Cormorants and anhingas drying off in the sun. The first bird in the top picture is an anhinga. The rest are cormorants. Anhingas have a straight beak and spear their fish. Cormorants have a curved beak and hook their fish.
Threes a crowd.
All taken at Lake Morton and Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland. The small lakes are just a few minutes apart so it’s easy to do quick walks around both before heading home.
This spring we had a drought here in central Florida. The marshes at Circle B Bar Reserve had all dried up except for a tiny few spots. This one marsh still had some water in it so all of the birds were feeding in the same spot. I guess the bugs were plentiful in this spot. I’m not sure how long they stayed there feeding but the morning I was there in late April they were packed in and fighting over space. The crowd was mostly great egrets, snowy egrets and spoonbills but there were a few tricolored herons, little blue herons, great blue herons and green herons. Oh, also glossy ibis, white ibis and wood storks. It’s been years since we’ve seen that many water birds congregate like that so everyone was taking tons of pictures including me.
Scruffy looking baby egrets. I think these were snowy egrets.
Baby blue herons sticking close together.
Baby anhingas already grown up.
Tiny baby wood stork on the nest.
Baby great egrets in various stages of growing up.
I was watching this almost grown baby great egret exercising his wings. I don’t think he had fledged yet. He kept practicing flapping but never made it off the bush. He was probably gone in another day or so.
It’s fun watching the baby birds grow up in the bushes along the lake at Gatorland. The trip in late May provided babies from all stages of growing up.
It was mid-May and birds were still gathering sticks for nests. All morning long they were flying back and forth from one set of bushes to another.
A sandhill crane flies over the park.
Wood storks were busy adding to their nests.
Cattle egrets were doing the same.
It’s always busy in the mornings at the bird rookery in Gatorland. Wild birds are still coming in to nest over the lake full of alligators. The mangroves were filled with nests in different stages. Some had parents still sleeping on eggs, some had newborn babies, some had almost adult babies still screaming to be feed. Lots of fun activities to take pictures of.
The snowy egrets were still in the early flirting stage.
The storks across the lake already had their babies.
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.