The St. Augustine Alligator Farm is an alligator zoo with a boardwalk into a wading bird rookery. The alligators rest below the bird nests, protecting the birds from predators like raccoons. The Alligator Farm caters to bird photographers, clipping tree branches so that visitors can look directly into bird nests. It's not unusual to see baby birds hatching! Roseate Spoonbills have started nesting here in the early 2010s.
Photography advice: Long lenses and intermediate telephotos are both good here. A flash will provide useful fill light on cloudy days and for flight shots.
Visit the St. Augustine Alligator Farm website
Consider joining the Photography Program for early entry
An early May visit to the Alligator Farm yielded lots of Roseate Spoonbills, including a very persistent juvenile on the nest with Mom!Read More
After visiting with the Least Terns a week ago, Michael and I stopped by the St. Augustine Alligator Farm to check out the rookery. I can't believe this is my first visit to a rookery this spring! Last spring I practically lived in them. It's prime nesting season at the rookery now. The Great Egret chicks are pretty big. Tiny Tricolored Herons and Snowy Egrets are beginning to hatch. There …Read More
(Rich picked the title. I hope you agree with him.) This is a Fractalized image of two Tricolored Heron babies taken last weekend at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. The nest was at waist-level and so close to the boardwalk that I had to add an extension tube to the Beast to be able to focus. I love how these little babies look like they are having such bad hair …Read More
I got some good news a few days ago…one of my pictures was selected as a winner in the St. Augustine Alligator Farm annual photo contest! I received a letter about a week ago, but they didn't tell me at that time which was my winning photo (I submitted several). So I had to wait until they updated their webpage to see which picture won. I was a little surprised …Read More
After a sunrise with the Least Terns, Michael and I headed up to the Alligator Farm for another few hours of photographing. For once I was happy that it was cloudy. It kept the temperature cooler and let me take shots that are usually very backlit in the mornings. The rookery is definitely starting to wind down. A lot of the birds have fledged, although there are still plenty of …Read More
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 …Read More
I drove up to St. Augustine to spend my off-Friday at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm's bird rookery. It's right at peak season and the rookery, and the activity is awesome! Some Great Egrets are still building nests, others have tiny babies, and still more have fledglings who know how to leave the nest but still haven't figured out how to feed themselves. Likewise, the Snowy Egrets and Tricolored Herons …Read More
I spent the morning at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm photographing the baby birds at the rookery. There are chicks of all kinds now, and the rookery is bursting with activity. The baby birds are not altogether unlike humans. For example, these two Snowy Egret chicks clearly weren't seeing eye-to-eye on who should get to eat breakfast first… More pictures coming tomorrow!
I couldn't take it any more…after seeing picture after picture on the new Alligator Farm Rookery blog, I had to make the trip up to St. Augustine! My best shot of the morning was this Roseate Spoonbill in flight. He flew into the "sweet spot" of open sky with perfect sun, and the light glistening off his feathers made my jaw drop when I viewed the image in the camera. …Read More
I went to print one of my favorite rookery pictures from this spring, and it bothered me that the background clutter detracted so much from the portrait of the mother and baby Tricolored Heron. I love the way the baby is peeking out from under Mama, but it was easy to miss him altogether in my original image. So I decided to break my "I don't use Photoshop to significantly …Read More
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm's bird rookery had a record-breaking four Roseate Spoonbill nests this spring. Two sets of chicks hatched a few weeks ago, but they are not visible from the boardwalk. The other two nests hatched last weekend, and the little guys are so cute! Dyeyo and I watched and waited for the babies to wake up, and we were rewarded for our patience by getting to …Read More
After hearing about all the roosting roseate spoonbills at the St. Augustine Farm Bird Rookery, Dyeyo and I decided that it would be worth the three hour drive to go see the spoonbill nests. When you first enter the rookery, you are on a boardwalk in between several large oak trees. In the tops of those trees, the wood storks have made their large nests. A little farther down, the …Read More
I read about the St. Augustine Alligator Farm in a photography magazine. It's an alligator farm, but wild marsh birds regularly make their nests in the "alligator swamp" each spring. The alligators keep their natural predators away while they raise their young. So Rich and I drove up to St. Augustine to take some pictures…and found we weren't the only ones who made the trip! There were some other birds …Read More