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.
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.
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.
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.
The Black-crowned Night Herons built their nests on the interior of the swamp’s islands so we haven’t seen much of the juveniles. A few weeks ago they started to venture out onto branches and this week we’ve seen some fly.
This one dropped down near the path giving me an opportunity for a portrait. His eyes haven’t yet turned to the characteristic red that makes this heron really stand out as an adult.
Taking a longer flight, this heron flew to the next island, showing off his sizable feet. Like the Great Blue Herons, the Night Herons seem to be on their own learning to fly.
He found a perch and stayed with it. He had a great spot for watching the Little Blue Herons work on their flying lessons.
Great Egret chicks number two was resting comfortably on his pile of sticks. If you look closely you can see his eye is open, but he wasn’t moving.
Number one is up and wants the world to know.
“OK, I’m up. Now what are we going to do?”
The egret and heron chicks spend weeks in the nest with no where to go and not much to do. When they get older I’ve seen them spar with each other once in awhile. Otherwise, getting fed and growing is their main order of business. Oh, and sleeping.