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.
I could hear the Red-bellied Woodpecker around the swamp from the distinctive shrill call. Sound bouncing off the water can make the exact direction hard to pinpoint. Eventually the flash of red gave away his position.
This tree branch has a number of holes the woodpecker was exploring while a juvenile Little Blue Heron looked on.
The Little Blue Herons are working on their nests on the interiors of two little islands. They get into squabbles with their mates or their neighbors then take a spin around the island, sometimes taking a time out before getting back into the fray in the dense undergrowth.
Out in the open it is easier to see their beautiful blues. The intense blue on their beaks is a match for the blue sky on this April day.
An in-flight photo from underneath gives a perspective on their wing spans and shows off that their bodies aren’t all blue.
The Little Blue Heron’s various blues seem more purple than blue in the bright sun. This one is about to disappear into the greenery towards his nest.
With an occasional eye to the sky as Hawks and Vultures passed over head, this Little Blue Heron worked back and forth on a log, poking in the duck weed.
He seemed not to notice the Alligator floating just behind him, his head just to the left of the birds in the photo above. From where I stood peeking through underbrush, I wasn’t sure the log wasn’t alive, either.
The Little Blue gave a ruffle after a mis-step off the log and went back to patrolling.
The Little Blue Heron and logs from another angle.