More crazy birds at the rookery

A juvenile night heron sits alone at the front of the rookery. He’s been there on my last 2 visits. They nest deep in the bushes so I can’t see them as little babies.

A snowy egret still flirting.

The cormorants and anhingas nest high up inthe cypress trees so it’s a little harder to see those young babies. As they get older the bigger babies end up down on the rookery and Mom feeds them there. The top one is a cormorant. They have orange curved beaks and hook their fish. The middle shot are both anhingas (male on the left in all black and the female on the right has a brown chest and neck). They have pointed beaks and stab their fish. The juveniles with the great egret in the bottom shot are both anhingas.

A female grackle getting some bugs. They also nest deep in the bushes.

A wood stork getting a drink in the pond.

I saw a tricolored heron fly over to the top of a tree away from the rookery. She’s got food in her beak and she’s trying to get her young one to fly over to be fed. She was yelling at the baby to fly across the pond to her to get food instead of her bringing it to the baby.

The baby eventually flew over and got his meal.

All of the tricolored heron babies that I saw were almost fully grown. They all had their adult colors in their feathers but they still had those baby spikes on the top of their heads and were still squawking for food.

Regurgitated sushi for dinner

Wood storks and great egrets were flying into the bird rookery in north Tampa non-stop in late May. They were bringing more nesting material but mostly food for all of those screaming babies. It was loud to stand there in the late afternoon as those big growing babies were ready to eat. And they let everyone know it.

There were still a lot of young wood storks honking for food.

The almost grown baby great egrets were really aggresive. These parents have a tough job. Getting fish, then swallowing that fish, then regurgitating it back up to feed the baby.

If you look closely at the beaks you can see fish parts coming down from the parent’s beak and into the baby’s beak. All while big brother is trying to get a bite as well. That does not look yummy.

Even after they are fed, they still yell for more food.

First time baby sighting

You don’t see many glossy ibis in the Tampa Bay area. For years the only place I saw them was at Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland but in recent years I’ve seen a few on this side of the state. Lettuce Lake Park in north Tampa was another place I would see them. Recently there has been one hanging out at the nearby Possum Branch Preserve but it’s hit or miss to see it there. Last year I saw one at the bird rookery in north Tampa but I didn’t see any babies. This year there were several adults there and on my last visit in late May I saw babies.

They nest on the back side of the rookery so there’s no way to see the babies until they are juveniles and moving around on the rookery. There were 2 families there with the parents feeding them all over the rookery. They would fly off to get food and the juveniles would travel all over the bushes. The parents always seemed to find their own babies when they got back.

 

One of the juveniles was old enough to fly down into the pond and get some water. He didn’t have the deep burgandy color on his face but his green feathers on his wings were beautiful.

They were patiently waiting for Mom to come back with food. Some were practicing their wing flaps and hopping.

Deep in the bushes I could just barely see a much younger set of twins.

I’m hoping next year we’ll see even more of these beautiful birds at the rookery.

A busy condo building

I could see the purple martins flying around the bird house from arcross the marina. I had brought my camera in the car so I drove around to the other side of the marina to check them out. All of the babies were fully grown at this point. There were a lot of purple martins on this big condo bird house.

Parents were bringing in food to the babies who were screaming to be fed.

I’m not sure what’s going on here. At first I thought a pair were still mating but it looks like one of the parents was trying to feed the baby. Or was the parent trying to push the baby off the house to start flying? Or maybe this baby was in the wrong condo and was hoping to get a meal from the wrong parent?

A few were flying and one landed on the grown but eventually made it back to the house.

Young birds are everywhere

I was heading home from Bot Tower Gardens in Lake Wales and stopped for a quick walk around a nearby lake. I’ve seen sandhill cranes here before and was hoping to find a family on my walk. Last year I found 2 families on this lake. Half way around I saw the parents feeding a older baby.  They were pretty far out in the marsh so these are extremely cropped up. Both parents stayed close to the baby and were feeding him.

On my way back to my car I noticed a bunch of loggerhead shrikes sitting on a trash can. After a few minutes I realized they must be almost grown babies because they were still begging to be fed. I think that’s the parent in the back on the right.

I stood behind a tree and watched them for a few minutes. They were bouncing around on the ground and then flying to a nearby small tree. That tiny bit of yellow at the end of the beak identifies them as juveniles. Adults would be all black. They were still screaming to be fed when I was walking away but it looks like they are starting to feed themselves.

Also linking to Tuesdays With A Twist 

A walk around a lake

The young black swans were almost grown up in late April although they were half the size of the parents and still fuzzy gray. I stopped by Lake Morton on the way home from Bot Tower Gardens and did a walk around the lake before heading home.

This black swan was still sitting on eggs. It looks like she had 3 of them.

There were lots of young mute swans at various ages as well.

This mute swan was checking out her eggs.

Some of the swans were still flirting.

There was a small flock of white pelicans still hanging around. I didn’t think they stayed here all year round but they should have headed north by now. I love those pink and orange beaks.

