Red-shouldered Hawk Day, Sighting 2

My second Red-shouldered Hawk sighting on Tuesday’s walk was further off the path, but with no leaves on the trees I had a clear view.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

This hawk was looking more put together than the bedraggled one from Sighting 1  and notice his tail is held tightly together.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

The hawk was watching all around him, but with one foot up was pretty relaxed.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

Follow The Leader

The sun was going down behind me as I looped back by the pond where I had photographed the Mottled Duck pair and Tricolored Heron.

I took some landscape images and then realized the ducks and heron were still there, in the tall grass.

Pond, Sun's Last Rays
Pond, Sun’s Last Rays

The Tricolored Heron started working his way back out into the open.

Tricolored Heron and Mottled Duck Pair
Tricolored Heron and Mottled Duck Pair

And the ducks followed him.

Tricolored Heron and Mottled Duck Pair
Tricolored Heron and Mottled Duck Pair

The heron continued to wade and the ducks swam behind, all in a row.

Tricolored Heron and Mottled Duck Pair
Tricolored Heron followed by Mottled Duck Pair

Red-shouldered Hawk Day, Sighting 1

On my walk around Magnolia Plantation and Gardens yesterday I came upon three separate Red-shouldered Hawks just waiting to be photographed. This first one was perched over a small pond, looking like he’d just been for a swim.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

He’s got what looks like duck weed stuck to his chest.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

He was sitting with his tail somewhat fanned out, showing of the stripe on the underside.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

Some preening and fluffing up made him look more bedraggled, at least temporarily.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

Tricolored Heron in Pond

Just a few feet away from the Mottled Ducks of my last post a Tricolored Heron was standing around.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron

He poked the water a few times and made some ripples but he didn’t seem to be actively fishing.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron

He settled in and I moved on.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron

A wider view of the pond and the wildlife:

Mottled Duck Pair and Tricolored Heron
Mottled Duck Pair and Tricolored Heron

Baily Tract, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
January 6, 2020

Mottled Duck

This pair of Mottled Ducks was swimming in and out of patches of late afternoon sun on a shallow pond.

Mottled Duck Pair
Mottled Duck Pair

I stopped at a bench at the edge of the pond and they watched me as I watched them.

Mottled Duck
Mottled Duck

Baily Tract, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
January 6, 2020

I used the Merlin App to identify these as Mottled Ducks. Further reading at Cornell’s All About Birds:

It’s reminiscent of a female Mallard or an American Black Duck, but this is the closely related Mottled Duck. They’re so closely related that hybridization, especially with Mallards, poses a real threat to the Mottled Duck’s future.

In Florida, hybridization with introduced Mallards has produced many so-called “Muddled Ducks,” and care is needed to confirm identification of a “pure” Mottled Duck.

Reddish Egret Fishing Moves

Like most wading birds the Reddish Egret can spend a lot of time standing around. But when they are ready to hunt, look out!

Reddish Egret
Reddish Egret

They use their whole body: running, raising their wings, jumping in the air, and bam!

Reddish Egret
Reddish Egret

He got a little fish for dinner.

Reddish Egret
Reddish Egret

Then it starts again.

Reddish Egret
Reddish Egret

Hopefully some of his catch will be bigger, otherwise he would never be able to eat enough to support all this exercise.

Reddish Egret
Reddish Egret

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
December 31, 2019