There’s a new rookery in town. Or, more correctly, a rookery that I’ve been hearing about but it’s taken me too long to try and find it. But the other day we went looking and discovered a lovely spot with easy access, and, best of all, we didn’t have to shoot over a fence to see the birds. The babies are mostly grown now, so I have made a mental note to go back in the spring to see the babies at their cutest.
It’s always fun to find a new place to go take pictures, and this one is close enough to be able to drop in to see what’s happening when the timing is better. In the meantime there are lots more places for us to go and find new and different things to see.
This morning I went out in search of my one-footed, blue-feathered, boyfriend Fred. He let me down though, he failed to show up. When I saw this egret coming in for a landing I got excited for a second, but nope, not him. She did fly off in the direction of the house where Fred is treated to breakfast though, in the far right of the feature photo. Maybe Fred has a new girlfriend. Maybe my imagination has gotten the best of me.
Did I say a walk? It was nearly a sprint, maybe a trot. My cousin is fast! But we had a lot of territory to cover in one morning, or so I thought. As it turned out we parked the car and then were able to walk to the Lightner Museum, Flagler College, the charming shopping area, the fort, and the Bridge of Lions. Great restaurants and coffee shops were pointed out to me as we walked. This is a great place to visit. Even the lighthouse was pretty darned close by. What more could you possibly ask for?
I got a little carried away with the wood stork chicks at the rookery the other day. I do think they are cute, in an a ‘face only a mother could love’ sort of way. Plus they were really the only game in town. They are always earlier than the egrets, but I did expect to see a few egret chicks by now, but I didn’t see any. I asked another family that was watching if they had seen the alligator, and the dad answered that yes, he had seen one. What followed was a comedy of errors as they, the father, grandfather, and young granddaughter who was manning the binoculars, began to spot alligator after alligator. Or so they said. I on the other had spotted none, but that didn’t stop me from shooting in the general the direction of where they were pointing. Eventually I did hear the dad suggest that what they were seeing might be soft shell turtles. My feature photo seems to have proved him correct.
Yes, the lovely egrets were present, but without a busy nest of chicks to tend. Not so far at least.
Okay, maybe love is in the air, maybe not, but love is certainly at the rookery. Breeding plumage is on display. There is much posturing to attract the opposite sex, and, with the help of another peeping Tom with a pair of binoculars, I saw babies on one nest! They were tucked down in the twigs of the nest enough that I”m not sure I’d have spotted them without the heads up. I didn’t even have my biggest lens on the camera because I wasn’t expecting to see chicks yet. I’ll be more prepared next time.
Friends were taking a day trip today, but I decided that I wanted to stick closer to home. And I did, but I stuck even closer than I thought I would. Usually I drive a little way to see the eagles, and I had that in mind, but then I remembered the eagle nest that’s practically in my back yard. Trouble is that I hardly ever see eagles there when I check, I suspected it had been abandoned. But today one of them was keeping watch over the nest. I couldn’t see any other activity, but I’ll be checking it out from now on.
As I watched the eagle I couldn’t help but notice all the various birds flying overhead, and that reminded me that it had been a long time since I had checked out the nearby rookery. So I went home and got my ladder, because shooting over the fence would be impossible with out it, and sure enough, there was lots of housekeeping going on there.
I don’t recall seeing a snowy egret here before. Maybe we’ll get to see a new family this year. Possibly not the most exciting news for everyone, but that possibility is enough to make me happy. And that goes for the feature photo, a tricolor heron, too. I was always so happy to see them on the pond in my back yard, they were a favorite of mine. But I honestly didn’t realize what I was looking at when I was trying to get a photo, I thought it was a little blue heron, which is the same mistake I used to make out on the lake. Again, I would love to see him or her raise a family in this little rookery also. So much excitement this time of year, and so close to home.