Why the storks bring the babies!

I think this was the youngest baby at the rookery. You could just barely make out the baby’s head at the bottom of mom’s beak.

Most of the other nests had babies that were pretty grown up. For some reason these guys were wet and dirty. Dad must have brought back some wet dirty moss to replensh the nest.

Moms were busy tending to the nests and babies all over the tiny island in the middle of this neighborhood pond.

Looks like this Mom had only one baby. Some had two or three.

Zooming in, these guys were all white and fluffy.

 

The annual trip to the Tampa rookery

As soon as I got to the bird rookery in north Tampa in late April I look over and see a muscovy duck family resting in the shade. I snapped a couple of pictures and then realized they see me. They all popped up and came running over to me.  “Not going to happen guys” I said. I’m not feeding them although I’m sure people who live in the nearby neighborhood do. After they realized I wasn’t going to feed them they got in the water and took off for a swim.

The wood storks were flying into the pond right near where I was standing and while getting a sip of water this one found a good stick to take back to the nest. He’s looking at me like “What do you think of my stick?”. I’m thinking “She’s going to kick you off the nest if you come back with that tiny stick.”

Wood storks were constantly flying over to surrounding trees and grabbing sticks to bring back to the nest.

True love is hard to find.

This guy was being lazy. Just watching all of the busy birds go by.

SkyWatch Friday

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.

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,

 

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.

Nesting season in full swing.

It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow and these birds are about to be very busy moms.

There were a few babies in the far back of the wood stork rookery in north Tampa in late March. You can barely make out the fuzz in the back nest. I was a little early for babies but was in the area so I stopped by for a quick visit.

Many of the wood storks were still fighting over nesting spots.

Many were still bringing in sticks to add to the nest.

A few great egrets were also looking for sticks.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms out there.

The old trees at the Reserve

I was looking through some old folders recently and came across some pictures I had taken of the great old trees at Circle B Bar Reserve. Some have changed a lot, some have not changed at all and some are gone.  The ones above were taken in December, 2010. They were full of wood storks and the marsh was full of coots. We rarely see coots there now.

The same tree, taken this past December.

Same trees as the first two pictures, taken in January of 2013.

The trees in the fog, taken in December of 2017.

This was taken in 2009. I loved the old tree full of moss.

My first trip to the reserve was in October 2009. The marsh and trees were full of birds.

 A very rare time I was there for the sunrise, back in November 2011.

 

Taken in 2011, some of the frequent visitors called this the “Magic” tree. It use to always have birds on it.

The same tree in 2013. Not long after this, the tree disappeared. It  must have fallen down from old age.

A recent picture of the tree that greets you on main trail. It’s rare to not stop and take a picture of some bird on it.

SkyWatch Friday

Growing up on the pond

The young wood storks have such an intriguing face.

Young cattle egrets and little blue herons starting to use their wings and learn their way around the mangroves.

Great egrets feeding their young go on for a long time. The baby egrets being fed already look like adults. I’m sure the parents are glad when they become empty nesters.

More shots from the bird rookery in north Tampa this summer.

Two parks in one morning.

A starling peeking out of what was probably a former woodpecker nest.

Thanks to Ken at Rosyfinch Ramblings for the ID on the above Orange crowned warbler. A first for me.

Little birds at Hammock Park.

A small wood stork party at Possum Branch Preserve.

Typical great egret shot but I noticed after I cropped it up that he’s missing part of his upper beak.

I started out at Hammock Park, a small park in Dunedin that I had not been before. After walking around for an hour and seeing very little, I left there and stopped at Possum Branch Preserve for a walk before heading home.

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