Tag Archives: Florida

Iris Reflection

Falling into the swamp lined with duck weed this stem of purple Iris created a colorful reflection.

Purple Iris
Purple Iris

Depending on where I stood the water either reflected the sky or the green fronds of the standing patch of iris.

Purple Iris Patch
Purple Iris Patch

A closer look at the stem reveals flowers in various stages of bloom.

Purple Iris
Purple Iris

This last image was taken about an hour later from about the same spot as the first one above, with the sun no longer directly on the flower.

Purple Iris
Purple Iris

Resting American White Pelicans

We had seen a few White Pelicans in the air earlier in the morning so weren’t too surprised to see them resting on the ground at the edge of a pond and happily stopped to see so many. They were quite a distance off the road but there was a clear view and I would say there were at least two hundred birds.

White Pelicans and Wading Birds
White Pelicans and Wading Birds

A number of Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets were sprinkled around the periphery of the group, including this group looking like a police line up.

White Pelicans
White Pelicans and Wading Birds

Most of the Pelicans were preening or resting. A few Coots were going about their business in the water around them.

White Pelicans
White Pelicans

One daring Great Egret landed right in the middle of small group of Pelicans. The Pelicans took no notice.

White Pelicans and Wading Birds
White Pelicans and Wading Birds

Photographed at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, 2/21/2018.

Great Blue Heron Chicks

Florida’s Vierra Wetlands is a man-made water reclamation facility that “polishes reclaimed water for irrigation or overflow into the adjacent Four-mile Canal” per the Brevard County website.

The 200 acre site hosts a wide variety of local wildlife and migrating and nesting birds, including Great Blue Herons.

Florida’s nesting birds are at least a month ahead of those here in South Carolina. We are just starting to see hatchlings at the local rookeries and these images were taken almost three weeks ago, when we saw some chicks that were close to a month old.

Great Blue Heron Chick
Great Blue Heron Chick Peeking Up

It was quite windy this day, and with the chicks standing you can see there isn’t much to hold them in the nest and there is no protection from the weather.

Great Blue Heron and Chicks
Great Blue Heron and Chicks

The placement of the nest on a palm tree top provides some security from predators climbing up, particularly raccoons. Many of the chosen nest trees are also standing in water which means alligators patrol below for potential nest raiders.

Great Blue Heron and Chick
Great Blue Heron and Chick – just the fuzz visable

The road around the impoundments is elevated from the water giving a direct view into some of the nests.

Vierra Wetlands
Vierra Wetlands, Great Blue Heron nest, several Anhinga perched on shorter tree stumps

Click on any image for larger view.

Vierra Wetlands, Brevard County, Florida, 2/21/2018.

Raccoons

A mother Raccoon was herding three of her children along the edge of the Vierra Wetlands drive. The slope down away from the road is mowed and then there is a wide section of tall marsh grasses before an impoundment of open water.

Racoon
Raccoon

We watched from the car as the family was weaving in and out of the taller grasses and reeds. Occasionally mama came further out into the mowed area to check back on what her charges were up to.

Racoon
Raccoon

A family portrait was not on the agenda.

Raccoons
Raccoons

Vierra Wetlands, Florida, 2/21/2018.

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.

Night-Heron Juveniles

The juvenile Night-Herons were more active on this morning in the rookery than the snoozing adults. 

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Juvenile Night-Heron

A few of them were wandering around on these gnarly tree branches in the dappled sun.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Juvenile Night-Heron

A comparison of the juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron at All About Birds finds they are quite similar, with the Black-crowned variety having “larger spots and bolder streaks.” Hard to tell unless you have one of each side-by-side.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Juvenile Night-Heron

1/30/2018, St. Augustine Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, Florida.

Red-bellied Woodpecker Looking for Lunch

Looking for something to eat in the crevices of this dead branch this Red-bellied Woodpecker kept trying, but I didn’t see him find anything.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Upside down didn’t work so he flipped upright.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

He paused for a nice profile shot.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Scouting out his next spot, he was gone in a flash.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Click on any photo for larger view.