The tide was nearly low and the wading birds were steadily gathering food in the condensed water at the edge of the marsh. A group of six or eight Wood Storks waded back and forth mostly with their heads down searching for fish.
As the water continued to drain, occasionally they would fly back to where the water was deeper.
The moon-scape look of the exposed sand made this stork with his big shadow look even more pre-historic.
I’ve not had much success getting shots of the larger wading birds in flight with any context even with all the recent photography opportunities nearby. They are so big it’s hard to get a good angle that includes so much as a tree.
These photographs of a Wood Stork do give a sense of their wingspan, even with nothing else but the sky in the photos. And their subtle green color is shown off when the wings are flapping “down.”
We found the mother lode today. Of wading birds, that is. A state managed wildlife area near us controls the water depth in these impoundments to “provide quality habitat” for various bird species. Some days you go here and see nothing. Today was nothing short of amazing.
At this time of year the water is kept low in various spots and the wading birds get access to an ample supply of easily obtainable food. There were so many birds it was hard to get a good shot of the group. In addition to those seen here Roseate Spoonbills, Tri-color Heron, Skimmers, and Great Blue Heron were well represented and all mixed in together.
Over the course of the three hours we watched this morning groups moved around to various areas of the pond or left, perhaps full and looking for a cooler spot to spend the rest of the day.
We could see a few Wood Storks dropping down in a marsh just off the road. What luck, room to pull off the road and a clear view down this open area to a chaotic scene of feeding Wood Storks with a few smaller wading birds joined in.
The group was in constant motion and some took off for greener pastures, well beyond where we could see.
A few managed to sneak off on their own, busily working the water.
The rest just kept moving further down this outlet.
Timing is everything. When we passed back by this area an hour later there wasn’t a bird in sight.
From a distance this Wood Stork looked like it could be a branch on this partly dead magnolia. He stood ram-rod straight for several minutes, then started to do toe-touches, this one a show-off on just one leg.