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.
For someone who got up at 4 AM I’m not sure how I managed to be too late getting out of the house to get to Safety Harbor for the sunrise. But my ulterior motive for going there was to see the owlets at Philippe Park again before they leave the nest, and it wasn’t too late to see them so off I went. As usual there were photographers busily clicking away, and soon I was too. The first of the owlets was in view, and his light coloring on top of his head allowed me to spot him pretty quickly.
I heard comments around me that indicated that there were two owlets there, but I couldn’t see a second one, not while I was taking the photos.
Mom was nearby and it took a lot more looking on my part for me to spot her. And is it any wonder? Nature is amazing, look how camouflaged she is! Crows were making pests out of themselves again today but for some reason it didn’t cause much commotion. The first owlet, however, did flap it’s wings and it moved over to the right where it was almost completely hidden by the Spanish moss. Maybe that left room for owlet #2 to pop up, and #3 was right there too. This was such a treat for me. I had heard that there were three in the nest, but I told myself to be happy to get shots of one at least. What a day!
I made a quick stop at the rookery today, and found that the only action going on was at the wood stork nest. Oh the decibel level was up, somewhere more babies were demanding food from their overworked parents, but the only movement I could see was at the same nest I noticed last time.
It is nice to find photo ops in my own neighborhood…
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.
I visited the rookery yesterday and found nest after nest of what appeared to be nearly full grown wood storks, mostly standing at attention. Waiting for what I wonder, mom to feed them? I love the expression on the face of the younger one in the feature photo, I think they are still my favorite babies. I think this egret mother takes her life in her hands when she shows up to feed her babies. They tackle her, it doesn’t look pleasant, for mom at least.
The cattle egret babies are growing too. Without an adult on the nest with them it took me a minute to realize which nest was theirs.
A friend told me that the wood storks have taken over this rookery, it wasn’t always this way. I lived in the area for 10 years before I ever knew that it was there, and now I have to wonder what happens at the end of the season. I’ve been headed north by this time the last two years in a row, so I guess I flew the coop before they did. Do they all just fly off one day? I’ve stopped out of curiosity when it isn’t breeding season and there wasn’t a single bird around at all. It would be fun to see all those big babies start flapping their wings and taking off, but so far I haven’t seen any practicing. I’m just as bad. I feel like flapping my wings and taking off too, but can’t seem to make a plan.
My old friend says that the secret to life is to never make a plan, then everything is always going according to plan. I wonder how his life might have changed if he had had a plan. And my life looks nothing like I ever thought it might despite all the plans I made for myself over the years. I feel like I should say something profound right about now, but I haven’t got a clue. Just letting the days pass…