Zoo Tampa in early June

Fun at the zoo in early June. The manatees are back at the zoo which is good and bad thing. The zoo has been updating their water system in the manatee hospital so any injured manatees had to go to Homosassa Springs for rehabilitation for 6 months. Now that the manatee hospital is updated they can take in injured manatees. The bad thing is that the manatees have to be here at all. It’s great that visitors can see these big guys up close and that the zoo treats them but it’s sad that so many are injured due to boat strikes or sick from red tide.

On top of the manatee pool, a few juvenile blue herons are learning how to catch their own fish. These were all probably born in the nests over the alligator exhibit next door.

Vultures were drying off in the bear exhibit. They do this in the morning to easily warm their body up. Not sure why, it was already 85 degrees at 10am. The bear eventually came over to check them out. The vultures didn’t fly off but just moved over. They didn’t seem to scared of the bear.

The last of the wild baby blue heron birds that were growing up over the alligator exhibit.

Photographing New Zealand

Different things at Gatorland

Many of the birds were still sitting on eggs at the bird rookery at Gatorland in Orlando in mid-May.

Some were still flirting.

Lots of different wild birds hanging out at the park including the great egret above that stole a hot dog from an alligator. You can feed the alligators here but half of the time the birds get the food quicker.

Pretty peacock.

The youngest baby birds at the rookery that morning. The baby snowy egrets were probably only a few days old.

The gators were getting frisky.

Seeing a baby gator up close.

This guy was taking a break before the crowds were on the boardwalk.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Beautiful birds but a sad ending

Tricolored herons are always fun to watch. They are really pretty when they are ready to mate. I mean, how many other animals have their legs turn from gray to bright pink in the spring?

Snowy egrets are always making a fuss.

The great egrets were also showing off with those red eyes.

This is a sad story but happens in nature. There was a nest near the boardwalk with three almost grown babies that had apparently been abandoned by the parents. Maybe something happened to the lone parent? Meanwhile, a mean adult snowy egret decided it wanted that nest instead of building her own and she was going to steal it from the babies. She spent all morning trying to push the babies off the nest. One had been poked in the face and was bleeding. The sad thing is that if the original parents did not come back, those 3 babies were probably going to starve. They are too young to feed themselves. They were sticking together and fighting off the intruder. She eventually left that morning but may have come back later to try again. Gatorland won’t interfere because it’s common for this to happen in nature. I’ve seen it happen before in a park where we couldn’t reach the nest. It’s a tough life out there for these birds.

Teeny tiny baby birds

The tiniest babies a the park, these snowy egrets were only a day or two old. Mom was sitting on them most of the morning but she stood up to stretch for a few minutes.

A few other nests had babies that were a few days older.

This baby was getting big.

Across the lake, baby great egrets were just waking up.

I did not make it over to Gatorland in Orlando last year so I made a trip in early April this spring. Most of the baby birds at the bird rookery were great egrets and snowy egrets. The cattle egrets and tricolored herons were just sitting on eggs. The morning went by fast as the birds were feeding the babies and flying by with sticks for the nests. All too quickly it was almost lunch time and the birds were settling down for mid-day naps.

Photographing New Zealand

Watching baby egrets growing up.

Baby egrets at varies ages all trying to learn how to use their wings. It’s cool how you can really see the outline of their wings and the pin feathers when they are that young.

Older baby egrets were attacking mom when she came back to the nest to feed them. Mom regurgitates the fish back up into the baby’s beak. The babies don’t have much patience to wait their turn and they all attack her at the same time. It’s amazing an eye doesn’t get poked.

Wild zoo babies

An almost grown great egret scratching. This one must be one of the first ones born at the zoo this spring. He still had just a little bit of baby fuzz on his head.

Very young little blue herons were waiting to be fed.

Baby little blue herons that were a little older but not yet flying.  They were in lots of different stages of growing up.

Screaming “Feed Me” in Mom’s ear.

Two baby great egrets still on the nest waiting for a parent to fly in with food.

My favorite part of Lowry Park  Zoo in Tampa is the bird rookery at the alligator exhibit. It’s much smaller than the one at Gatorland but it’s close to home.  The wild birds come in and nest right in front of the exhibit.  While all of the kids are oohing and aahing over the alligators I am busy trying to get shots of the baby birds.

Linking to Wednesday Around The World.