over- looking the water, and if there are boats in the scene that’s a plus too. Which explains how we wound up having lunch on the boardwalk at John’s Pass on Sunday. We stopped to see the scenery when we first arrived and found lots of birds near the pier where people were gutting newly caught fish and tossing the trimmings to the milling pelicans below. Among a few other scavengers.

Here we have a snowy egret surveying the scene.
She got a bit up close and personal for a minute or two.
I thought these two pelicans had found a worm of some kind, but I was told this is entrails. I had quite a few pictures of the battle, but the victor finally flew away with the entrails still wrapped around his beak.
This fella caught his own lunch.
The atmosphere is old fishing village, I find it charming.
Lots of boats, large and small, pass by.
Some require a bit of adjustments as they pass.
a second look, birds, Florida wildlife, fun, nature, perseverance, photography

They’re growing up…

As we drove the the Tampa rookery yesterday I did what I always do, I anticipated all the chicks we were going to see. Not just the usual suspects, I was also anticipating possibly seeing Try-color heron chicks, and Snowy egret chicks. Oh, yes, I was excited. But what I discovered seemed to be that in addition to the chicks growing bigger, the shrubbery itself seemed to have grown in the week since our last stop. The nests that I had located in the past were barely visible, and new ones were nowhere to be seen. In the feature photo is an egret chick that was out wandering on his own. I hope he found his way back to his nest. But I did see babies…

Look how round and pudgy this guy looks. I was sure he was a baby.
Then he stretched himself out to hunt and I stood corrected,,
Up periscope is what crossed my mind when I saw these two.
Mom! MOM! Llook at me mom!
I’m THIS big, Mom!
I had to zoom into the foliage to find these two, and crop like crazy.
“I’m bigger!” is what I imagine him saying.
Who’s bigger now?

I will be stopping at the rookery closer to home in the next few days. We’ll see what’s going on there. Probably more of the same.

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On closer examination…

I often begin telling myself stories about the photos I’m taking while I’m taking them. Looking through the lens I think I know what’s happening as I’m watching, but equally as often I am totally off the mark. When I was taking pictures of these anhinga chicks I thought I’d say they are the three amigos, just singing together while they wait for mom to show up with food. Kind of like this photo. Except of course for the fact that mom was actually present, but her dark color had her blending into the background.

The family that sings together…

The reality of the situation was revealed when I looked at the pictures in the computer. It was a different situation all together. When a photographer friend said that anhinga chicks feed by sticking their beaks down their mother’s throats I said that I was glad I’m not an anhinga. And I am… glad that is.

Ouch!
Again, ouch…
Perhaps we’ll see cattle egret chicks before too long. That would be a first for me.
This egret photobombed my shot…
I knew there were chicks in this nest, but I had to wait because it looked like a pile of feathers as I concentrated on the other birds. Then mom and dad stood up.
Have I mentioned that it was breezy that morning?
I was paying attention to these three wood storks because it looked as if they were all laying on one nest. When they got up I saw two nests, and if you look real carefully you will see a tiny, tiny chick in the bottom nest.
Maybe it really does take a village.
These wood stork chicks are a far cry from the tiny one in the last photo. I love the wooly look they get at this stage.
And last but not least, a close up of the egret chicks who will one day grow into such beautiful, graceful birds. But right now not so much…

Since I can’t ride past this nest on my way to and from just about anywhere you will be seeing baby birds a while longer. Nature at her finest!

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The star of the show…

Off we went to the rookery again, this time sure that the egret chicks would be bobbing their little heads at us. But not only did we not see egret chicks, the nests that I knew had wood stork chicks were pretty quiet also. So it was this tricolor heron that captured my attention. I spent a lot of time trying to photograph them at my old house as they flitted around the shoreline of the pond out back. I missed way more shots than I managed to take, they were too quick for me. But this guy was walking the shoreline towards me, and though I was only 15 or so feet away he kept on coming, too close for my lens at times. For some reason that little voice in my head was saying, “Along came a spider and sat down beside her.’

I never realized what big feet they have.
I don’t think that he really has a glass eye, but I thought it looks like it in this photo.
And then he decided to head back to his nest.
The nest si too tucked into the shrubbery to see it, which is a shame because I don’t think I’ve ever seen their chicks.

The next day I saw great pictures of the chicks that I’m sure were taken at this same rookery. Midday is not the best time to shoot wildlife in general. And even at the zoo. You would think I would have learned that lesson by now. So thank you to this tricolor heron, my star of the show and savior of that trip to the rookery.

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Cheering myself up…

I’m attempting to cheer myself up with my photos today. I woke up in a down kind of mood, for no particular reason. So then I decided to get a haircut, and I got scalped! So I could go crawl in a hole for a couple of weeks while my hair grows, or look at my pictures of the cute little chicks I saw the other day. I hope they can do it for me…

I had been there for a little while without spotting egret chicks, which was my goal for the day. Then along came a gal who visits every day, and she kindly pointed them out to me. I think they are the ugly ducklings of the rookery, but they will grow into such beautiful birds.
They were secluded in the nest, but soon they will be big enough to poke their little heads up higher and yell to mom to feed them.
These wood stork chicks are a few days older I think, and their lung power is developing nicely. I think these guys are adorable, at least when they are little.
There is a certain lack of privacy in the rookery. I was looking at the egret and seeing bobbing heads. I sometimes think they look like they are babysitting their neighbor’s chicks.
This anhinga chick is singing along with mom, or maybe that’s dad.
Have no fear though, more egret chicks are coming…