Category Archives: Birds

Lazy Hot Day

It was a hot afternoon at the swamp and now that nesting season is about over the Great Egrets that are still around don’t have much to do when they aren’t feeding.

Scratch in itch, if you can reach it with your beak.

Great Egret
Great Egret

Or go the traditional route, showing off a one-legged stance.

Great Egret
Great Egret

Itch satisfied let’s survey the swamp.

Great Egret
Great Egret

Or catch a few ZZZs.

Great Egret
Great Egret

These dead tree branches add nice interest to the photographs, but the sky was dull. I used some filters in Nik’s Color Efex Pro to add some depth to the background.

Little Blue Heron Flight School

Adult Little Blue Herons teach their young to fly by encouraging them, sometimes with food, out to the end of a branch. The adult then takes off, hoping the juvenile will follow.

Little Blue Heron Flight School
Little Blue Heron Flight School

Although the juveniles have been venturing onto the branches for a couple of weeks, In the beginning actually lifting off is a tough sell.

Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School
Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School

Many of the families have three or four chicks and the sibling competition seems to spur them on. This fellow appeared to be an only child, or maybe the others have already moved on.

Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School
Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School

“I don’t know if I can do this!”

Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School
Juvenile Little Blue Heron Flight School

Success! It was a short hop but he made it and landed successfully.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron

The Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron was part of the wading bird mix in the receding waters of this pond last week. Despite their name we do see them out during the day hunting while the hunting is good.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron

His shorter legs did not slow him down as he worked the water along with the other birds looking for food.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron

The mud, however, is more of an impediment when most of your legs and feet are in it.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron

Here is view of a cleaner bird after he flew into a tree for a safer vantage point of the pond activity.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron

Click on any photo for larger view.

Green Reflections

A pair of Juvenile Snowy Egrets were using the alligator platform to practice strutting their stuff.

Juvenile Snowy Egrets
Juvenile Snowy Egrets

Their reflections were interrupted by the duckweed, but I liked the tree reflections across the water.

Juvenile Snowy Egrets
Juvenile Snowy Egrets

This platform sits just off one of the islands where several Snowy Egrets nested. We could hear them but have rarely seen them.

Spoonbills Get Points for Style

This group of wading birds was moving down the impoundment as a pack, presumably following the fish.

Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbills moving with the crowd that includes Great Egrets and Stilts with Wood Storks and more Egrets in the back

Many of the Roseate Spoonbills broke off on their own, preferring to feed in smaller groups or maybe needing shallower water. This older Spoonbill, identifiable by the darker pink on his wings, gets points for the big “swoosh” of water.

Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

Setting up for the landing with uneven feet is awkward, but he pulled it off,

Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

A near miss, this elegant landing scores extra for not disturbing his neighbor and for carrying a blade of marsh grass on his beak through the flight.

Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

Click any photo for larger view.

Wading Bird Extravaganza

We found the mother lode today. Of wading birds, that is. A state managed wildlife area near us controls the water depth in these impoundments to “provide quality habitat” for various bird species. Some days you go here and see nothing. Today was nothing short of amazing.

Wading Birds
Wading Birds spread across the impoundment – click photo for larger view

At this time of year the water is kept low in various spots and the wading birds get access to an ample supply of easily obtainable food. There were so many birds it was hard to get a good shot of the group. In addition to those seen here Roseate Spoonbills, Tri-color Heron, Skimmers, and Great Blue Heron were well represented and all mixed in together.

Wading Birds
Wading Birds: Wood Stork, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Glossy Ibis, Black Necked Stilt  – click photo for larger view

Over the course of the three hours we watched this morning groups moved around to various areas of the pond or left, perhaps full and looking for a cooler spot to spend the rest of the day.

Wading Birds
Wading Birds – Snowy Egrets taking flight – click photo for larger view

Juvenile Little Blue Herons

The juvenile Little Blue Herons are spreading out away from their nests and just when one thinks he has found his own piece of paradise he gets company.

Juvenile Little Blue Herons
Juvenile Little Blue Herons

These sticks are from a dead branch that fell in a storm earlier this summer and it makes an easy landing spot for the young birds. Unfortunately it provides no protection from alligators that could easily lurch out of the water and snatch one of them.

Juvenile Little Blue Herons
Juvenile Little Blue Herons

This section of the pond is choked with duckweed and the alligators travel easily  unseen beneath it. Even if they do see a predator the herons rarely take evasive action.

Juvenile Little Blue Herons
Juvenile Little Blue Herons

There are no ducks around to eat the duckweed right now and the conditions seem to be perfect for it to thrive, making for very green photographs.

Juvenile Little Blue Herons
Juvenile Little Blue Herons

Sharing a Tree

I could hear the Red-bellied Woodpecker around the swamp from the distinctive shrill call. Sound bouncing off the water can make the exact direction hard to pinpoint. Eventually the flash of red gave away his position.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

This tree branch has a number of holes the woodpecker was exploring while a juvenile Little Blue Heron looked on.

Red-bellied Woodpecker and Juvenile Little Blue Heron
Red-bellied Woodpecker and Juvenile Little Blue Heron

Satisfied, the heron returned to sentry duty.

Red-bellied Woodpecker and Juvenile Little Blue Heron
Red-bellied Woodpecker and Juvenile Little Blue Heron