On a mission, or so it would seem, this Alligator crossed from one side of the pond to the other without stopping or diverting. His pace was just slow enough he didn’t make much of a ripple in the water.
After he passed the Cyprus tree the reflections from the budding trees on the far bank colored the water.
I’ve seen a Black-crowned Night-Heron on this stretch of bank where some trees have fallen into the pond the past few times I’ve been there. It may be the cover of the limbs that attracts them, although they are exposed to the walking path on the inside.
I was hoping he would do some fishing, but he just looked around. I did get a full side view that shows off his beautiful color scheme, and that red eye!
He eventually flew off but either he or another one returned less then ten minutes later, this time taking a position in the late afternoon sun.
The Tricolored Herons aren’t as tricky with their dance moves as the Reddish Egrets but they are pretty entertaining. This one had been feeding further away then came into the shallow water and strutted around.
We had seen a few White Pelicans in the air earlier in the morning so weren’t too surprised to see them resting on the ground at the edge of a pond and happily stopped to see so many. They were quite a distance off the road but there was a clear view and I would say there were at least two hundred birds.
A number of Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets were sprinkled around the periphery of the group, including this group looking like a police line up.
Most of the Pelicans were preening or resting. A few Coots were going about their business in the water around them.
One daring Great Egret landed right in the middle of small group of Pelicans. The Pelicans took no notice.
Photographed at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, 2/21/2018.
This pair of Northern Shovelers was sticking together as they worked the pond in the early morning light. They were one of only a few water birds in the area that was patrolled by at least two pairs of Bald Eagles making them easy targets.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, 2/21/2018.
Florida’s Vierra Wetlands is a man-made water reclamation facility that “polishes reclaimed water for irrigation or overflow into the adjacent Four-mile Canal” per the Brevard County website.
The 200 acre site hosts a wide variety of local wildlife and migrating and nesting birds, including Great Blue Herons.
Florida’s nesting birds are at least a month ahead of those here in South Carolina. We are just starting to see hatchlings at the local rookeries and these images were taken almost three weeks ago, when we saw some chicks that were close to a month old.
It was quite windy this day, and with the chicks standing you can see there isn’t much to hold them in the nest and there is no protection from the weather.
The placement of the nest on a palm tree top provides some security from predators climbing up, particularly raccoons. Many of the chosen nest trees are also standing in water which means alligators patrol below for potential nest raiders.
The road around the impoundments is elevated from the water giving a direct view into some of the nests.
Click on any image for larger view.
Vierra Wetlands, Brevard County, Florida, 2/21/2018.