Tag Archives: Birds

Wood Stork Take Off

Wood Storks take a few hops before they get into the air when taking off from water.

Wood Stork Taking Off
Wood Stork Taking Off

Then they lift their legs up behind them and give a few strong beats of their wings.

Wood Stork Taking Off
Wood Stork Taking Off

And away they go.

Wood Stork Taking Off
Wood Stork Taking Off

If I have the opportunity to see this again I’ll have a better idea of what is going to happen and maybe get an image of the hop.

Boat-tailed Grackle

At least I think it is a Boat-tailed Grackle, not a Common Grackle.  This is another pair of birds that All About Birds uses a size comparison to help tell them part. Useful if you see them together, not so much on their own. They did seem to have a big tail.

Boat-tailed Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle

These images were taken at the pond near the rookery and swamp I frequent. A group of 8 or 10 was working its way along the edge, hopping along limbs that have fallen in the water.

Boat-tailed Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle

Both kinds are noisy, with constant calling, like their Red-winged Black bird relative.  It was the iridescence that attracted me, and their repeated trips to the water. They will eat frogs, lizards, and turtles and did poke around a little in this water that has all  of these but it was a bit deep for them to jump in.

Boat-tailed Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle

American Avocets

We arrived at Bear Island Wildlife Management area just before the sun came up this morning. A few American Avocets were sitting in the shallow water and reflected the sun’s first glow.

American Avocet
American Avocet

As we progressed around the impoundments throughout the morning there were several other areas with feeding Avocets. There were a few groups but they mostly fed on their own.

American Avocet
American Avocet

This pair in flight shows off the Avocet’s gorgeous colors and their upturned beak.

American Avocets in Flight
American Avocet Pair in Flight

Click on any photo for larger view.

Sandhill Crane

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.

Sandhill Crane Pair
Sandhill Crane Pair

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).

Sandhill Crane Pair
Sandhill Crane Pair

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.

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

Click on any image for larger view.

Vierra Wetlands, Florida, 2/21/18.

Sanderlings

I spotted this group of Sanderlings driving along Indian River Lagoon in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. The immediately took off, but returned with a flourish in just a few minutes.

Sanderlings in Flight
Sanderlings in Flight

I’ve usually seen them running along the surf, but this one loan Sanderling took a dip in water up to his belly.

Sanderling in the Surf
Sanderling in the Surf

Click on either photo for larger view. 

Downy Woodpecker

A Downy Woodpecker right out where you can see her! An advantage to winter is less viewing obstruction of the little birds as they go about their business.

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

This one wasn’t doing much pecking but investigated around this tree trunk.

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

She left me with a perfect profile shot, compete with lichen framing.

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

Click any photo for a larger view.

White Ibis

Ibis always make me smile. They chatter, a lot, in an “unmusical” way according to All About Birds. There is no mistaking them for something else, by sound or sight with that big beakA small group took off as we rounded the corner of the rice field and this one landed in a tree hanging over the path, nicely framed by the turning leaves.

White Ibis
White Ibis Staring Down

He didn’t stay in the tree long, spotting some of the others who had landed in some open water at the edge of the marsh.

White Ibis
White Ibis in Flight

He touched down gently on the other side of the path showing off his black wing tips.

White Ibis
White Ibis Landing

Click on any photo for larger view.

Belted Kingfisher

I’ve posted photos of a Belted Kingfisher at this location before, posing on the beams of the re-purposed bridge. This visit did not disappoint as I spotted this female posing on a rotting piling, first squawking at a passing Snowy Egret.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

She was then content to turn this way, then that way.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

The afternoon sun lit her and the post up.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

Then she was done. The tide was going out so we hoped that she was fishing and would return with a snack as we have seen her do. We waited for about five minutes and presumed she moved on to another of her favorite spots.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

The Nest Tree

You’ve seen this tree before, its a nesting spot for Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets. I’ve photographed nest building, chicks growing up and territorial spats here.

Late yesterday afternoon a King Fisher used the center trunk between dives.

King Fisher
King Fisher

When the King Fisher was gone an Ibis and juvenile Little Blue Heron used it for a resting spot, mutually ignoring each other.

Ibis and Little Blue Heron
Ibis and Little Blue Heron

The top nest area was surprisingly intact after our recent storms. The lower area where the Great Egrets nested suffered some damage, but come spring they may fix it up.

Ibis and Little Blue Heron
Ibis and Little Blue Heron

Hairy Woodpeckers

On a recent trip to Maine a  family of Hairy Woodpeckers entertained me as they investigated this tree. The tree wasn’t too healthy looking but the lack of full boughs and the lichen made for good woodpecker props.

Hairy Woodpeckers
Hairy Woodpeckers

I couldn’t resist photographing them even though the tree was very tall, the birds were in the higher reaches and I had left my long lens at home.

Hairy Woodpeckers
Hairy Woodpeckers

Click either photo for larger view.