I previously worked as a news and sports photographer. Recently I have been enjoying wildlife photography. My approach toward bird photos is similar to sports photography. I attempt to capture mostly action and hopefully a unique perspective.
One day last week I noticed this great blue heron standing in the reeds at the edge of the salt marsh and I could tell from his body posture he was up to something. Sure enough, out came the wings forming what appears to be a collection dish shape in what we call the ‘flashing’ pose.
From what I understand, it is a method some birds will use to thermoregulate their body temperature.
But a short time later when a wood stork landed nearby and started to strike a similar pose, the GBH got all upset and vocal while letting Woody know that he was copying the whole routine!
We had a very active weekend over at the marsh. On Saturday, ten spoonbills arrived and they began feeding together as a group in the salt marsh! In the second group photo you can see the deer antler sticking up out of the water as the tide was still falling.
Our injured friend was among the group and I am happy to report that he is doing much better and continues to feed and fly normally. We saw him flying all over the place this weekend and at one point he even got into a small scuffle with another spoonie.
Then yesterday we had eight white pelicans show up in the marsh pond. They started out standing around in a group with the wood storks, but eventually began to slowly float back and forth hunting for fish. A spoonbill watches some of the big pelicans with a curious look in his eye as it’s possible he has never seen these large birds before.
And of course I can’t forget our good pal Mr. A who at times like this tends to get a bit lost in the shuffle. With all the excitement about the spoonbills he was not commanding his usual attention and those consequences won’t be good for anybody. But he was also active (well at certain times) this weekend keeping an eye on everything and everyone and also managed to get in a little fishing.
Yes indeed, very busy weekend for us all!
Yesterday evening, just prior to sunset, we had two new spoonbills show up in the salt marsh during low tide. The pair found a nice spot to feed, but at one point a little snowy egret must have done something to aggravate the spoonbill on the right because he really let snowball have it!
The incident was over quickly though, and the spoonies continued on with their business as if nothing happened. I suspect that snowball, being a bit more high strung, will take a while longer to get over it!
After leaving the sea turtle nest area we were treated to a beautiful sunset on our walk back to the car. Here are two views looking west from the beach. The sky color change from the first photo to the second took 20 minutes.
And of course we had to check in on our resident spoonbill out in the salt marsh just at sunset still doing his thing. :-)
Last night park personnel conducted a sea turtle nest inventory. This is done after a turtle nest has hatched so that the broken eggs can be counted, and DNA testing can reveal which mama turtle laid this particular nest. Occasionally un-hatched eggs are found and these are returned to the nest and covered back over with sand.
On more rare occasions, a live baby sea turtle or two is discovered in the process of it’s journey through the sand packed nest and up onto the beach where it has to make it’s way to the ocean. Last night was a considerably rare event as a significant number of live babies were uncovered and these were gently placed into a bucket for release on the beach. Once placed on the sand, the tiny turtles will begin their life’s journey to the ocean and hopefully make a successful swim to the Gulf Stream.
At one point during the nest excavation, turtle inventory team member Molly was surprised and delighted when a baby cracked open it’s shell and hatched right in her hand as she was holding it!
When you see how small these baby turtles are it seems impossible that any could possibly survive the long trip to the Gulf Stream but of course some certainly do. The mother of these babies may have started her own journey from this very same beach 35 years ago, and it’s possible one of these tiny creatures will return some day to make a nest of her own.
It was a truly memorable scene last night feeling and being this close to nature as it unfolds. To watch these miniature turtles so purposefully march their way down the sandy beach toward the ocean, making their little footprints, was in many ways a spiritual experience.
Some had to climb over clumps of seaweed, and others were initially knocked back by a small wave, but each and every one eventually made it’s way into the ocean to start it’s new and incredible life!
Well our injured pink friend is still around the area and he seems to be recovering fairly well with his wounds.
He is behaving as normal, hanging out and feeding with his friends including a tricolored heron and a cormorant. Also relaxing in a tree with an egret, and he appears to be flying just fine.
We were glad he stayed around so we could keep an eye on him and continue to hope the injuries heal. And maybe if we are all lucky, some spoonbill friends will arrive so he has company!