Tag Archives: Birds in Flight

Red-shouldered Hawk Lunching, Part 2

This is the tree the Red-shouldered Hawk first chose when he first left the open area with his frog lunch. He was much more protected than on the ground but I could tell he was still uneasy as at least two other Hawks were calling nearby.

Red-shouldered Hawk With Frog
Red-shouldered Hawk, frog parts can be seen hanging below the limb

He took to the air again and I thought I had seen the last of him. I turned the other way back towards the end of the pond to watch the herons and heard a kerfuffle of wings and squawking off to my right.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

I’m not quite sure what happened next as my view was obstructed, but soon the Hawk with the frog changed direction again. You can see a third Hawk in the tree in the background between the tail and wing of Hawk One below.

Red-shouldered Hawk Flying With Frog
Red-shouldered Hawk Flying With Frog – click image for larger view

He went on his way without being followed and presumably finished the frog in peace.

Roseate Spoonbill Taking Off

Roseate Spoonbills in flight are quite attractive, with their beautiful pink wing feathers with the red/pink bands across the edge fully open. This beauty is quite a contrast to their featherless heads and gnarly beaks.

Roseate Spoonbill In Flight
Roseate Spoonbill In Flight

Like the other wading birds I’m more familiar with, the Spoonbills are elegant flyers, with an effortless looking lift off that shows off all their colors.

Roseate Spoonbill In Flight
Roseate Spoonbill In Flight

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, 1/28/2018

Pelican Air Ballet

A fellow photographer spotted the Pelicans at quite a distance when we stopped to view some ducks along Black Point Wildlife Drive. We watched them approach for what seemed like several minutes but probably was only 30 seconds, hoping they would land in the pond in front of us.

American White Pelicans in Flight
American White Pelicans in Flight

Instead they treated us to an amazing aerial  ballet, with the birds shifting position in the group, breaking apart and reforming, in an elegant flight display.

American White Pelicans in Flight
American White Pelicans in Flight

The American White Pelican is one of North America’s largest birds, with a wingspan from 8-10 feet (2.5-3 meters)!

American White Pelicans in Flight
American White Pelicans in Flight

As they glided by I could see that the individual birds adjusted their altitude as well as their flock position and no matter how close they got to each other there was no evidence of an in-flight bump.

American White Pelicans in Flight
American White Pelicans in Flight

Photographed at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida.

Click photos for larger view.

Northern Pintail

A small group of various ducks and American Coots, about fifty or so, was gathered near the edge of the Black Point Wildlife Drive. They didn’t pay much attention to the birders and photographers that stopped to have a look on this morning.

Northern Pintail
Northern Pintail

This Northern Pintail pair found each other in the group…

Northern Pintail
Northern Pintail

…then went about their business.

Northern Pintail
Northern Pintail

Some of the pairs took off as others landed, a constant changing of the group throughout the morning.

Northern Pintail
Northern Pintail

This is the closest I’ve seen a Pintail and was delighted to see how gorgeous they are.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, 01/28/2018.

Tundra Swans Taking Off

We went back to Bear Island Wildlife Management Area for another try at seeing the Tundra Swans taking off from their overnight resting spot. We couldn’t get very close but we did get to see, and hear, a few.

Tundra Swans Taking Off
Tundra Swans Taking Off

These swans can weigh up to 23 pounds (10 Kilos) so getting into the air takes a huge effort and considerable runway distance.

Tundra Swans Taking Off
Tundra Swans Taking Off

The noise of the flapping of their wings echoing across the pond first alerted me. The ducks and other swans behind them paid no attention.

Tundra Swans Taking Off
Tundra Swans Taking Off

Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, 1/24/2018