Growing old quickly

The young wood storks have such interesting faces. They lose that hint of blue and pink in their beaks when they get older. It’s a shame they look so old so fast. There were a lot of young ones at the rookery in north Tampa back in early June. Many were practicing their wing flaps.

This young one was eating something gunky. That orange gunk doesn’t look like regurgitated fish.

The adults were busy going about their day. The one in the bottom picture looks like he has paint across his back. Maybe he brushed up against something. He seemed okay.

Baby birds growing up

I made it to the rookery in north Tampa in early June for my last trip of the nesting season. I wasn’t sure if there would still be any babies at this point or would they all be grown up by now. The first thing I saw at the edge of the pond was this tiny gator trying to hide in the vegetation. Even though he was small I still kept my eye on him while I was there.

This cattle egret looks like he has a boo boo on his face.  Hopefully it’s just superficial and heals. Maybe he got it in a fight with another egret?

The baby anhingas were already fully grown.

There were still a few little blue herons flirting so there may still be some babies later.

A baby night heron emerged from deep in the bushes.

These flowers were growing all over the rookery as well as along the woods next to street. The ants seemed to be enjoying them.

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Lots of birds at the rookery.

There’s something comical about baby anhingas. They were yelling for Mom to feed them and I could hear them from far across the pond.

A great egret waiting for her offspring to arrive.

A little blue heron was still flirting, trying to attract a mate.

Snowy egrets showing off.

Crazy antics at the bird rookery in north Tampa in May.

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A face only a mother could love

Woods storks are listed as an uncommon bird on the All About Birds page and are listed as federally threatened. They are fairly common here in the Tampa bay area. I see them pretty regularly at most of the parks that I visit.  There is a rookery in Tampa that has a large population of them nesting. I love going to see them in the late spring and watch them raising their babies. The babies are just as homely as the parents. These were taken in late April.

Many of the storks were still flirting and building nests,

 

Screaming white fuzz balls.

It’s that time of the year again. Where the bushes over ponds are loud with baby great egrets screaming for food. The north Tampa rookery had a few families that were already making a lot of noise.

These little babies have a lot of personality and are very loud for their size.

I was able to catch Mom feeding the baby and it looks like he got a good size piece of regurgitated fish from her. It’s amazing how big the food is when they swallow it. He got that piece down with no problem.

Flirting at the local watering hole

The snowy egrets were showing off and flirting.

The little blue herons were doing the same thing.

Some of the other birds were also showing off with their breeding faces.

The turtles were watching all of the action.

Even the cormorants were flirting and chasing each other high up in the trees.

Unlikely pair in the same tree, a wood stork and an osprey.

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Getting ready to deliver some babies

There’s a small pond in north Tampa that has an island in the middle of it that turns into a bird rookery in the spring. Wild wood storks, great egrets, cattle egrets and herons nest here. The afternoon I stopped by in late March, the wood storks were busy building nests. They were flying back and forth to the woods across the street and bringing branches back to the nests. The storks seemed to take the task very seriously.

One of them stopped to get a drink of water and then decided to take a bath before heading back to the rookery and shaking off.

Flights were taking off and landing non-stop the hour I was there. I love watching the wood storks, They seem like kind old gentle souls moving slowly.