Herman invited my dad and me out on his boat to visit the Polk Rookery on Father’s Day. Activity there is winding down. Many of the young birds have already fledged. Recent rains have left the rookery cleaner — and less smelly — than I remember from the end of last season. There was still enough activity to keep our cameras busy… :)
The White Ibis and Cattle Egrets continue to nest at the end of the season. Also the Anhingas and Double-crested Cormorants nest there year-round. We saw several White Ibis bringing in nesting material, and some sitting patiently on nests. A pair of tiny White Ibises was sitting under Mom. The baby ibises are black and look quite different than their parents.
At the tops of the Brazilian Pepper stood many juvenile Wood Storks — wise old watchers, as Herman put it. They stood watch over the rest of the necks, only breaking their solemn poses when breakfast was brought in by a parent.
The Great Egrets are the first to nest, and some of the last to fledge. It’s interesting how the smaller birds, like Tricolored Herons and Snowy Egrets, start nesting later and fledge sooner, than the bigger birds. A couple of the fledgling Great Egrets were still hanging around on Sunday. One started a little beak-scuffle with a nearby fledgling Roseate Spoonbill.
This rookery is located in the middle of Central Florida, well inland from the normal nesting range of the Brown Pelican. Yet the Brown Pelican nests there. Last year there were several successful nests. This year all the nests failed, but a number of pelicans hang around the rookery year-round. Hopefully next year’s nests will be more productive.
It was a breezy morning, surprisingly cool for mid-June. It was very nice to spend the morning with my dad and with Herman. :)
Want to learn more about nature photography at Polk Rookery?
Check out my Polk Rookery 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!
Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!