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.
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.
It was late February and I was going to be near north Tampa so I threw my camera in the car and stopped by the rookery before heading home. The nice thing about this one is that I can park on the side of the road and step out and start taking pictures. I knew it was too early for any babies but wanted to see how the nesting was going. There were tons of woods storks on the rookery and on the side of the pond.
They were all busy flying in and out of the rookery. I love how they hover with their landing gear down.
Most were busy getting sticks for the nest. You can really see the purple feathers in the top one.
There were a lot of couples and both were working on the nest. Many were already sitting on eggs.
The cutest little muscovy duck family came swimming by, staying close to Mom.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.