Calm Before The Storm
Things have been a little slow the past couple of days so yesterday afternoon when we went over to the salt marsh we were hoping to see some birds out and about. We quickly saw one bird who is impossible to miss, it turned out to be our resident cranky pants spoonbill. We always know right away it’s Mr. Grumpy because he is a brighter, deeper pink in color, and has the red eyes and greenish head which is typical of an adult spoonbill. He is the oldest of the small group of spoonbills we have been seeing this summer and apparently he feels that entitles him to be head spoonbill in charge, as well as head crank of the marsh.
When we arrived he was feeding by himself which was no surprise since he does not generally play well with others. He put on his full cute routine for us, stopping to pose a few times as he went about his business feeding in the marsh during low tide. As the tide was coming in we could tell it was bringing in lots of small fish and shrimp which the spoonbills love but that also attracted other birds. We thought perhaps Mr. Grumpy was in a particularly good mood due to the abundance of available food, so he got along just fine with an egret and an ibis who also showed up to feed.
The good mood was not to last long however… we saw a young spoonbill come flying in from out in the marsh and Mr. Cranky quickly saw it too. As the new arrival came in for a landing you can see in the seventh photo down how he was immediately irritated and started yapping and complaining before the younger bird even had a chance to land. What happened next was vintage Mr. Grumpy behavior. He went right for his signature move which involves a bite to the tail of the bird he doesn’t like, followed by a chase off attempt. Interestingly though, the lure of a potential big meal with all the fish and shrimp being in the area seemed to be enough to get cranky pants settled down, and he stopped bothering the youngster. Plus you have to give credit to the juvie for deciding he was not going to be pushed around and chased away from a jackpot food source so he just went right back to feeding and ignored the grump.
As the tide starts to really come in, the water gets too deep for the wading birds and so it’s time to fly off to the far back edge of the pond where they can stand around and nap in the shallow water there. As the two fly away, note once again how the older spoonbill has a much deeper color than the youngster.
I really love their colouring!
They fun pink birds for sure!
“She told me to walk this way…” I swear, that song popped into my head as I looked at the first few shots. Gorgeous as always.
Thanks I’m glad you liked the spoonie pics!
Totally mesmering .. so gracious 🙂
Thank you Paula I appreciate you looking and commenting and glad you liked these photos.
Another excellent series, Phil!
Well I really appreciate that Gracie, thanks!
Un’altra serie di scatti meravigliosi. Ciao, Pat
Sono molto felice che siano piaciuti!
Fabulous flamingo colours Fil! 😉
I’m very glad you enjoyed these Lucy!
Amazing pics again, Phil. The older spoonie is really very…………PINK. 😀 #6 is my favourite. The outspread wings are so pretty.
Their color deepens as they age, some of the juveniles are more white with just a touch of pink.
So glad you enjoyed the continuing saga of our resident pink trouble maker Sylvia!
Wonderful photos and story, Phil! Interesting how Mr. Grumpy only seems to get agitated if his own kind shows up. The tail-grabbing shot is a classic!
I have seen him previously snap at a snowy or an ibis but nothing as aggressive as he gets with his own species. I bet he is not too popular with the other spoonbills.
Thanks for your kind comments Deb!
I love the photos and story! Although I am starting to get irritated with Mr. Cranky – but it’s hard to stay mad at him with his beautiful coloring.
I am a bit irritated with him as well, but being pink kind of gets him an automatic pass on questionable behavior, plus he provides me with action so I gotta love the pink trouble maker.
You’re so right. And the more I think about it, Mr. Cranky kinda reminds me of the felines in our lives…
I think Jack *may* have taken an attitude with me once…
I wondered how you could tell Mr Grumpy apart from the rest. The difference in the coloring is subtle, but I can see it now that you’ve pointed it out. The eyes are easier to spot. Lovely shots as usual. A particular favorite is the tail grab… 😉
Notice also the greenish ‘old man’ head on Mr. Grumpy, as opposed to the white fluffy head of the juvenile. Right now we have only the one with this adult head so we always know it’s him. Well…besides, his behavior. 🙂
Perhaps Grumpy’s green-with-envy over anyone else getting some fish shows through on his head?
Maybe, but it doesn’t even seem like he needs much of a reason to be cranky, he just is 🙂
Thanks very much, glad you liked them!
these are excellent shots, Phil! Nice work
Thanks much Gareth, I appreciate it!
What wonderful photos! And such an interesting narration. Mr. Grumpy is a really handsome guy!
You think he looks good. I think he looks good. But I bet his friends are sick of looking at him.
Thanks for checking these out Molly!
Being part of such a small community certainly comes with both advantages and of course disadvantages. I am sure Mr. Cranky Pants is viewed as the difficult uncle.
I suspect you are 100% correct about that. He would be the relative you would be nervous about inviting over for dinner,
They look very interesting with there beek when they are flying… 🙂
That’s the best and most funny part of them. 😀
Beautiful shots, very nice color and detail.
Thanks very much Jan, these pink guys make it easy.
Love the story behind the pictures, it makes them that much better!
Thank you for your kind words and I’m thrilled you enjoy the photos and story!
Fabulous! You must have Central Casting working on overtime. Not to mention Catering/Food Service!
Thanks a bunch! So glad you enjoyed these spoonie pics!
I like the last two pictures the best! Well done bird in flight pictures are striking!
Thanks very much Rick! I got quite a few BIF pics that evening. They were quite cooperative providing some nice opportunities.
He looks like he is flat-ironing the tails. What a character he is.
He could go into business with that talent. And yes, he sure is a character!
Gorgeous colours, fantastic action! He really is such a character, Phil!
Oh he sure is a character Maggie you are right about that! Thanks for checking these out!
I’d like to smack him one! He is quite a character. I love these shots, and the series. The look on his face just says it all. Detail and colors are lovely!
He needs a good smack I’m thinking. 🙂 Thanks very much I’m really happy you enjoyed these spoonie pics!
Are spoonbills generally territorial, Phil?
Well I don’t think spoonbills are any more territorial then other waders such as egrets, herons, storks, ibis, etc. They all can get snappy at times. Especially the snowy egrets who seem to live to squabble with one another.
I just love these birds, but I can’t get over how goofy their bills look! Great shots, Phil!