All of the above are baby anhingas at different ages. Seen from the boardwalk tower, the nests are right over the water at Sawgrass Lake Park. There were many nests along the lake and luckily there a few close to the tower.
One of the Mom’s sitting close to the overcrowded nests.
Not many other birds around during my walk after work in late May. A few green herons were close to the tower.
Other critters at the park. Someone told me that the snake is a copperhead which is a first for me. He’s one of the 6 venomous snakes in Florida. His head shape doesn’t look like a copperhead on line so I’m not sure if it was one. He slid back under the boardwalk quickly so I didn’t get a shot of his body. Any confirmed ID?
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.
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.
“Mom, feed us!”
Both babies clamp on to mom. At this point they look almost as big as the parent.
Getting a mouthful.
Mom must have a headache after all that jerking around the babies do.
“Maybe it will go in easier if I turn upside down.”
Another younger baby waiting to be fed.
Getting mom’s undivided attention since he was the only baby on this nest.
A few more shots from my late April trip to the bird rookery at Gatorland in Orlando. Most of the baby egrets were growing up fast when I was there for my 2nd trip. The just-hatched babies I took pictures of in mid-March where now fully grown. They look just like their parents except for the way they act. They were still sitting on the nest screaming for Mom to feed them. They were acting like needy hungry birds (which I’m sure they are depending on the parents to bring them food).
They are pretty babies, with perfect white feathers since they haven’t been out on their own yet in the water and dirt getting their own food.
Cormorant with a mouth full of leaves.
Heading to the nest with his sad little branch of mostly dead leaves.
This anhinga pulled off a fir tree branch. It looks like that brown stuff on the end will be good padding for the nest.
Off he goes with his branch to the nest.
Another cormorant is also pulling branches off.
Can he carry that heavy branch?
He’s going to try.
“Honey, here’s another stick.”
These anhingas are almost finished nesting. The mom is trying to feed the almost grown baby while the sibling looks off into the wild blue yonder.
It looks like the baby has his head all the way up her beak. You can see where the baby’s beak is poking through her skin in the middle of her neck. He’s getting that fish out. The middle baby is waiting patiently.
While the bigger sibling is feeding, the smaller one decides to get some grub and sticks his beak in there as well.
High up in the trees at the bird rookery in Gatorland, the traffic was busy with cormorants and anhingas. Many were just starting to build nests and a few were already feeding big babies. It’s funny how the bird rookery seems to be sectioned off. Low in the mangroves are the egrets and herons nesting along the boardwalk. Across the lake is where the storks tend to stay. High up in the trees are where the big brown birds usually nest. There are several trees that tower over the boardwalk so you have to be careful where you stand or you might get a hair full of baby birdy poo.