In mid-May I went to Fort De Soto to enjoy the cool water, breeze, and of course, the birds! A flock of terns was hanging out near the shore. They would wander out leg-deep in the water and splash around. If you’ve spent any time around shorebirds, you’ll know that a bath is followed by a photogenic wing-flap. Click-click-click goes the Beast…
Tiny Sanderlings scurried along the edge of the waves, searching the sand for breakfast. These birds are mostly white in the wintertime. It’s fun to see them put on their rich brown feathers as they prepare to breed.
I heard the distinct call of the American Oystercatcher as he flew in and landed a little distance away. This tolerant bird didn’t mind me as I got closer, laid down in the sand, and photographed him from a variety of angles. I reminded him that I’ve never seen a baby oystercatcher. He winked and made no promises. ;-)
I was surprised to see plenty of Black-bellied Plovers still hanging around Florida. Most of them had left by that point, off on their long flight to the Arctic tundra to breed and raise their babies. A few of them were sporting nice black bellies. Others hadn’t quite gotten their breeding plumage yet. But everybody enjoyed splashing in the water!
This Dunlin noticed the silly photographer sitting in shallow water and decided to wander close to her lens. He’s got his breeding plumage black belly, too!
I looked up and noticed a Magnificent Frigatebird flying overhead. They were very active that morning at the duck pond on Tierra Verde. It was fun to see one up close.
All together, it was a great morning to be out in the sunshine. The Royal Terns said goodbye as they continued to splash in the waves.
In mid-May I woke up early and decided to head up to the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. Baby birds are hatching all over the wetlands. You never know what you might see!
The morning started with a cool breeze and a bit of a misty sunrise. A flock of white birds (egrets and the odd heron) were fishing in the shallow ponds. There were few clouds in the sky as the sun peeked over the horizon.
Off in the distance I spotted a Fulvous Whistling-duck. I’m so used to seeing them at LAWD that I forget that I used to consider them a rare species! I looked carefully nearby to see if there was a young family accompanying the two adults. Not that morning. But I’m going to see the babies one day! :)
A Green Heron flew by and perched on a trunk literally right outside my window. My Beast was waaaay too much lens. The heron was unusually cooperative. He didn’t bolt as I put my intermediate telephoto on the camera and then took his portrait.
Baby Common Gallinules are all over the place at Lake Apopka! These tiny babies are so ugly that they are cute. My friend Dina says they look like aliens. I can definitely see the resemblance…
It was such a gorgeous morning. I pulled out my landscape lens again to photograph the clouds that puffed over the marsh. A little HDR makes this image just as blue as it was in real life.
I heard the familiar chips of Pied-billed Grebe chicks, and I spotted this little family off in some distant reeds. The two babies were already pretty big, but they still begged for food as persistently as when they were hatchlings. Of course they had to be a branch in the way. It’s the law of nature photography.
Further down the road I spotted another Green Heron. This one was sporting a rather outrageous hairstyle!
All over the wetlands, I was seeing Least Bitterns fly back and forth. These tiny birds are such fun to watch. They roll their tails in circles as they concentrate on the water below, searching for food. I finally found a Least Bittern nice and close to the road. He posed for me and then flew.
In mid-May, I decided that I needed to take Rich to eat at his favorite vegan restaurant, Ethos in Winter Park. Of course I had no ulterior motives….I just happened to have the Beast in the car. Plus the GPS just happened to make a small detour on the way to the restaurant. So as luck would have it, we enjoyed a brief visit to the Winter Park Osprey Nest and then Rich got his dinner. :)
I love to visit this nest because the distant trees make a beautiful background for the pretty birds. Junior was already getting big in mid-May. When we first pulled up, Mom and Junior were together on the nest. Junior is the bird in front. You can tell he’s the juvenile because of his reddish eyes.
As we watched, Dad flew in with a fish for Junior’s dinner. Suddenly the nest was a flurry of wings as the three birds placed the fish in the bottom and Mom started to feed Junior. Although he’s getting big, she still broke off bits and handed them to him.
I’ve never seen a baby Osprey preen as much as this one. He pulled out feather after feather, and they blew in the air around him. In this second photo below, he managed to balance a feather on the tip of his tongue, which he stuck out at his mother.
Maybe Mom hasn’t taught him that it’s not nice to stick your tongue out at other birds.