Kayak Paddle Tales and Birdography
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Back to the rookery at the Alligator Farm!
April prepares her green
traffic light, and the world
The great egrets had chicks of varying ages. The snowy egrets had eggs but no chicks yet. The wood storks had some chicks. I couldn't tell what was in the roseate spoonbill nests as they were very high up in the trees. The little blue herons did not appear to have any chicks and I did not see any eggs in their nests.
Many of the egrets were still in the breeding stage, and most had their breeding plumage and bright green nares (area around the eyes on the beak). This is one of my favorite photos of the day, as it shows the plumage, but also the egrets in the background.
And of course there were many chicks with their parents...
I watched this wood stork head back to the nest with a nice leafy branch:
And then off it goes to find more...
These chicks were left waiting while Mom or Dad (in background) fly off on an errand...
This little snowy egret was sitting on a couple of blue eggs.
These two chicks were waiting patiently in their nest:
until it got boring. Look! I can fly!
That was actually kind of scary to watch. This rookery exists because the many, many (many) alligators in the water below these trees keep the birds safe from critters. However, sometimes these little chicks fall (or are pushed by siblings) out of their nests, only to be an alligator snack. Luckily none met that fate while I was there.
I waited a long time for these wood stork chicks to wake up from napping and show themselves, but no such luck. Only the parents...
A small battle broke out at the nest in the uppermost branches of a tree.
This little blue heron was very protective of its nest; I couldn't tell if it had eggs or not.
This is another favorite photo of a family:
The rest of these are more photos I took while there, images that caught my eye as they were happening. Of course there are numerous chick photos.
On my way out, I passed by a red parrot, so of course I decided to include it here, even though it was not in the rookery. It adds color!
I'm toying with going back to the rookery next month to check on the snowy egret chicks and the little blue heron chicks. And there's always a chance I will get back out to the river! Stand by.
Sunday, November 04, 2012
Not Paddling at the Wildlife Refuge
I had in mind a message, although I
hope it doesn't intrude too badly, persuading
Americans, and especially Southerners,
of the critical importance of land and our
vanishing natural environment and wildlife.
~E. O. Wilson
We just love coming to this place, there's always stuff to see. The water level in the wetlands area of the refuge is very low now--an in fact, one of the ponds is now just a grassy area. But the water level is fine nearer to the Gulf (I think they can control some of the inland water levels). This grebe had a lot of water to swim around in!
We usually walk over past the lighthouse to the shoreline beyond it first. There were little sand crabs running all over the beach area. I noticed these two little boys in the grass, probably in a muddy area, probably looking for more crabs. I wonder what the older one is saying to the younger...
We next walked around the big pond on the other side of the lighthouse. There were a few pelicans on the pilings in the Gulf, as usual, and several egrets and herons in the pond. And these ducks.
We continued on around, passing the boat ramp and heading back to the road to complete the circle. This great blue heron was standing in the grass near the water. I'm not sure if I like the bird better in this photo or the texture of the grass around him.
As we were nearing the lighthouse again, I spotted this egret on a little patch of grass in the middle of a channel.
I was able to get closer to it a little farther up the road. It was getting a bit breezy by this time.
Time for a little feather-fluffing....
...and maybe a bit more...
And then we were back to the car; time to go. This is a wonderful spot--if you live near it or will be traveling or camping near it, it's worth taking the time to visit.
Speaking of camping, I am finally getting back to it this week, without the kayak on this trip. I'll be out paddling again when I get back. Stand by.