A mother Raccoon was herding three of her children along the edge of the Vierra Wetlands drive. The slope down away from the road is mowed and then there is a wide section of tall marsh grasses before an impoundment of open water.
We watched from the car as the family was weaving in and out of the taller grasses and reeds. Occasionally mama came further out into the mowed area to check back on what her charges were up to.
Ted and I returned to Florida for five days at the end of February and went to most of the same places I photographed in late January. On my first trip I heard Sandhill Cranes calling at Vierra Wetlands but never saw them. I was delighted to see a pair on the second trip.
When we first saw the pair they were calling repeatedly and appeared to be looking for something. Unfortunately there was nothing nearby to include in the image to indicate their size. Sandhill Cranes are larger than Great Blue Herons, and can weight up to 10 pounds (4.75 KG). Great Blues top out at 5.5 pounds (2.5 KG).
We looped around the wildlife drive and about an hour later found them in about the same spot. They had stopped calling and their attention had turned to preening.
Different Position for me, that is. This was taken about 15 minutes before and standing ten or so feet closer on the path than yesterday’s post of the Alligator Ramp. The two Alligators and group of turtles hadn’t moved much when that first photo was taken.
The change in the sun and my angle created a completely different look of the reflections in the water.
It can be disconcerting when a flock of wading birds lands in a tree over your head. Thoughts of getting pooped on come to mind, and as much as I’d hate to be the recipient of that I’d hate it to land on my camera even more.
This flock of six or eight White Ibis didn’t seem to be concerned about the few photographers standing below and provided some nice poses.
After awhile they took off one by one, and because they were so close to the trees there was no option for in flight photographs.
These were taken in the middle of February and just a few buds were starting to show on the trees.
Several pairs of Great Blue Herons are working on nests around the pond, gathering and arranging sticks in a labor intensive effort.
There does not seem to be any sense of urgency to get the nests completed. The males tend to take long breaks between stick trips, taking time to look around and show off their breeding plumes.
The female below appears to be laying on eggs and didn’t get up when her mate brought this nest contribution. Their nest looks pretty substantial already and she did take the stick and found a spot for it.