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.
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.
Everyone was after this yummy snack rolling around on the beach.
Other birds were going after their usual snacks including the sandwich tern and great egret above. I think that egret had a tough time getting that fish down.
A fisherman had pulled up this tiny fish and left it on the pier so this great blue heron tiptoed up and grabbed it.
The usual birds at the fishing pier at Fort Desoto park.
A few female red breasted mergansers were swimming along the shoreline.
It’s the unofficial summer season kickoff this weekend. Although here in Florida that started months ago. I probably won’t be at the beach today since we tend to stay away on big holidays and avoid the crowds.
Not this normal cormorant, but I was wondering what those guts were next to his wing. Someone’s unfinished lunch.
The above beautiful bird is a hybrid of a great blue heron and a great egret. A great bird indeed. He has the body of a great blue heron and legs and face of a great egret. He’s been hanging around the fishing pier for at least 2 years. He’s famous with the locals and I call him “Harry, the Hybrid”. Although now, he’s been spotted at 2 places at the same time so people are now thinking there are more than one. He must have a sibling.
A regular ole great egret with green breeding feathers around his beak.
Out at east beach, the sun had long come up over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
There were few birds out on the beach at Fort Desoto when I visited during the peak of the red tide algae bloom. The few there were busy eating breakfast. Some were eating the dead sea life that had washed up on shore. I didn’t see any birds acting sick during this trip. Volunteers were out on the beach every day looking for sick birds that could be affected by eating too much of the dead fish. I kept yelling “Don’t eat that.” but they weren’t listening.
A cormorant and osprey were fighting over a lamp-post on the pier.
Even the crows were eating the dead fish. The park rangers kept raking up the shoreline but the dead fish kept washing up on shore.
Royal terns in the air.
The sandbar spit across the channel was full of birds.
The rare hybrid great blue heron/great egret was sporting his breeding colors back in early April. I did not change or enhance the color in his face, only cropped the pictures up. He looks more like a great egret now but they have bright green around the beak during breeding season. Great blue herons get a little blue around the eyes. He or she looks like he’s ready for a mate. I didn’t see him the last 2 times I was at the pier so maybe he’s on a nest.
Snowy egrets were stealing bait fish from the fishermen. The cormorant scored a big one for lunch.
Showing off on the light post.
Pelicans and frigatebirds were flying by.
Out past the fishing pier, the utility tower had broken off during Hurricane Irma. The broken tower is still laying below the water. People started swimming out to it and the lifeguards had to swim out and yell for them to come back to shore. Not knowing if they were strong swimmers, the lifeguards wouldn’t want them to get out too far into the shipping channels where the big boats come in.
I saw this red shoulder hawk sitting high up in a cypress tree. Took a couple of shots and then I kept going down the trail, thinking she was taking a break.
I got all the way across the pond and heard the hawk screaming. I looked over and saw the above. These are extremely cropped. Guess we’ll be having baby hawks soon. These were all taken at Possum Branch Preserve. It’s a small watershed area not too far from my house. It sits on a corner of one of the busiest intersections in the area. Except for the traffic noise, the trail is very quiet.