After leaving Lettuce Lake Park in north Tampa, I stopped by the bird rookery before heading home for one last look before it got too hot. It was fun seeing all of the juvenile wood storks almost grown up. It’s amazing how fast baby birds grow up. A few months later and they are as big as Mom. The young ones still have that pretty pale pink beak and a little fuzz on their heads.
Many of this spring’s early babies were already flying over to the side of the pond across from the mangrove island.
There were 3 snowy egret babies right in the front of the island. They were screaming for Mom who was close by.
High up in the tree a young cormorant was waiting for Mom to cough up the regurgitated fish.
On the way out of the neighborhood I saw a pair of sandhill cranes and stopped for a few minutes to get the above shots.
I stopped in again at the wood stork rookery in north Tampa in mid-May. The small island in the middle of a medium pond was still packed with birds nesting. Wood storks were busy flying in back to the nest.
Most of the babies were almost grown at this point. They have pretty faint yellow and pink beaks when they are young.
Many of them were practicing their wing flapping. Getting ready for that first flight.
“Whadda you want?”
I saw a lady get out of her car near the end of the pond and I thought maybe she was taking pictures from farther away but then I realized she had dumped bread on the bank to feed the birds. She dumped and drove off. I would loved to have been able to tell her that old bread is bad for the birds. They should be eating bugs and fish. By the time I walked over to the area the bread had been snatched up by the wood storks.
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.
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.
for bringing home fish for every meal. The wood storks at the rookery in north Tampa were flirting and making nests. Some couples were already sitting on eggs.
This couple, one of many, were getting busy making babies.
Linking to Saturday’s Critters.
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.
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.
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.