Yummy fish for breakfast

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Young great egrets are being fed by mom. The parents swallow the fish and then regurgitate the fish back up into the baby’s beak. Doesn’t that sound yummy?

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A young cormorant was begging mom to feed him.

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The youngest babies at the park that day. They are 1 or 2 day old snowy egrets. The parents were going to be busy feeding 3 babies. You can just barely see the fish eyes coming out of the mom’s beak. Looks like she had a beak full of minnows.

All morning long the babies yell to be fed. The tiny ones like in the last pictures aren’t so bad since they are so small and don’t quite know what’s going on yet. The bigger babies such as the top great egret pictures are obnoxious. They are really loud and flap their wings until they are fed. When the parent flies over to the nest they attack them. The parents keep feeding them though. All of the above were from my trip to Gatorland in May.

They grow up so fast.

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Scruffy looking baby egrets. I think these were snowy egrets.

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Baby blue herons sticking close together.

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Baby anhingas already grown up.

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Tiny baby wood stork on the nest.

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Baby great egrets in various stages of growing up.

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I was watching this almost grown baby great egret exercising his wings. I don’t think he had fledged yet. He kept practicing flapping but never made it off the bush. He was probably gone in another day or so.

It’s fun watching the baby birds grow up in the bushes along the lake at Gatorland.  The trip in late May provided babies from all stages of growing up.

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Up, Up and Away

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Great egrets flying by.

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It was mid-May and birds were still gathering sticks for nests. All morning long they were flying back and forth from one set of bushes to another.

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A sandhill crane flies over the park.

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Wood storks were busy adding to their nests.

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Cattle egrets were doing the same.

It’s always busy in the mornings at the bird rookery in Gatorland. Wild birds are still coming in to nest over the lake full of alligators. The mangroves were filled with nests in different stages. Some had parents still sleeping on eggs, some had newborn babies, some had almost adult babies still screaming to be feed. Lots of fun activities to take pictures of.

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House Hunters for birds

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It’s the annual wild baby bird season at Lowry Park zoo. Herons and egrets build their nests over the alligator exhibit during the spring. On my visit in late March, only the great egrets already had their babies high up in the trees. The last picture is the only shot I got and the babies were almost fully grown. The rest of the pictures are of a little blue heron couple building their nest together. She was guarding the spot and he was bringing her sticks. They build such tiny little nests. I’m going to try to get over there again in early May to see if any baby blue herons are running around.

Baby great egrets being fed.

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“You’re stepping on my toes!!!”

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“Mom, where’s my fish?!!!”

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“MOM!!!!”

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“Seriously mom, we’re starving.”

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“Dad’s here with the food.”

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“Who’s first to eat Dad’s regurgitated fish?”

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“Yum!”

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“I need a napkin to wipe my beak.”

These were the two most popular babies of the day. The nest was in the front. Not too many twigs sticking out. The babies were up moving around for a while the morning I was at Gatorland. There were about 10 of us photographers huddled together to get the best view of the nest. Not to mention it was a bit chilly out in mid-March when I went. Baby egrets are one of the few baby birds that look just like their parents when they are young. Many other birds are born with different color feathers that change when they molt in their first year. Blue herons are born completely white and don’t turn blue until later. White ibis are born with brown feathers. Bald eagles don’t get their white head and tails until they are almost 5 years old.  Baby egrets have a funny look to them but I think it’s because their beaks are disproportionate to the rest of their body until they grow up. Their eyes seem to be animated as well. They were a lot of fun to watch being fed even though I couldn’t get a clear shot of the food (don’t you want to see regurgitated fish?). Maybe on my next trip.

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Great egrets hooking up

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It all starts here. Great egret couples sitting together.

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Egret couples were all over the mangroves.

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Flirting with their lime green breeding colors around the beak and those sexy breeding feathers.

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Lots of mating action going on.

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Soon there will be more baby egret eggs to sit on. Spring is only starting.

The morning was busy at Gatorland with wild birds flirting, building nests, sitting together, fighting and mating. Just like people, right?