It Was A Nice Quiet Crowd Out There Until…

We had a big crowd of spoonbills and wood storks out this evening and at one point many of them ended up congregating in a near corner of the salt marsh.

Everyone was calm and quiet as the evening feeding was mostly concluded and they were all just standing around socializing and relaxing.

Until… something spooked them and the entire group decided all at once that they had to leave and it had to be right now!

Suddenlyย the whole bunch of them explodedย in a flash of pink and white and they all took off out across the pond area heading for the trees. This capped off an amazing evening when we had 14 spoonbills (and Radar) all fishing in the salt marsh at the same time. It’s a new record!

Spoonbill Wood Stork Crowd Explodes

Spoonbill Wood Stork Crowd Explodes

Spoonbill Wood Stork Crowd Explodes

Spoonbill Wood Stork Crowd Explodes

38 thoughts on “It Was A Nice Quiet Crowd Out There Until…

    • Thanks, I never did see anything and the first thing I did look for was a bald eagle flying overhead. Sometimes when one bird spots a large raptor circling above it will panic and fly off and this gets the whole group t do the same even if they don’t know why they are leaving. But I didn’t see an eagle and large wading birds like these do not usually care as much as birds like duck but you never know. Also wood storks will panic over the sound of even a far off helicopter. Don’t know what is but they don’t like hearing them.

        • The wood storks especially can apparently hear very well. When I see a group of them jump and fly off in a panic the first thing I listen for is a helicopter. They seem to really dislike that sound and will almost always hear it before we can.
          Funny you mention an alligator, there was one that was nearby but is was over by itself swimming around in deeper water. Plus the wood storks and even the spoonbills don’t get too concerned about the gators. They should, but don’t. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Jeff and no it wasn’t me that sent them off. I have a strict non-interference policy out there. I never try to influence a bird’s behavior, even when I hope one will fly so I can get the jump off and hopefully flight shots. I leave them on their own to decide for themselves what they want to do and when they want to do it. Everything that happens in my photos would have (presumably) happened whether I was there to see and photograph it or not.
      One thing that could have panicked them though is a helicopter. Wood storks will often burst up and fly off at the sound of an approaching helicopter which they hear before we do. One may have been flying out over the beach that I never heard, but they did. An eagle circling overhead would be another possibility. That was actually the first thing I looked for but didn’t see one. Sometimes all it takes is for one bird to panic over something (or nothing) and that sets them all off.

  1. I can only imagine what this sounded like. I know just in our backyard when crows fly close you can hear the wings. This huge crowd had to sound awesome. I love, love love the black, white and pink in this series. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I was here on this particular evening. The sound as they took off was amazing. It was a very quiet respectful crowd at that point and the birds gave the people a ‘jumpstart’. I love that you captured so beautifully something that I was privileged to have seen myself.

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