I made it to the rookery in north Tampa in early June for my last trip of the nesting season. I wasn’t sure if there would still be any babies at this point or would they all be grown up by now. The first thing I saw at the edge of the pond was this tiny gator trying to hide in the vegetation. Even though he was small I still kept my eye on him while I was there.
This cattle egret looks like he has a boo boo on his face. Hopefully it’s just superficial and heals. Maybe he got it in a fight with another egret?
The baby anhingas were already fully grown.
There were still a few little blue herons flirting so there may still be some babies later.
A baby night heron emerged from deep in the bushes.
These flowers were growing all over the rookery as well as along the woods next to street. The ants seemed to be enjoying them.
All of the above are baby anhingas at different ages. Seen from the boardwalk tower, the nests are right over the water at Sawgrass Lake Park. There were many nests along the lake and luckily there a few close to the tower.
One of the Mom’s sitting close to the overcrowded nests.
Not many other birds around during my walk after work in late May. A few green herons were close to the tower.
Other critters at the park. Someone told me that the snake is a copperhead which is a first for me. He’s one of the 6 venomous snakes in Florida. His head shape doesn’t look like a copperhead on line so I’m not sure if it was one. He slid back under the boardwalk quickly so I didn’t get a shot of his body. Any confirmed ID?
Baby muscovy ducks are everywhere throughout the summer.
Cattle egrets at the rookery. Some were just starting to flirt and mate and some were already sitting on eggs.
Baby anhingas that were not flying yet. Waiting for a parent to come in with food.
Dad (on the left) flies in and the 3 babies immediately go after him for food.
The bird rookery in north Tampa was very busy in late April. Lots of babies from weeks old to almost grown. Wood storks, great egrets, cattle egrets and anhingas were the most prevelant with a few tricolored herons just starting to nest.
I stopped by a park near work recently and found these babies on the boardwalk. The above are anhinga babies, almost grown up. There were three of them on a teeny tiny nest.
On the other side of the boardwalk was the above. Mom was sitting on top of her babies. You could just barely see the featherless skin underneath her.
Another nest had 3 older babies sleeping in a pile. A little while later, Dad came to feed them right before dark. I don’t know how far down that baby has to reach to get the fish out of Dad’s throat. Dad seemed to be very patient.
Most cars go flying down the road along the waste plant. I mean, why would a normal person slow down to see what’s hanging out in the ditches along the road. Even if you did slow down as you go past, you might not see that tiny speck of a baby bird on the edge of the water. The black necked stilts having been nesting here for several years. Usually some time in May you start to see the babies following the parents around if you know where to look. I pulled onto the grass and took the above from the car. They are very skittish and as soon as the car door would open, the parents would go crazy. So I just rolled down the window and snapped a few shots before leaving. Anyone going by probably just thinks I’m waiting for a tow truck to come.
There were also baby anhingas in the bushes near the black necked stilts.
A very young juvenile little blue heron in the same spot. He’ll soon turn all blue once he loses his baby white feathers.
An older juvenile spoonbill. He doesn’t have any color in his face yet.
Just a few things I saw leaving work in late May.
Baby anhingas from June.
Younger anhingas begging Dad to feed them.
He’s trying to ignore the three babies. He’s probably hoping Mom is coming back soon with food.
Actually, it looks like Dad was just waiting for his food to regurgitate back up so he can feed them.
These parents have it rough. I wonder if the babies ever poke the parents in the throat.
“I’m next.” says the other one.
The muscovy ducks were working on a family.
“Here’s a thank you kiss Honey.”
A few nests had older great egret babies that were still being fed by the parents.
I had forgotten to post these pictures of the anhinga babies from June. I had driven up north of Tampa to a neighborhood that had a small lake with a mangrove island in the middle. I had heard about stork island, where the wood storks were raising their babies and finally made the drive up. The island is in the middle of the lake so these are all extremely cropped. It was a challenge to see through all of the branches. It was great to see anhingas nesting there as well. I’ve only seen them nest at Gatorland. I’ll try to get up there earlier next year.
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