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The rookery…

When we want to go out and take some pictures the rookery is the closest place to go. Not exactly close mind you, but only a half hour or so away. The overall scene is still full of birds, and the decibel level is still at its peak, but if I didn’t know better I’d think all the birds were adults. Most of these babies still stand in the nest calling for food, or I assume that’s what they are doing. All except for the tricolor heron chicks who are all over the place. They fly in and out, or just perch in plain sight. A nice difference from when the adults were nesting and they were tucked way into the shrubbery and we could see them for only a few seconds as they flew in and out. These guys are still small, or I might have thought they were also adults.

Nice color in the sun.
Still kind of fuzzy-headed.
I wandered down to the far end of the area in search of dragonflies. Much to my surprise I found I’d been standing next to one of these young tricolors for a while, but he didn’t seem to mind.
I argued that this bird on the tippy top of the tree was a great blue heron, and then he struck this pose and yup, it’s an anhinga. Lost that argument.
This posture doesn’t happen often. A Woodstork, not sure if it would also be a juvenile.
I used to think this log was reserved for the anhingas to perch on. Then I took pictures of some turtles on it. Now this egret seems to have taken over. And, speaking of taking over, the vegetation is so thick you can’t see the water. There is water there I presume.
Here’s a close up of that wild and crazy guy from the feature photo.

I wasn’t excited to go to the rookery. I thought there would be nothing new to take pictures of. But there is always something to see, I would think I’d have learned that by now.

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After the rain…

First of all let me confess that the sunrise this morning wasn’t quite as colorful as this picture makes it look. I always use my iPhone when I head to the park in the morning, mostly because of the extra wide angle it gives me, and when I put the pictures into Lightroom this morning and clicked on ‘auto’ it gave me the feature photo you see. It was too pretty to tone it down, so I left it alone.

I barely made it to the park in time. I had looked out the back window at the last minute and saw that the clouds left over from the torrential rain last night were breaking up. And there was some faint pink color in the clouds. But by the time I put some shoes on, grabbed the phone, and walked to the park, the colors were already fading. In my rush I saw that the walkway into the park was covered with puddles, so in my hurry I walked through the grass. I’m pretty sure the the water was deeper in the grass than the puddles were. The weatherman now says that our drought that has been a subject of conversation on the news for quite a while now will be over soon. So, for now, the rain is welcome.

As the sun came up the red colors gave way to yellow-oranges.
I had company, as usual…
When it was time to leave I saw that part of the walkway was dry so I headed that way, but I disturbed some ducks who were using the little playground as a swimming pool.
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Figuring it out…

My trips to the rookery have been disappointing for a while now. Nests that I knew were there were tucked into the foliage, making them impossible to see. But I have now discovered the secret to seeing the chicks that were growing up in those nests. Just wait for them to grow up and leave home. Maybe they are teenager-equivalent now, and mom and dad are having trouble keeping them at home. So it was a couple of days ago that I ‘found’ them, sort of. We were there earlier in the day than we usually are, so maybe that’s another secret I figured out. It was a fun day at the rookery. That’s the snowy egret chicks in the feature photo, not hiding anymore.

Here are two of the snowy chicks, one tip-toeing to sneak up on some unsuspecting creature, and the other one feigning no interest in what was going on.
When I saw this snowy chick down beneath the nest at the water line I was afraid he’d fallen out of the nest. Could he get back up, I wondered? Then I saw that he was busy hunting bugs for lunch and I decided that he was fine.
I think that the black crowned night heron chick was a bit dazed and confused as he stumbled into the daylight.
He seems to have quite a nest tucked in there, lots of places to pop up and say peekaboo!
I think he is ready to find some lunch now.
I haven’t gotten a picture of a glossy ibis in quite a while. But this one flew down to the water right in front of me, and dipped his bill in for a drink.
That must have looked like a good idea to this Woodstork because he quickly followed suit. I guess they are drinking buddies.
The egret chicks were sounding off, loudly. Calling out to anyone who would listen I guess.
It seems like every year, no matter which rookery I visit, there are three nearly grown Woodstork ‘chicks’ standing at attention, quietly waiting to be fed? I call them the three amigos.
But nearby I spotted these two fuzzy headed cuties.
This log usually has an anhinga or two spreading its wings to dry. But on this day there were two romantic turtles whispering sweet nothings, or so I surmise!

The other new thing I noticed that day was the aroma. Not the most pleasant part of the day.

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I spy…

I spy, with my little eye, movement in the shrubbery. I search with my fully extended zoom lens, and ask myself if I really saw a little eye looking out of that shrubbery. And I did! A baby black crowned night heron. A prize ‘catch’, since we all know they are tucked away in there, but finding them is the trick. And then mom is somehow there also, so I set the camera to take bursts of photos and thought I would have lots of pictures of baby heron chicks and their mom to choose from. But there was only one, and I suppose I ought to be happy to have gotten one at least.

The one photo that makes the rest of the 424 pictures worth taking.
It took me a quite a while to notice the black feathers at the front edge of the wood storks wings, and here they are displayed on this baby’s wings. The three amigos.
I was now possessed with zooming into the shrubbery in search of snowy egret chicks, or little blues, or even tricolor chicks. But all I found were great white egret chicks.
Then a tricolor heron would fly in and duck into the foliage just to tease you.
Ibis are so prevalent that I hardly ever take photos of them. I had a whole flock of them in my backyard in Spring Hill all the time. But they aren’t always at this rookery, hence the picture.
It was getting late. The shadows were getting too dark to overcome. And besides, it was bedtime.

Not bedtime for us however. We headed to Ford’s Garage for a beer and some apps. Nice day…

a second look, adventure, birds, dragonflies, egrets, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, nature, perseverance, photography

Babies and more…

This Tampa rookery is one of the closer destinations that we can go for photos from our home base in Wesley Chapel. And this time we found the babies we were seeking the last several times we came here. Plus we found some photographer friends to enjoy the day with us. A nice bonus.

Egret chicks have been a bit elusive until this trip.
Someone is calling for MOM!
I had my long lens on the camera and as I scanned to see what I could see this egret was filling the view finder. No cropping, but I liked the picture.
Then she decided to take off.
Our friend said that the snowy egrets were putting on a show, and I think he was right. I don’t know if I can post a sound clip, but if you are interested, and would like a chuckle, google ‘snowy egret call’.
Up periscope came to mind when I saw this photo.
I didn’t forget the wood stork babies. This guy is getting big.
The water has been overtaken with lily pads since we were here last. I decided to see if I could find any twigs sticking up through the lily pads in hopes that there would be a dragonfly landing on it. And there was, and if that one left another one would land asap.
The black crowned night heron is usually tucked into the low shrubbery, which makes for a tough photo. But just was we were leaving this one hopped up to a branch and spent a bit of time grooming itself.

We should try to get out every day, but my cold has me dragging today. Thankfully I had photos from yesterday to keep me busy. That and a nap…

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4th times a charm…

Finally. Little bobbleheads popping up in the nests. We struck out the first few times we headed to one rookery or the other. Now both are blooming with babies, with more to come. Lots of fun for the photographers in the area.

It took a while to spot the chicks in this tucked-away nest.
A photographer recently pointed out their slightly prehistoric look. I have to agree. Egret chick.
Mom and Dad’s pride and joy. Wood storks.
This seemed to be the biggest baby we saw.
I find these little wood stork babies to be so cute. Or maybe it’s in comparison to their adult selves.
There are two of them.
Cormorants on their favorite stump.
Snowy egrets are there. We hear their funny calls. But their nests are tucked into the low branches too far to hope for a photo.
Stay tuned for more babies. Possibly on easier to see nests.