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.

Early May at the rookery

I made another trip to the bird rookery in north Tampa in early May. While there were already a lot of babies, the wood storks were still flirting.

The baby great egrets were the loudest, yelling at Mom to feed them.

A young tricolored heron trying to fly. I love the wire looking feathers on their heads.

Young anhingas were high up in the cypress trees.

Birds were constantly flying in and out of the rookery. I was hoping to see cattle egrets or maybe the glossy ibis but I saw neither of them on this trip.

Growing up fast

I headed back to the bird rookery in north Tampa in mid-May for a quick trip out of the house. I figured most of the baby birds were grown up and they were, including the big baby egrets above. They were still waiting for Mom to come home with dinner.

I don’t think Mom was ready to get back to the nest. She stopped close by and took a break.

There were still a lot of cattle egrets in breeding colors but I didn’t see any babies. They usually nest much farther into the bushes.

The anhinga on the right was keeping an eye on the wood stork, making sure he didn’t get too close.

A few of the other birds included a little blue heron, a young night heron and a tricolored heron.

The anhingas were farther back on the little island. Mom was feeding an almost grown baby in the shot above. That doesn’t look comfortable having the baby stick it’s head down her throat.

The baby muscovy ducks were almost grown as well. They saw me get out of my car and came swimming over. “Sorry guys, no handouts from me.”

My Corner of the World

Back at the nursery

I stopped in again at the wood stork rookery in north Tampa in mid-May. The small island in the middle of a medium pond was still packed with birds nesting. Wood storks were busy flying in back to the nest.

Most of the babies were almost grown at this point. They have pretty faint yellow and pink beaks when they are young.

Many of them were practicing their wing flapping. Getting ready for that first flight.

“Whadda you want?”

I saw a lady get out of her car near the end of the pond and I thought maybe she was taking pictures from farther away but then I realized she had dumped bread on the bank to feed the birds. She dumped and drove off. I would loved to have been able to tell her that old bread is bad for the birds. They should be eating bugs and fish. By the time I walked over to the area the bread had been snatched up by the wood storks.

The bird rookery

Catching a little blue heron lift off.

Snowy egrets were showing off.

Baby great egrets were screaming for Mom to feed them.

The sky over the Tampa rookery was busy in early April. It was like standing at the airport during the holidays watching the planes take off.

The cormarants and anhingas are usually high up in the trees but I saw this anhinga sitting on a nest low on the other side of the rookery.

There were many other birds at the rookery besides the usual egrets and herons. A night heron, a female red winged blackbird and a catbird were also sighted. I was excited to see the glossy ibis here in the bottom picture but it looked like the couple was working on a nest on the backside of the rookery so seeing little glossy babies is a slim chance.

Rainbow beaks and pink legs

I love seeing the cattle egrets during mating season. Their beaks change colors and the feathers on their back turn tan. The one above was only slightly changed. During non-breeding season all of his feathers would be white. These are all from my annual trip to the bird rookery in north Tampa in April.

This one was ready to nest. HIs beak is in bright orange and yellow colors with that touch of purple at his face and his legs have turned pink. He was busy bring sticks to the nest deep in the bushes.

After many trips to the nest with sticks, he stood on a branch and took a break. It’s hard to believe this is the same type of bird as the one in the first picture.

You could just make out the mate in the bushes. She was busy putting the sticks in the right place on that tiny nest.  Soon they’ll be starting a family.

My Corner of the World

 

Why the storks bring the babies!

I think this was the youngest baby at the rookery. You could just barely make out the baby’s head at the bottom of mom’s beak.

Most of the other nests had babies that were pretty grown up. For some reason these guys were wet and dirty. Dad must have brought back some wet dirty moss to replensh the nest.

Moms were busy tending to the nests and babies all over the tiny island in the middle of this neighborhood pond.

Looks like this Mom had only one baby. Some had two or three.

Zooming in, these guys were all white and fluffy.

 

The annual trip to the Tampa rookery

As soon as I got to the bird rookery in north Tampa in late April I look over and see a muscovy duck family resting in the shade. I snapped a couple of pictures and then realized they see me. They all popped up and came running over to me.  “Not going to happen guys” I said. I’m not feeding them although I’m sure people who live in the nearby neighborhood do. After they realized I wasn’t going to feed them they got in the water and took off for a swim.

The wood storks were flying into the pond right near where I was standing and while getting a sip of water this one found a good stick to take back to the nest. He’s looking at me like “What do you think of my stick?”. I’m thinking “She’s going to kick you off the nest if you come back with that tiny stick.”

Wood storks were constantly flying over to surrounding trees and grabbing sticks to bring back to the nest.

True love is hard to find.

This guy was being lazy. Just watching all of the busy birds go by.

SkyWatch Friday