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.
The beach and salt marsh area had only been opened by the state about two weeks, and after hearing reports of Roseate Spoonbill sightings we had to head over and check out the scene.
Well there were indeed several spoonbills out feeding during low tide. One of the older birds was off by himself having a delightful time scooping up numerous amounts of fish and shrimp. After a short time another younger spoonie came flying in to join the fun. That did not initially go over too well with our more mature friend who concluded it was time to express his displeasure by attempting to bite the leg of the newcomer. He just barely missed with that one, but the message was received.
Just before we left, yet another of the big, pink visitors came in for a landing. Now it’s only a matter of waiting to see if they end up sticking around for the entire season. In any case, always great to see these fun birds!
A spoonbill had joined a trio of snowy egrets when suddenly an alligator came slowly gliding in.
The snowys didn’t seem at all concerned but the spoonbill was a very young bird and likely had little experience with alligators.
Actually, the alligator seemed a bit young as well so he was possibly somewhat bewildered along with the spoonie. In any case they all got along fine and ended up continuing along with their day as normal.
We still have a good size number of wood storks feeding and roosting in and around the salt marsh area. Here is a portion of one group converging on a seafood feast along with a few egrets at low tide.
Inevitably, one wood stork will jump off and fly to a new section, frequently one at a time and the rest will soon follow.
I watched a few individuals leave the crowd and fly away to their new fishing hole always in hopes of hitting the jackpot.
Some say the wood storks have a face only a mother could love but they are interesting birds and among the fastest of all the wading birds in snapping their beaks shut on a fish.
I saw this alligator laying down along the edge of the marsh and I thought he looked a bit depressed, almost like he just lost his best friend.
Of course it’s possible he may have just eaten his best friend, but that would be pure speculation and will forever remain one of the mysteries of nature.
Or then again, maybe Mister A is simply fat, happy, and out enjoying a pleasant afternoon in the sun. Yeah, I think I’ll go with that!
Last week when the spoonbills were in, we also had the usual crowd of wood storks, ibis, blue herons, great and snowy egrets all chasing the assorted schools of fish and shrimp.
While several other people moved over to watch the spoonies in the marsh, I kept my eye on this one lone egret because he had that look which I knew meant lunch was about to be served. And indeed it was, the egret came up with a nice fish meal.
Since I was the only person nearby, the egret took a few steps toward me to proudly show off his fresh caught seafood specialty. I was of course appropriately impressed.
Glossy Ibis have always been a somewhat uncommon bird in our area. We would see some occasionally, but you could never count on seeing one, especially in nice lighting. The glossy ibis will only display the colorful feather iridescence at exactly the proper sunlight angle, and the colors become more bold and pronounced as they age into mature adults.
The first two photos are a juvenile glossy seen feeding along the edge of the marsh and you may notice how it’s neck is brown with some white speckling.
I pulled the third photo of a mature glossy out of the my files, and you can see it’s crisp, maroon neck and almost silvery body reflecting the sunlight.
Interestingly, when seen in flight they often appear black as if in silhouette. Which means that one way to differentiate a glossy in flight from a white ibis at distance is to see the typical ibis curved bill shape on a black bird, and they often travel in small groups.
I’m not sure what has caused the lack of glossy ibis appearances here recently because the standard white ibis continues to remain a pretty much ‘every day’ bird in terms sightings.
Earlier we had an alligator cruising the salt marsh in search of a dinner. His preference would be some nice, crunchy blue crabs, but none were to be found.
He settled on the alternate method of gathering food which involved thrashing about in the water, scaring up numerous bait fish and shrimp. The gator had to work a bit harder, but it ends up making for a very satisfying meal and a full belly.