I drove up to St. Augustine this morning to visit the St. Augustine Alligator farm rookery. There are babies everywhere! I didn’t spend much time on flight shots today, instead concentrating on making good images of babies. It’s hard to do that, with all the sticks and branches and nesting material everywhere. Next time I should try an extension tube to limit the depth of focus.
I have a great time watching the baby birds learning how to be birds. For the first few weeks, their entire world is their nest, and the highlight of the day is when Mom brings food. The parents have such patience as they sit on the nest, enduring the constant screeching from their offspring. The chicks are pretty good at letting their parents know when they are hungry…
There is one Great Egret nest in the big oak tree, right at eye level with a not-too-cluttered background. The babies had just woken up when I noticed them, then Dad flew in with breakfast. Oh boy! They wiggled just as hard as they could with excitement. I had a bunch of nice shots from this sequence, but this one is my favorite (and doesn’t it figure that the flash didn’t fire on the best mother/chick head angle shot!!)
These Snowy Egret chicks are big enough to play Neighborhood Watch. A new Snowy was moving into the tree, its feathers bright with peak breeding colors. He kept trying to get too close to the nest, and the chicks fussed and fussed at him. I love the symmetry of these three as they line up to face the enemy. They won, too!
The Wood Stork nests are high in the trees, and the best light angle would be in the afternoon. Nonetheless, when this guy sat there radiating cuteness, I dialed in some extra flash and shot anyway.
The Roseate Spoonbills are getting bigger. I did spot a pretty photographable nest in a palm tree that had tiny little guys in it. I’ll have to go back soon… :) This chick below was buried deep in a tree, so I used my flash as the main light and captured that developing little spoon…
Finally, this Snowy chick posed in a nice window of tree branches. I think they are my favorite tiny chicks, with the blue and yellow accents to their bright white pin feathers.
Want to learn more about nature photography at Alligator Farm?
Check out my Alligator Farm page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!
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