A Few Recent Bird/Wildlife Shots from the S. Fla Wetlands

Discussion in 'Non Disney Photos / Mobile Phone Photos' started by zackiedawg, Jan 8, 2021.

  1. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    For any considering an excursion down here for some birding and wildlife shooting, I haven't posted any recent wildlife stuff in a while, as it's not a general topic too many are interested in. But thought those that are might like a glimpse of some of the stuff we've been seeing down here the past few weeks...so here's an appetizer of stuff taken since Christmas - a bit of wetlands tapas:

    Roseate spoonbill:
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    Red-shouldered hawk:
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    Great blue heron in flight, low over the water:
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    Wood stork flying past:
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    Alligator opening its mouth to exhaust excess heat:
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    Brown water snake all coiled up on a palm frond fan:
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    Pied-billed grebe:
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    Female anhinga with a nice sized fish:
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    Green iguana wearing his orange mating colors, saying hello:
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    Osprey, fresh out of the water with a fish catch, shaking itself off while flying:
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    Common yellowthroat down by the water:
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    The hard to find and hard to catch in the open, sora:
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    A Florida cooter, taking a load off his feet to rest high and dry:
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    The lovely male least bittern, another bird that birders from abroad really hope to see down here:
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    Tricolor heron, making the plunge for a fish:
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    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  2. gary

    gary Member

    all right, you have me interested
     
    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  3. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    This is really a great time of year down here - not only the wintering and migrating birds, but the cooler weather, and now the nesting is really starting in earnest.
    This past Saturday, 1/9/21, I had a couple of hours at the end of the day to pop into my local wetlands spots. Starting around 3:20pm and wrapping up at 5:15pm, just under two hours just taking a 2 1/2 mile slow walk and shooting what I came across...this will give an idea of the density and diversity:

    Really close up of a double-crested cormorant standing about 10 feet from me, and staring down at the water looking for fish:
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    Pied-billed grebe cruising along:
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    Red-shouldered hawk flying over me and circling:
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    Tricolor heron flying past me, low and close:
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    The gorgeous American bittern, enjoying some late afternoon sun:
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    A little blue heron cruising past:
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    Eastern phoebe perched on a branch:
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    Tricolor heron flying overhead as sunset light kicked in:
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    Roseate spoonbill flying past catching that warm sunset glow:
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    A great egret passing high overhead, catching the final sunlight of the day:
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    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  4. Nancy AK

    Nancy AK Member

  5. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    Well it's been about a month, and I haven't shared any of the wildlife since January 9. But it's still fast and furious down here - nesting season is ON, thousands of birds have nests built, lots of feeding and nest building and flying all about. It's been crazy! Here are a few more to share taken on a few weekend days from January 16th to January 30th:

    Purple gallinule:
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    Pine warbler:
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    Tricolor heron who tried to plunge down on a fish but came up empty:
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    Boat-tailed grackle male, in his glossed up iridescent beauty, flying past:
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    Black-bellied whistling duck flying head-on:
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    Double-crested cormorant coming in to land:
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    Another tricolor heron flying past:
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    One of our rare winter visitors - the female hooded merganser:
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    Also here for the winter - the American wigeon:
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    We've got the lesser yellowlegs down for winter:
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    Not to be overlooked, we also have the greater yellowlegs here!:
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    It's not all birds...here's a banded water snake, showing why they're called 'water snakes':
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    And the usually very elusive sora, which down here in winter can be spotted 4-6 times a day:
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    We've got a few larger reptiles around Florida too - and as you can see, they're happy to be here:
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    Though some nests are just being started and some haven't laid their eggs yet, other species have already hatched their eggs, and the chicks are growing fast. Here's a great blue heron chick, getting quite large already:
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    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  6. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    Time for another update, as it's been almost 2 weeks! The wetlands are crazy-go-nuts now, full of nesting birds and breeding birds and wintering birds, and all the usual reptiles too. We're entering prime nesting season and soon the wetlands will be full of noise from thousands of screaming chicks wanting food. This is what I call 'BIF-palooza' season, as you can stand almost anywhere, and photograph 10 species of bird flying past you, about one every 5 seconds, as close as 10 feet. Here are some shots from the first few weeks of February, up to this past weekend:

    The wood storks have arrived by the hundreds, and have either built their own nests or stolen the nests of other birds. The first order of business for the wood storks is to start making new wood storks:
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    And then, start gathering more sticks to build those giant nests:
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    The osprey are always flying around, looking for fish below:
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    The sora are supposed to be secretive, elusive birds to find in the wetlands. Not here - there are dozens of them, and they don't even run and hide when you spot them:
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    Speaking of 'elusive' - one of the very hardest birds to ever spot and photograph - the excellently camouflaged whip-poor-will - was having a rest on a downed branch on the ground. That's the only reason I was able to notice it - just enough separation from the ground in the background!:
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    I did mention reptiles - I've been sharing all the bird life, but some reptiles deserve a little attention, like this beautiful brown basilisk lizard still wet from a recent rain, showing off all of his ridges, sails, dewlaps and all:
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    The red-winged blackbirds sometimes get a little annoyed with the paparazzi, and gives them a piece of their mind:
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    The pied-billed grebe chicks have hatched, and boy are they hungry - mom had caught a fish and baby was after that thing:
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    The male blue-winged teal is looking beautiful with all the mating colors turned on:
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    Also busy nesting right now is a pair of red-shouldered hawks...the male was on a tree across from the nest watching anyone who passed by:
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    The great egrets are all nesting right now, and they've all turned on their full breeding colors - the long aigrette feathers on their backs and the lovely green lores on the face:
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    And the cattle egret - that plain white bird with little bits of pale yellow that stand around on the backs of cows, can actually become quite stunning when they turn on their breeding colors, as seen here:
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    The wood storks...yep, the job of building the nests is never really over. Rather than haul tiny sticks over dozens of flights, some wood storks try to reduce their travels by bringing home entire trees:
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    I encountered the otters again. Or I should say, they encountered me. This one popped up out of the duckweed, saw me, and seemed very curious:
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    I don't speak 'otter' - but this had to mean something. It walked up onto the shore about 8 feet from me, stared at me for a few seconds, then turned around, stuck its bum my direction, and wiggled it around furiously, before plunging back in the water:
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    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  7. These are awesome!! It's like a beauty pageant for birds.

    Would you say that February is the peak month for the breeding plumage? These birds are stunning and your photos capture them excellently!
    Thanks for sharing them.
    ~Joanie
     

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