birds, Florida wildlife, live and learn, nature, nesting, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, pond creatures, Tricolored heron

Venis rookery…

When I first heard the term ‘rookery’ I thought it meant an official facility of some sort.  I didn’t expect that it was just an island in a small body of water that had been selected by the wild birds, lots of wild birds, as the place to nest and raise their young.  Don’t bother trying to google this place because it wouldn’t come up for me, but luckily for me my big day of photo ops included a stop here.  It was worthwhile even if I didn’t see the alligator that my friend insisted was right there in front of me.  I guess I was too busy looking at the birds.

I didn’t see what creature jumped into the water as this Tri-color Heron zeroed in on him.  But what I did see was the heron walking along the edge of the water towards me, coming almost too close to me for me to be able to fit him in the picture with the zoom lens I had in the camera.  I kept taking pictures, and it was only later that I realized that he was following the trail of bubbles that his prey was leaving, probably without realizing it.  5-12great15-12hotpursuit25-12hotpursuit3The trail of bubbles led away from me, and at last glance the heron was still following, hoping for dinner.  Or possibly desert…

My recent photo excursions have had me distracted from the Sandhill crane family that lives on my lake.  So much so that I hadn’t even done a head count in a couple of days.  I’ve missed several perfect opportunities by letting Ozzie out and discovering that they are right out back, and they head to the other side of the lake before I can get the camera out.  At least I know that they are all present and accounted for, as of last night that is.  And growing fast!5-13longlegs5-13longlegs2

 

backyard visitors, birds, ducks, Florida wildlife, home, Ibis, life goes on, nature, photography, Tricolored heron

Glossy Ibis, a newcomer…

When you let Ozzie out and the ducklings are right out back it’s hard to resist going back in for your camera.  And as you watch you spot a dark bird on the far side of the lake and take some photos of him also, and try to figure out what exactly he is.5-5glossyibis2

My first thought was Glossy Ibis because his back shone iridescent in the sunlight, and I was right, but I didn’t realize how red their heads can be.  Another bird I hadn’t seen on the lake before.  It took a while to notice the Tri-color Heron out there.5-5tri-color

But it was the ducklings that Ozzie and I mostly enjoyed.  And you see how terrified of Ozzie they were.  5-5oxandducks25-5ducklings15-5ducklings2

My efforts to see the cranes as they leave in the morning have backfired.  Oh I see them as they crest the hill and come into view…5-4cranes2

But each time I’ve been waiting for them they haven’t continued onto the pond behind mine, and I suspect that it was my presence that sent them scurrying up the street.  And, sure enough, I walked Ozzie this morning the cranes were at that pond, and probably had been there a while enjoying it since it was well after sunrise.  As much as I like to get nice photos I really don’t want to disturb them so I guess I’ll try to resist stalking them.

 

And when you are out back watching duckling and other creatures it can almost be a surprise to see the crane family returning after their day’s adventures.  Another day drawing to a close…5-5cranesreturn

backyard visitors, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, nesting, photography, pond creatures, Tricolored heron

Assumptions…

I frequently assume I know what’s going to happen next, based on what has happened in the past, and I’m frequently wrong.  But not this time.  When I first noticed that the Sandhill cranes had taken their newly hatched chicks off the lake this morning I wasn’t surprised.  Last year’s family had only spent one full day on the lake before doing the same thing.  I told myself that I wasn’t going to go one block over to look for them, and then I went anyhow.4-18close-up4-18close-up24-18close-up3And waiting for them to come ‘home’ at night is a lot like waiting for your teenagers to come home on the weekends.  They show up just as you are starting to panic.  They wander down from the yard across the street, heading for the lake.  It was a lot later than I expected, not until 5:40, and they didn’t seem to dawdle, it was time for Dad to fly over to the nest and clear out all the interlopers.4-18dadtakesover4-18dadtakesover24-18dadtakesover3Dad then led the charge to the nest.  Day two for the new family…

Florida wildlife, nature, nesting, photography, Tricolored heron

A watched pot…

I got home from my eagle hunting yesterday to find the Sandhill cranes were laying out on the site of last year’s nest. Of course I immediately assumed that they had been there all day, and that maybe she was sitting on eggs. Well, that hope was dashed this morning when neither one was out there on the nest. No cranes means no eggs. It was January 20th last year when they laid their eggs, according to one neighbor. But they came back this afternoon, and are out there on the nest right now, and, since I’m ever the optimist, it’s just a matter of time.1-20crane2 copy1-20standingcrane copy

When I got home today I checked to see if cranes were out there and noticed a bird flitting from spot to spot along the water’s edge. To me that indicated the Tri-color heron, but when I went out with the camera all I could find was a Little Blue heron. A large Little Blue Heron. Maybe I ought to run his photo through Merlin just in case.  But that sneaky little Tri-color was out there after all.  I love it when I’m right.1-20littleblueheron1 copy1-202herons copy1-20tri-colorAnd, the eagle hunting.  I forgot to post my favorite photo from yesterday.1-19eaglepose2copy

I’m not seeing any sun out there, and I’m chilly here in the house, so the sunset probably isn’t in the cards tonight. I guess that means I’m done here. I see a Grace and Frankie marathon in my immediate future.

 

birds, Florida wildlife, natural wonders, nature, photography, Tricolored heron

Birds, and more birds…

It was the Sandhill cranes calling that got me outside to see what was happening on the lake.  I never did see the cranes, although I heard them calling, loudly.   Even so it was pleasant outside with the sun on my back and neck, warm after all my complaining about being too cold.  And to set the stage further, a neighbor off to my right has several yappy little dogs, and a rowdy little kid with a cap gun.  Every time said kid fired the cap gun the dogs yapped up a storm.  Just wanted you to have the whole picture.

First I saw the Palm Warbler, tiny though he is.1-16Palm Warbler2And the Little Blue Heron was on the post, nothing new there.  But he was minding his own business when the Tri-colored Heron booted him off and took the post over.  1-16littleblueheron copy1-16kickedout copy1-16tri-colorThe sun was pleasant while I watched.  And eventually I spotted a bird that didn’t look familiar, so I zoomed in for a closer look.1-16killdeer41-16killdeer3Merlin says it’s a Killdeer.  He was right on time since I got an emailed heads-up to look for them because they have arrived in our area.  Prompt little thing.

You may have had your doubts about Merlin’s identification of the Yellow-rumped Warbler, I know that I did. 1-16Yellow-rump21-16yellow-rumpedwarbler11-16Yellow-rump3 copy Let’s just say that I am convinced…