Even the laughing gulls were flirting. It’s weird to see gulls at this lake since it’s in the middle of the state but there’s always a lot of them here. Maybe because people feed the ducks and swans so the gulls are trying to get a free handout.

A baby moorhen walking around in the grass with those big feet.

I heard some noise near the top of the cypress trees and realized there was a great blue heron nest up there with some almost grown babies.

A turtle posing for me.

Inspire Me Monday

We are empty nesters

On April 5th I watched as a pair of Carolina wrens built a nest in my hanging plant. At first I thought they had abandoned it but several days later I saw the wren fly out and went outside and saw 5 eggs in the hole. Three weeks later I kept seeing one flying into the nest with bugs. I’m thinking the eggs must have hatched.

One morning after the parent left I went outside and was able to take these with my camera. I couldn’t tell how many at this point but I thought I saw 3 beaks.

For days both parents were busy bringing in bugs. These were all taken through the window.

A few days later I went outside and caught the above. Their eyes were open at this point. I think there was a 4th one back there.

Mom and Dad continued to bring bugs.

This was about 8 days after I first saw the babies. They were growing so fast and so much. They all didn’t fit in the hole anymore and the biggest was sleeping out on the basket. I took this on a Thursday afternoon before we left to go to Fort Lauderdale for a long weekend to visit Brett’s relatives.

We got back from our trip late Sunday afternoon and I ran outside to check on the babies and the basket was empty. I was crushed. I didn’t think they could be big enough to be out of the nest yet and thought maybe the crows got them. I came back inside to unpack and a few minutes later I heard Brett yelling that he had just seen the babies. I ran outside with my camera and found them on my neighbor’s patio. They were bouncing around with Mom close by. There were 4 babies. I was so excited to see them. They will be flying in 2-3 days and Mom will continue to feed them as they bounce around, learning to fly. They were heading down the neighborhood that night, staying close to the townhomes. I hope they all made it.

Baby bird season

I headed up to the bird rookery in north Tampa in early April. I knew it was a little too early for a lot of babies but it was a nice afternoon out and this is an afternoon shoot spot since the sun comes up across the lake in the morning.  Great egrets were in all stages of nesting. Some had eggs, some had small babies and some looked like they were still flirting and working on nests.

There were at least 2 nests up front with baby wood storks. They look so pretty when they are babies with that orange beak and blue around their eyes. Woods storks are listed as a threatened species since their numbers are still small and are vulnerable to changing water levels. We are fortunate that they are a common bird in the Tampa bay area. I see them at many of the parks I visit as well as in the ponds in my neighborhood.

Birds were busy flying in and out of the rookery, bringing food to the babies and adding sticks to the nest. I was able to catch a great egret and a tricolored heron going by.

A tricolored heron was picking up sticks from the water and bringing them back to a hidden nest.

A rare thing to see in the Tampa bay area. It looks like some glossy ibis have been nesting here in the last few years. The nest is on the back side of the island so I haven’t seen any babies yet. For a long time I only saw them at Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland but I’ve seen a few here lately.

A different type of Easter eggs.

Since we moved into our home in late September, I’ve always seen Carolina wrens in the backyard. Some days there are two but always at least one looking around for food. They sit on the bird feeder or the plants and sing for a while.

One morning I was home in early April and saw one bringing nesting stuff to the hanging plant in front of the window.

All day I watched as both wrens brought stuff into the plant. They were building a nest in there. I would see one stay inside the plant and dig around.

Pausing before heading into the plant, or was he posing for me?

The only shot I could get of both bringing in sticks at the same time.

Sitting on the edge at the end of the day. I didn’t see them again for a few days and thought maybe they abandoned it. I’ve heard they will build several before nesting.  All of the above were taken through the window.

One morning I went outside to water the plants and saw her sitting inside. I was assuming she was sitting on eggs. Very exciting.

Occasionally I would see the male stop by.

One morning she left the nest for a few minutes and I peeked in and saw 5 tiny eggs. More to come on this story.

All In the “eagle” Family

I stopped by the eagles nest in my neighborhood just after mid-February. The 2 babies were flapping their wings pretty hard. At this point the parents were just dropping off food and the babies were eating on their own. One of the parents had been sitting just above the nest and took off.

A few days later I came back and one of the parents was sitting near the nest and started yelling.

I then saw the other parent flying by but didin’t stop. I’m thinking this was the male. The female went after him, screaming along the way. Where was he going and where was breakfast (I’m assuming that’s what she was yelling)?

I saw them both land several towers down the field (that’s an osprey nest on the bottom left). They both sat up there for a while before taking off again.

The kids were like “Where are they going and where is our breakfast?”  I waited about 45 minutes after that but still didn’t see the parents come back. One of them probably came back around lunchtime with a snack. At this point the babies still weren’t flying at all but flapping pretty hard.

More to come on the eagle family. I guess I should name them all at this point. Any suggestions?

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