Spoonbill Heaven at Stick Marsh!

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For years I’ve heard of Stick Marsh, and this year, I decided to go see it for myself. Oh wow!! It’s Roseate Spoonbill Heaven! The birds nest on a small island that is easily viewed from the shoreline. They fly in regularly to grab sticks to take back to their nest. I sat back with my intermediate telephoto and enjoyed some amazing flight photography.

Roseate Spoonbills at Stick Marsh
Roseate Spoonbills at Stick Marsh

Such beautiful birds!! Such bright pink colors against the pale blue water in the early morning light! It was easy to see why they call this place the Stick Marsh…

Roseate Spoonbills at Stick Marsh
Roseate Spoonbills at Stick Marsh

I can’t remember the last time I had such a fun morning with my camera. Bird after bird flew in, and the flight shots were amazing. Most of the best shots were the spoonbills coming in to grab a stick, but sometimes, I’d get one on a good angle carrying his stick back to the nest…

Roseate Spoonbills at Stick Marsh
Roseate Spoonbills at Stick Marsh

My friends don’t always understand how I can sit in one place and photograph birds for hours on end, but I think even non-birders would enjoy watching these beautiful birds up close.

Roseate Spoonbills at Stick Marsh
Roseate Spoonbills at Stick Marsh

When there were lulls in the incoming bird action, I switched to doing close-ups of the birds at the water’s edge. Some were quite selective about their sticks. It’s very important to get just the right one! Then when you do find the perfect stick, it’s very important to show it off for the camera…

Roseate Spoonbills at Stick Marsh
Roseate Spoonbills at Stick Marsh

In fact, sometimes the perfect stick is so great, it attracts multiple spoonbills! I had to laugh when these two birds each grabbed opposite ends of the same stick. They appeared to play tug of war. The one on the right won. I’m sure his mate was impressed with such a good stick.

Roseate Spoonbills at Stick Marsh
Roseate Spoonbills at Stick Marsh

As the morning went on, the light wasn’t as good, and the flight shots were less frequent. That’s when the baths started. This Roseate Spoonbill was still showing pretty good breeding colors when he waded out into the water and started to splash around. What a great end to a wonderful morning!

Roseate Spoonbill Bath
Roseate Spoonbill Bath

Now that I’ve discovered Spoonbill Heaven, I’ll definitely be back!

Want to learn more about nature photography at Stick Marsh?

Check out my Stick Marsh 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!

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