No regrets

I have no regrets about the upcoming move to the mountains of North Carolina. But I do have a lot of Egrets to share today. Sure, I will miss the marsh birds but look forward to the new adventure. Spring is here, and the birds are doing what birds do this time of year. Making more birds. The St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoo attracts thousands of visitors. Unfortunately, I chose a day when most all of them came to visit and it seemed you could hardly move on the boardwalk to take photos. But I did manage to capture a few to share.

  When you have hundreds of alligators below you there is no predator that has much of a chance of a ground approach, so the trees there are a natural rookery for the local marsh birds. They may have bird brains, but they know a good place to lay an egg when they see one. Dozens of Great Egrets were either on eggs or feeding recently hatched egret nestlings. The Tricolored Herons were in bright breeding plumage as were a few Roseate Spoonbills. I got a lot of captures of the Great Egret mating displays. Their wispy white breeding plumage feathers are called aigrettes  (French for Egret) and they get bright green around the eyes during mating season. The males often display these fine feathers in an arching motion to attract a mate. The Great Egrets lay from 1 to six eggs. The nestlings are fierce competitors and will attack and push out the weaker siblings to the hungry alligators below. I also observed one of the parents actually killing one of the nestlings and tossing it out of the nest. Too many mouths to feed. Only the strong survive. Sure am glad we humans are not raised that way. Unfortunately, that seems to be changing though. 

  Still I have no regrets about the day spent and sharing the beauty of these elegantly feathered Egrets and nestlings with you. Blessings. 

Shot of the day…Great Egret in breeding plumage and display posture

Great Egret and nestlings

Who touched me? Is joe Biden in the crowd? Get that camera outta my face!

What’s for breakfast? We are hungry! Great Egret nestlings wait for food.

If I see one more photographer point their camera at me I am gonna poop on em!

Tricolored Heron in breeding plumage

Tricolored Herons get breeding plumes on top, red eyes and blue bill coloration

This is my NBC turkey imitation!

If you got it, flaunt it…Great Egret in courtship display

Windblown look..

Get another stick the wife says….geesh, hope I don’t regret bringing this little one..

The Bluebird Chronicles

In the 1946 epic song of Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah from the animated movie Song of the South” the actor sings“ there’s a bluebird on my shoulder……everything is satisfactual., my oh my what a wonderful day!.” My how things have changed. Now the term is slang for there is a cop following me. It goes downhill from there. Well I digress…I have a family of Eastern Bluebirds in my Bluebird box and they have raised their first brood of the year. Unfortunately I missed a portion of it.

  On the 9th of March I first chronicled on Facebook a pair of Eastern Bluebirds nesting and on the 20th they began bringing in bugs for the recently hatched bluebird babies. These hatchlings usually fledge in about 16-21 days. Both parents were busy each day bringing in a variety of bugs ranging from caterpillars, to mole crickets, to spiders and palmetto bugs. The male was bringing bugs in three to the beak at one point. Those babies were very hungry, and these two parents were good providers. They both took care of cleaning out the bird pooh also. It started raining here on the 31st of March and on 1 April sometime during the day they apparently fledged, the nest was empty the morning of the 2nd. Drats! Missed it. However, their hard work payed off. We wish these fledglings a long and healthy life in this demanding world. The average lifespan of a bluebird is about 4-6 years. 

  Some of you parents might wish you only had to care for them 21 days instead of 21 years but I bet most of you have never stopped and never will. Blessings. 

Watchful eyes…watching me watching you..

The Bluebird male is the more colorful of the pair.

The female is more grayish on the head and back with blue on the wing bands and tail

At one point daddy Bluebird was hauling in bugs three at a time

This mole cricket made for quite a meal for one of the babies.

Someone has to do the dirty work and remove the pooh sacks, both birds carried this out dutifully

Daddy did the dirty work too!

Gotta go get some more bugs for the babies..

Got to eat those greens too …..Green caterpillars that is..

All that hard work paid off..

The nest is now empty, the job is done..a job well done for two busy Bluebirds..

April fools

Per the History Channel. “On this day in 1700, English pranksters begin popularizing the annual tradition of April Fool’s Day by playing practical jokes on each other.” Some historians date the practice to 1582 when France changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. Many forgot which day it really was. Happens to me all the time now. Since I retired I know longer wear a watch or check the calendar other than to keep the Editor on schedule for upcoming appointments. Hope you come up with a good one today to pull on someone. 

The eagles played one on me recently. I traveled to a nearby lake in central Florida to photograph them stealing fish from the local Osprey. All the eagles decided not to play that day and I spent hours in a good friend’s boat circling the lake waiting for action that just never happened. They just sat up the trees watching me watch them. I got a few nice captures of my favorite Great Blue Herons though. 

Well, the joke is on them. I plan to return unexpectedly. Just like someone else I know may be doing soon! By George it’s George! He’s baack…Blessings!

The morning began like fire on the water..

Great Blue Heron in the early golden light

This Great Blue Heron was pretty as a picture so I turned it into one..via Photoshop’s oil paint effect (best viewed full screen)

Great Blue Heron looking for breakfast

April fools Mr. Doohickey, we are not gonna steal any fish while you are here..!

No worries Mr Eagle…I’lll just photograph this boring Juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron instead..

Guess who is coming to dinner…Mr. Catfish

White Pelican on the lake

The morning moon set on my parade..

George the Yellow-crowned Night Heron is back on the Broward! Tell those eagles “I’ll be back” too!

George the Yellow-crowned Night Heron is back on the Broward! Tell those eagles “I’ll be back” too!

email: selsorhd@me.com

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