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.
Right around the same time last week that we had the spoonbill come in and put on an extensive bathing demonstration, we also had a couple of white ibis get in on the act.
We often call them “muddy ibis” because they frequently get filthy and covered in mud due to their feeding techniques. They use their long, curved bills to forage in the mud for food and usually end up covered in the stuff.
So a nice splash around in the salt water of the marsh is just the ticket to get a bird all clean and looking sparkling white again, even though it won’t last long… 🙂
This afternoon we were watching a cute little tricolored heron actively fishing in the salt marsh. The tide was coming in and it was bringing tons of fish in with it.
At one point the skillful tri struck at the water and came up with a good size fish, bigger then most fish a small heron like this would normally catch. He was quite obviously thrilled with his catch as he proceeded to dance and prance around in the water proudly showing off his prize.
This was most certainly the appropriate moment to break out into his ‘happy dance’!
I myself particularly liked the way the late afternoon light, and reflection of nearby marsh reeds made rather lovely colors in the water. I’m sure the little tri was not concerned with such things, but I thought it helped make the dance floor look even more appealing. 🙂
This afternoon we found out our one lone remaining spoonbill was still hanging around the salt marsh area when he came swooping in just after 3pm.
About an hour and a half later, spoonie jumped off and headed for the trees at the far back edge of the marsh pond no doubt with a pleasant nap in mind.
In between that, an osprey flew overhead looking pleased with his obviously very fresh catch safely tucked in for later dining.
Another active day over at the marsh. The ibis especially were having themselves a heck of a time bathing, crunching crabs and flying all over. More on them tomorrow.
Early this afternoon we found one lone spoonbill feeding in the salt marsh. This was the slightly older one, and his young friend was nowhere to be seen.
The other thing that was different was it turned out to be bath day for many of the wading birds out there today. The white ibis started the whole thing off but then to our surprise and delight, our pink friend joined in on the pool party and had a nice bath as well.
Spoonie tucked himself down low in the marsh then started flapping his wings and splashing water all over the place. It was great!
What was almost better was his next move…to shake off some remaining water, then hold out his wings to dry them off while posing and parading around the area like a super model!
The spoonbill looked quite pleased and proud of his new spiffed up appearance and if you look carefully in the last photo you can see a young alligator also enjoying the show.
I’ve also included a short 15 second video showing some of the bathing procedure and my favorite part of that is the end where spoonie turns around to walk away and gives us all a cheeky little tail wag for his finale. 🙂
This afternoon we had a pair of roseate spoonbills show up at the salt marsh during low tide.
It was great to see these guys come gliding in from far out in the marsh where they had been feeding with a large group of wading birds including, wood storks, ibis, blue herons, and great and snowy egrets.
The spoonies mostly stayed together while fishing and I saw several nice fish being caught. This is somewhat unusual as quite often the spoonbills catch and eat small shrimp and other tiny marine creatures that are difficult to even see.
You may also notice that one of these birds is younger then his friend. The juvenile is a more pale pink and his eye has not yet changed from black to red which is another sign a spoonbill is maturing.
After the seafood buffet was concluded, the pair preened and relaxed for a bit before jumping off and flying over to join some wood storks in the trees for an afternoon nap.
This evening, just as we were leaving the marsh area, we just happened to notice a spoonbill sitting in an old oak at the front corner of the salt marsh.
It was getting late and already fairly dark but just had to jump out of the car to see about grabbing a few shots of our pink friend.
I wasn’t there but a couple mins. when spoonie decided to jump off from his perch and hightail it out across the marsh for his evening roost.
Always fun to see one of these guys.
Here are more spoonbill antics from last weekend when we had the small group arrive.
They were acting quite feisty at times and one kept chasing his friend and nipping at his tail feathers. These big goofy pink birds never fail to amuse and entertain. Well, at least they entertain us, I think they sometimes drive each other nuts. 🙂
I was watching this blue heron actively fishing along the edge of the reeds in the marsh. The heron looked quite serious about his task and when I saw his attack posture I assumed he must really be on to something big.
But no, he came up with only a fairly small fish. Still, it counts. It’s a legit catch and if he snags enough of even the little ones he will get full.
Oh, and of course, I had to throw in a spoonie pic there at the end. 🙂