Empty nester

It was almost the end of April and the lone baby eagle in my neighborhood was all grown up. I stopped by the nest early one morning and found a couple of does wandering around under the nest tower.

The baby eagle was climbing up the tower to reach Mom. I think he was screaming at her to go get breakfast.

The other parent flew in and started eating a fish on the utility pole right next to the nest tower. I was waiting a while to see if he would bring the rest of the fish to the nest like he usually did after a few bites but this time I think the parents are trying to get Baby to go get his own food. Or at least follow them to hunt.

Baby was circling around the parent that was eating, screaming.

Mom flew over to the other tower and Baby followed her. They sat for a few minutes and then both took off.

Several times at the end of April I stopped by and the nest tower was empty. I guess Baby finally started following his parents to learn how to hunt. A few times I caught Baby flying back to the nest. The above were the last few shots I got at the end of April. By early May I didn’t see them anymore. I’m hoping I’ll see the parents again in September.

Fly free Baby and I hope you see your sister that fell off the nest in your travels. She was released in central Florida.

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Another look at the rookery

The wood storks were coming over to the bank to get a drink of water. In late April the water was really low.

This wood stork was collecting a stick. Were they still nesting at this point or maybe he was replenishing the one he has.

The babies are always hungry.

A snowy egret showing off.

There were several cattle egrets in full breeding colors. They were just starting to nest.

The little blue herons were also starting to nest.

The fully grown baby cormorants were still being fed by the parents. This one was reaching deep down to get that regurgitated fish.

A boat tailed grackle showing his blue and purple feathers.

Another bike ride past the cows

AAnother bike ride in mid-April on my favorite trail that runs through the cow pastures. The sun had just come up when I got out there.

I stopped when I saw 2 sandhill cranes walking across the pasture. As I stood there they both went under the fence and onto the trail right in front of me. I had to quickly back up to fit the first one in the shot. I was trying to keep my distance but they kept walking closer. I hope people aren’t feeding them here.

Some of the usual birds along the trail. A great crested flycatcher and a meadowlark. Both with distinct calls so I heard them before I saw them.

When I first got to the eagle’s nest the almost grown babies were eating and a parent was sitting up there with them. Then the parent took off.

Cruising right past me.

As I was standing there watching the eagle flying around I saw the juvenile eagle fly down to the almost dry pond just under the nest. It seemed to be trying to catch something small but I don’t think he succeeded. It might have been a lizard.

The above is not a good shot and I almost didn’t take it thinking it was a red shoulder hawk but when I got home and cropped it up I realized it was a merlin. I have not seen one of those in a long time.

I think this calf now has his own personal cattle egret to follow him around and eat his bugs. They were staring at each other for a while.

This cow had his cattle egret close by but the colors on the cattle egret’s face looks like he was ready to start nesting. 

Taken with my phone on the trail, the utility tower on the right is where the eagles have their nest.

SkyWatch Friday

More from the bird rookery in late March

There were several glossy ibis flying over the rookery in late March. I’m not sure if they were nesting yet since they nest in the far back hidden part of the rookery. The color of their feathers really popped against the sun as they flew by.

Tricolored herons were still flirting. They nest later than the great egrets and wood storks.

A great egret showing off.

Yes, that’s an almost grown cormorant with his entire face down his Dad’s throat. He was trying to get the fish that Dad was regurgitating for him. I think he still wanted more.

A wood stork showing off his underneath green feathers.

There were so many wood stork babies here.

That fish was way to big for the baby to swallow. The parent realized that pretty quickly and didn’t want it to go to waste so down the hatch it went.

The rookery was hopping in late March

I made a road trip back to the bird rookery in north Tampa in late March. The noise was so loud from all of the baby birds screaming to be feed. The little spoil island in the pond was full of babies. Although this great egret above looks like he’s still flirting.

There were baby egrets from just a few days old to several weeks old.

The tricolored herons were still sitting on eggs.

This Mom was shading her baby wood storks from the sun.

This was the youngest wood stork baby I could see and it had a tiny fish in his beak.

This Mom had no rest with all of these babies.

It looks like the older baby got the big fish this time. It took him a while to get it down.

Great egrets were still bringing sticks back to the nests.

The baby muscovy ducks I had seen here weeks ago were almost grown now.

A busy morning at the nest

It was the end of March and the late baby eagles in my neighborhood were still not flying yet.

I heard Mom screaming and realized that another juvenile (from the nest at the other end of the neighborhood) was cruising over the nest and trying to land. Mom chased off the intruder and landed back on the nest tower. The nest far over on the other end of the neighborhood was several weeks ahead of this nest. Those babies were already flying and this one came looking for an extra meal.

After the intruder left Mom sat there and screamed for a while. I guess she was calling for her mate. The mate flew in and they both sat there for a few minutes. They were on the other end of the tower and it’s was tough to see both of them together.

All of a sudden they started mating. I’ve read that they stress mate even while they still have babies.

After the eagles calmed down I started looking around and saw this woodpecker with a snack on the fence.

 A great crested flycatcher and a palm warbler landed in the trees I was sitting under.

I heard some screaming and realized some monk parakeets had flown into the bottle brush trees next to the fence. They were eating the seed off the brushes.

Across the field a squirrel was eating what looked like a big mushroom.

BLUE MONDAY BADGE

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More shots from the rookery

The great egrets were busy nesting here as well as the Seabird Sanctuary. There were  a lot more here though. They were mixed in with the wood storks.  I can barely see the eggs in the 2nd shot. I don’t think there were any babies born at this point yet.

This female anhinga was pretty with those white feathers sticking out.

I caught this anhinga couple flirting.

The cormorants and anhingas were already sitting on nests high up in the cypress tree on the spoil island. The nests were pretty close together and there was probably going to be a lot of fighting going on up there when the parents try to feed the babies.

I’ll be making several trips over to this bird rookery in north Tampa this spring. I can park on the side of the road and take a few steps and there it is so there’s not a lot of walking involved. I’ll bring my beach chair next time and spend a few more minutes here.

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.