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.

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.

Baby bird season

I headed up to the bird rookery in north Tampa in early April. I knew it was a little too early for a lot of babies but it was a nice afternoon out and this is an afternoon shoot spot since the sun comes up across the lake in the morning.  Great egrets were in all stages of nesting. Some had eggs, some had small babies and some looked like they were still flirting and working on nests.

There were at least 2 nests up front with baby wood storks. They look so pretty when they are babies with that orange beak and blue around their eyes. Woods storks are listed as a threatened species since their numbers are still small and are vulnerable to changing water levels. We are fortunate that they are a common bird in the Tampa bay area. I see them at many of the parks I visit as well as in the ponds in my neighborhood.

Birds were busy flying in and out of the rookery, bringing food to the babies and adding sticks to the nest. I was able to catch a great egret and a tricolored heron going by.

A tricolored heron was picking up sticks from the water and bringing them back to a hidden nest.

A rare thing to see in the Tampa bay area. It looks like some glossy ibis have been nesting here in the last few years. The nest is on the back side of the island so I haven’t seen any babies yet. For a long time I only saw them at Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland but I’ve seen a few here lately.

Flying across the trail

I walked out on the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-March and saw this. Lots of wading birds out in a small pond that had developed from the recent rain.

So many birds feeding in this one spot. Great egrets, snowy egrets, cattle egrets, great blue herons, wood storks, spoonbills and one large sandhill crane.

All of a sudden the sandhill crane took off across the marsh.

Glossy ibis were flying across the trail.

Spoonbills were flying in and out of the pond all morning. At one point one flew so close I couldn’t fit him all in and he was carrying a stick. He must have been heading for a nest.

Typical sight along the trail. A great blue heron in a dead snag.

Far out in the lake, a great egret sits alone.

My Corner of the World

January visit to the “Bar”

I was finally back out at Circle B Bar Reserve in late January. I hadn’t been since the middle of December. I missed the trails.

The “hot” bird to get at that time was the male northern harrier (or gray ghost as some people called him). I had gotten some extremely far away pictures in December (pin dots really) and was hoping to get a little closer this time. He still stayed far out in the marsh this trip as well but made a few quick passes closer to the trail. He’s cruising along the marsh looking for food (lizards, etc).

I could see a few hogs out in the marsh as well. I call them Oreos since they have the color pattern of Oreo cookies.

I’m not sure what this was. Some type of insect nest on the bushes?

The usual birds were there: woodstork, night heron, blue gray gnatcatcher, yellow rumped warbler and a pied grebe.

They were spraying some type of chemical to get rid of invasive plants. I hate seeing this. Especially here.

Cute squirrel in the parking lot when I got back to my car.

Critters close to home

I was coming home from the grocery store and saw this guy feeding in my neighborhood. I had my camera in the car so I had to make a quick stop and shoot this.

I’ve been keeping an eye out on the towers in the neighborhood and one day I saw this juvenile eagle sitting high up. Several of the towers have nests but I was thinking they were all osprey nests. One of the nests was an eagle’s nest. Maybe this guy was born in the neighborhood last year?

There’s a water reclamation facility close to home and every winter the pond is filled with wintering ducks. I finally stopped to check out what kind of ducks they were. This is a small section of the ducks that were in the pond. The majority of them were redhead ducks but there were a few lesser scaup mixed in. I think this pond has the highest number of wintering ducks in the area.

There were a few hooded mergansers staying away from the other ducks and kept close to the fence.

One morning I was heading to the Oldsmar fishing pier and I caught these guys right before the pier. “A spoonbill, a woodstork and a great egret walk into a bar…..”

I was heading to the fishing pier because I had seen an eagle sitting in the tree in the parking lot there back in October. I hadn’t seen him since until this day. He was cruising around the fishing pier before taking off over the houses nearby.

Low tide in late December

I headed down to Fort Desoto Park in late December hoping to see the huge flocks of white pelicans. No luck on North beach but I found a small flock of them way out sitting on a spoil island. The first shot is zoomed in and cropped up. Later I was walking on the beach and a lone one flew over my head.

I saw the above kingfisher flying around out in the North Beach marsh, diving for fish.

A few dunlins were feeding in the shallow end.

I love this time of year when it’s sunny and cool and the tide is really low. You can walk out forever before you get to ankle deep water.

Watching the ships go by from the fishing pier.

I stopped by Crescent Lake Park on the way home to look for otters and found a pair of white pelicans instead.

A few other birds at the lake were a wood stork and a lesser scaup with a snack in his beak. I think he had a crawfish.

SkyWatch Friday

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

Birds at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

It’s not often you can get this up close with an eagle. This one was missing part of his wing and was spending his time at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. I caught him taking a bath.

Pelicans were hanging out in their big open space. Some were starting to nest.

Other birds were just hanging out and preening when I was there in mid-November.

I caught these two wild night herons fighting over nesting space over the roof of an exhibit.

You can also get close to the spoonbills. And since the flamingos were right behind you, you wouldn’t have to look at them and think they were flamingos.