Last night we had one spoonbill unexpectedly show up in the salt marsh. This is unprecedented for us to have one arrive in April! Normally I would start looking for spoonbills in late June or early July so it was a real treat to have this individual stop in for a welcome visit. This also appears to be an older bird that is in breeding color. Note the yellow around it’s face and shoulder patches as well as some yellow on it’s tail.

The first two photos are from last night just prior to sunset and the lighting conditions were unfortunately dark and gloomy. I went back this morning and we found him far back in the marsh so he stayed over night which was a good sign. I managed to get the three flight shots this morning as he flew across the marsh headed toward the swamp area.

The speculation right now is…could this be the return of Mr. Cranky?!? We think it’s possible since this is something that goofy spoonie would very possibly do. He was always kind of a loner and this spoonbill seemed very familiar with the entire marsh area, he knew exactly where to go at what times of the day, so he clearly had spent some considerable time here.

In any case I’m hoping that this one sticks around and it would be even better if more pink birds showed up. Although, if this Mr. Cranky he would probably be happier if no other spoonbills showed up! 

April Spoonbill in Salt Marsh

April Spoonbill in Salt Marsh

Spoonbill Flight Across the Salt Marsh

Spoonbill Flight Across the Salt Marsh

Spoonbill Flight Across the Salt Marsh

41 thoughts on “Spoonbill!

  1. They are so colourful already and then add more colour during breeding! I’m happy for you to get this unexpected spoonbill. Maybe Mr. Cranky has returned to Crankyville.

    • It could possibly be the triumphant return of our resident dysfunctional spoonbill but it’s hard to tell yet because he has no other spoonies around to argue with. There were 8 different species out last night with this guy and besides one minor dust up with a pelican he seemed to get along ok with everybody.
      But it is a thrill to have this especially colorful bird around for now!

  2. Awesome Phil ! I see you have that 7D singing again. I just advised someone to consider the
    300 f4 instead of the the 400 5.6 or the 100 – 400. I told him you were getting results that matched my 400 2.8.
    Of course whats behind the camera has a lot to do with the results. Great to see a mature bird hanging out. I was
    able to shoot some mature spoonies down in Florida back in March. Good stuff!

    • Hey thanks for checking these out Ricky! It is a real treat for us to just see a spoonie in April but in breeding is an added bonus!
      Yup still using the 7D with the 300 every day and it’s still working out ok.

      • I think “still working out” is an understatement. You have a standard that most of us aim for. Also glad to hear
        you doing better. Gotta get a trip planned to come down to HBSP. Keep up the great work!

        • Well thanks for that I appreciate it!
          I’m feeling better about some things, not so good about others. Have yet another doc. appt. tomorrow morning.
          Might have to discuss putting me down if all this keeps up. 🙂

          • Hang in there. Unfortunately as we age the Dr visits increase. I can certainly attest to that. Photography
            is sort of natural medication for me. Hopefully I am on the road to getting off of some of the meds I am on.
            Praying the ” not so goods” will become good for you. Hope to see you at HBSP in the not so distant future.

    • Oh well you have to love pink! Everyone does! Just one of these big pink birds can stop traffic. Well, so can an alligator which I saw today walk across the road. 🙂

  3. Beautiful mating colors! What a fun thing, to have a spoonbill show up early. I just love Mr. Cranky, and I hope he returns!

    • We are all thrilled that this big pink goofball decided to show up now! What a treat!
      So far he stayed one night. Will he stay another? Or longer? And will any friends show up? Stay tuned. 🙂

  4. So perhaps he’ll become less cranky if he gets to be a daddy? Maybe? Hope springs eternal. Please do get to feeling much better before you, too, become a Mr Cranky (though that’s hard to imagine.)

  5. What an unexpected visitor, and all decked out in Spring colors. Do you remember if Mr. Cranky had any identifying marks on his beak or legs, to see if this could be him? Thanks for the excellent photos. As usual, their quality is an inspiration to other photographers.

    • I was trying to look back at photos from last year and it’s hard to tell.
      He was really well behaved today though. He was fishing nicely with a little snowy and everybody got along fine.
      Thanks much for the kind words Lee I appreciate it!

  6. BRAVO Phil! How amazingly astonishing! For all the colors that man synthetically produces to make something beautiful, nothing can surpass the glory that nature, such as our spoonbill’s, unravels. Hey there, Mr. Cranky-er??!

    • We are 99% convinced it is indeed our cranky pink friend from last year! Last night he went way back to the far corner of the pond exactly where he went last summer. No random spoonbill would go there, and no others but cranky ever went there even last year. It’s gotta be him.

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