Busy beach in August.

The royal terns were having a feeding frenzy at Fort Desoto in early August. The parents were busy trying to keep the juvenile ones fed.

I found another Harry the hybrid (great blue heron and great egret) at the north beach lagoon. I had heard there were two hybrids at the park but I had only seen one at the fishing pier. This one has more beige and grey than the one at the pier which is more white.

Birds cruising by at the north spit. You can see the boats far off at the tip of the spit already anchoring to party for the day.

Flowers near the parking lot.

Lots of activity going on around the park. It was going to be a busy afternoon.

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Color on the trail

Spoonbills were everywhere on my last trip to Circle B Bar Reserve but they were each alone. Dotting the way down the trail. There’s something magical about these pink fluff balls and even seeing one occasionally is always a treat.

One went flying by me in the rain. Yes I got caught on the trail in the rain but more on that later.

The usual clowns on the trail.

Before I headed down Marsh Rabbit Run, I stopped to take a few pictures of the above sandhill cranes. They were just standing in the middle of the trail intersection preening themselves. One was picking at the dirt on the ground and spreading the dirt on his feathers. Assuming to keep the bugs off? I had heard they do this but had not seen it before.

I got down to the end of Marsh Rabbit Run and it started to pour so I hung out in the rain shelter for almost an hour. When the rain stopped I headed back to my car and these guys were still standing at the same intersection. Now they were all wet and looked like they had enjoyed the rain.

Pink is always in

I found some old pictures that I had taken many years ago of my first encounter with roseate spoonbills. These were taken in 2009 with my first DSLR camera, a Nikon D60. I was out walking around at Lake Seminole Park and saw these guys walking along the lake. The water was low and I was able to hike out near the edge and stood in the muck watching these guys feed for at least an hour. I was using my old Sigma 150mm – 500mm lens so they were still pretty far out. Every once in a while they would look up at me but then continue to feed. I remember this morning well.

Some of the friends nearby were mallards and a black neck stilt.

I look over to my left and this tri colored heron was watching me like I was crazy.

 

Quiet time with spoonies.

I walked into the big aviary at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park and the spoonbills were lined up along the railing. They didn’t move at all when I walked in. I had to stand in the doorway to get them across the boardwalk with my 300mm lens. They are beautiful birds, like pink cotton candy. The colors and details in their faces are amazing. They seem to be just waking up from their morning nap when I had walked in, stretching and preening.

The two above were taken with my phone.

The northern pintail taking a nap on the boardwalk didn’t move when I walked past him. I enjoyed a few minutes of quiet time with the spoonies before a big family came in the aviary. At that point, the spoonies and pintail knew it was time to leave the boardwalk and head to the bushes and water in the aviary.

Pink cotton candy and marshmellow fluff in the marsh.

Lots of spoonbills in the marsh mixed in with the ibis.

Must have been some good snacks in the marsh this morning I was at Circle B Bar Reserve in late January.

Lots of white pelicans flying overhead but none were landing.

A great blue heron taking off.

I’ve only seen 2 blue wing teals this winter.

This sandhill crane was standing on a nest out in the marsh. I have since heard that this nest did not work but there are other crane couples out there nesting. It would be fun to have crane babies this spring.

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Pretty in pink and white

Permanently injured white pelicans that live at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. They are beautiful birds.

Getting their morning snacks from a park ranger.

They have a white morph great blue heron missing a wing that lives there.

Wood stork also getting breakfast.

Pink fluff balls (spoonbills) all lined up.

You can get up close to all of the beautiful birds at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park just north of Tampa. The sanctuary is home to a lot of injured birds.

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Fun at the Lowry Park Zoo.

I was looking in the spoonbill exhibit and noticed a wild spoonbill on top of the exhibit looking in. I think he wanted to join the party inside for some treats.

Some wild birds at the zoo: a Carolina wren, 2 black vultures preening each other, a house sparrow working on a nest in the gift shop sign and a baby duck in one of the ponds.

Elephants playing in the first picture with the 3 legged impala watching.

Grumpy old bird (that was just born this spring).  Marabou stork.

Making faces with Mom.

Showing off on a tree branch.

I was tempted to join these ladies who looked like they were having too much fun but I didn’t have the right color shirt or hat on.

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Party in the marsh

 

This spring we had a drought here in central Florida. The marshes at Circle B Bar Reserve had all dried up except for a tiny few spots. This one marsh still had some water in it so all of the birds were feeding in the same spot. I guess the bugs were plentiful in this spot. I’m not sure how long they stayed there feeding but the morning I was there in late April they were packed in and fighting over space. The crowd was mostly great egrets, snowy egrets and spoonbills but there were a few tricolored herons, little blue herons, great blue herons and green herons.  Oh, also glossy ibis, white ibis and wood storks. It’s been years since we’ve seen that many water birds congregate like that so everyone was taking tons of pictures including me.

Spoonbills at Lettuce Lake Park

Due to the drought we’ve had in April and May, the water level was very low at Lettuce Lake Park in north Tampa. Before I got to the boardwalk I noticed a lot of pink near the shoreline of the lake where the canoe launch is. There was a handful of spoonbills feeding close to the shoreline. They didn’t seem to mind me, kept right on feeding with barely a glance.