Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bird Rookery in St. Augustine --Part II

The richness I achieve comes from nature,
the source of my inspiration.
~Claude Monet

And here we are in Part II of the bird rookery photos!

First back to the egrets and their nest-building, which involved a lot of flying back and forth to find twigs and then bringing those twigs to their mates, waiting patiently in the nest.

There were various degrees of over-achievers. This one, who found a really big stick for the nest,

and then there was one that found an even bigger stick. Unfortunately, it dropped it in the water. When the stick hit the water, a gator swam over to investigate, leaving the egret perched in a tree, waiting for a second chance at it. Which it got.

Making progress....

And then it dropped it. And left it in the water. Good call.

Then there were the less ambitious. I'm not sure if you can even make out the tiny bit of material in this one's beak. I call this one Honey, I'm Home.

Once the nests were built, it was time to work on filling them.


The not-yet-paired continued to work at attracting a significant other.

On both days that I was at the zoo, there were roseate spoonbills hunkered down in trees just beyond the water and behind the trees that the storks and egrets were occupying. Too far and too leaf-covered to photograph. And then on Sunday one of them came down to the water.

More snowy egrets showed up on Sunday.


The odd thing about this rookery is that while you are standing on this wooden boardwalk marveling at the birds, many, many gators are swimming around about four feet below where you stand. I couldn't help but wonder, if only fleetingly, how often they perform maintenance on the underwater sections of the boardwalk and check the integrity of the railings. The gators are quiet and there are so many of them that after a while at the place you sort of get used to them and it's easy to forget what they are. Before I left, I turned to take a photo of some people on the boardwalk, with the gators gathered beneath them.

On my way back to the car I finally took the time to look at a few of the other exhibits. You can't go anywhere without seeing the gators, so of course I got a few photos of them.


I'm not sure exactly what these are, but they are huge.

They have a lot of exotic birds, including parrots, African crested cranes, gigantic vultures, and this fella.

And that's it for the photos from this trip. Back to paddling now. I'm still waiting for our regular birds to return to the river.

Stand by.


Katney said...

The gators freak me out.

SophieMae said...

WoWoWoWoWWWW!!!!! That's all I can say. Your pics have left me speechless! I had to come to the library to load the pages, coz I got tired of having to reload every time it timed out. WELL worth the trip! I'm campaigning now for WiFI at home. Just need to put together a prospective proving we'd actually save money. 8-]

Kimberlee said...

Phenomenal!!! I love this series of photos! The whole subject amazes me and your capture of nesting/mating just blows me away!

Those gators look very well-fed. Do you think people drop food from that walkway? Maybe that accounts for the gators' interest.

Suzanne said...

Your photos are spectacular! I loved the graceful ballet in the first picture and the series of nest building/nest filling pictures. It was so interesting seeing the gators hanging out.

Your photos always have such a sense of the life of the critter you are looking. That together with your comments make me feel like I am there, too. Thank you!

Heather said...

That first shot is really incredible. Any shot where those white birds contrast against that deep blue sky... those have an extra bit of "pop" to them.

Peggy said...

Thanks for the comments! Hi Kimberlee! Oh yes, I'm certain people are feeding the gators from the walkway, since there are dispensers positioned at intervals--for 25 cents you can get a handful of pellets to toss to them (I bet if a person fell in, they would look over and say "Look, someone fell in. I wish someone would throw us some pellets, I'm starving!"

kjpweb said...

Wonderful images - crisp and clear!
St Augustine is always worth a trip!
If you want to top that - you got to go to Gatorland in Orlando - my today's post is all from there - incidentally also all Great White Egrets!
Always enjoy stopping by!
Cheers, Klaus

Stacie said...

Wow...those gators look like they're just there waiting for someone to toss a kid in! got some really awsome photos always do. Those building the nest are so cool! And this guy in the bottom photo looks like he could crack coconuts with his skull!


Kimberlee said...

Dispensers?!!! Duh! Yeah, I guess that WOULD account for some of the congregating. It's still a little unnerving to see them hanging out all expectant-like, though. :)

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Just absolutely amazing photos. So many are frame-able! Great eye, although I know it also takes a great mind and patience to get shots like that ...

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Beeeeeautiful photography :)

Red Hair Fellow

Anna said...

Wow the most beautiful shots of birds I ever seen. So much detail, and expecially getting them in flight or action. Splendid job. Anna :)