Young old souls

Wood storks are born looking like old souls. These babies are only a few months old and already look like an old man. I stopped by the bird rookery in north Tampa in mid-April and the little island in the middle of the small lake was full of older babies. Wood storks were the predominant birds with a few great egret and cattle egrets nesting as well.

This rookery is so busy that the families were all on top of each other.

Triplets were posing for me.

Parents were back and forth bringing in food and more padding for the nests.

I think these were the youngest ones there. All still fuzzy and white.

Wood stork babies seem to be more quiet than great egret babies. There wasn’t as much clacking going on.Since the island is in the middle of the lake, these were all taken with my 300mm lens and cropped up.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World.

Dirty beaks

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Flying back and forth from the nest, the wood stork parents stay busy keeping the nests neat and bringing in food.

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The parents of these triplets were busy feeding them. All three of the babies looked healthy. I did notice they all had dirty beaks.

More from the wood stork rookery in north Tampa during my stop in early June.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

A face only a mother could love.

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These are all wood stork babies at various ages.  All were born this spring or into summer. There’s a small mangrove island in the middle of a small pond in north Tampa that gets a lot of wood storks, cormorants and other water birds nesting every spring. I didn’t get up there until mid June and I thought most of the babies would have already grown up but there were still a few young ones there.

Annual spring fashion show at Gatorland

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Cattle egrets have their flirting makeup on.

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The tricolored herons were showing off as well.

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The snowy egrets were still in the early flirting stage.

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The storks across the lake already had their babies.

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This great blue heron was too busy stuffing his face to care about nesting.

I love the way the birds all change colors during the nesting season. Their feathers and faces get brighter. I didn’t make it to Gatorland in Orlando this year until early May. This was my 7th spring to visit the bird rookery there over the alligator lake. The great egrets nest first and most of those babies were already grown. Cattle egrets and snowy egrets were just having their babies.  Tricolored herons were sitting on nests but didn’t have any babies yet. It’s always fun to see the birds all interacting together.  And yes, I took a ton of pictures that morning so there’s more to come.

Wood stork babies in north Tampa

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Little baby and big baby wood storks.

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They were ready for  Mom to feed them.

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Getting some shade.

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Another nest close by with two babies.

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A nest with one baby that’s a little bit older.

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The tiniest one there. You could just barely make out the little cotton ball head on the right. Mom was staying close by.

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A parent flying in.

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Cattle egret families were on the island as well.

I had read for several years that there was a small lake in north Tampa (so north I felt like I was almost driving to Georgia) that had a small island in the middle where wood storks nested each spring. I finally made it up there this past mid-May. The lake has houses on 3 sides so there’s only a small park to view the island from. Unfortunately, it’s a late afternoon shoot. I was there right before lunch and was shooting straight into the sun.  I went ahead and took the above shots since I wasn’t sure when I’d get back up there again. Babies ranged in age from a few days old to almost grown. The island was fairly far away so all of the above are extremely cropped. The island also had a few cattle egret, great egret and anhinga nests. I’m not real happy with the pictures but wood stork babies are pretty rare around here so I was just glad to see them. Next spring I’ll plan ahead and try to get up there at a better time.