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.
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.
It seems that a couple of hours of chasing shrimp and fish around the marsh can get a bird’s feathers all mussed up.
The solution apparently involves a nice vigorous bath. Not only were the spoonies involved in the bathing process, but at one point a White Ibis joined in as well.
I must say it’s a vast improvement, they all looked quite spiffy after bath time was over.
We decided to go over to check things out at the salt marsh yesterday. Fairly quiet, but there were a few things going on.
This one snowy egret was extremely active and flying all over the place. He seemed to really enjoy having most of the marsh to himself for once.
Next an alligator picked out this moment to climb up out of the marsh and take a slow stroll across the causeway. We also noticed that the gator was making appropriate use of the crosswalk marked out on the road. How very polite and conscientious of him!
And a cormorant was enjoying the freshest shrimp in the inlet!
A pleasant morning was being had by all.
Nice warm day with clear, bright blue sky and this great blue heron was doing a nice job of laying low and blending in among the reeds at the salt marsh.
But, as soon as he decides to jump off in search of greener pastures (or in his case, nicer fish) the cover is blown and his presence is immediately detected in the wide open spaces of the sky.
This morning we were watching a couple of young brown pelicans working their fishing techniques over at the salt marsh.
Brown pelican fishing has to be hard on the head, as their method basically consists of diving down face first into the water and hoping to come up with some fish as a reward!
Although the birds we saw were indeed juveniles, even as adults they will continue to feed in much the same way. Some practice is required however…as it does take a bit of practice to refine the technique, making it hopefully less stressful on their heads.