Wood Storks

 

Another almost all-white bird that’s been a little more harder to get a nice opportunity with is the Wood Stork.  I’ve seen them, dotting the swamps or mangroves, but always at a distance or somewhere I can’t stop to photograph.

 

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Wood Stork in flight

 

Finally, a couple days ago late afternoon I spotted one close enough to give a try.

 

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Wood Stork profile

 

I’ll continue to stay on the hunt for more close ops of this elegant, unique looking bird.  🙂

Update:  I follow Birder’s Journey and was pleasantly surprised her post and mine featured the same bird this morning, the Wood Stork.  Don’t you just love and it make you smile when that happens to you?!

Birder’s Journey included the italicized info below in her post that I was unaware of and want to further share with you.

“The Wood Stork is North America’s only native Stork (Florida Fish & Wildlife-Wood Stork). Once abundant in Florida, the destruction and degradation of wetlands caused their numbers to drop significantly, and they were placed on the Endangered Species List in 1984. After 30 years, conservation efforts resulted in the Wood Storks’ status being changed to Threatened in 2014.

Though we have many nesting Wood Storks now in our wetlands, they are still at risk due to on-going concerns over development and habitat loss in the Everglades and other parts of South Florida (Scientific American, June 26, 2014; Florida Audubon).”

😞   I hadn’t had a chance to learn much about the Wood Stork, just wanted to be sure to gather more photos of this unique bird to my archives before we left Florida.  I just researched quickly to see if I could find the Wood Stork’s present status and things are looking up for their numbers, although they are still on the Endangered Species List.  Here’s a map I found of colonies tracked from 2009 to 2018.

 

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Courtesy USFWS North Florida Ecological Services Office

 

Be sure to check out Birder’s Journey’s Wood Stork post, she has a gorgeous photo of a juvenile!

 

 

Two Birds Watching Me Enjoying That Sunset

My last post featured a beautiful sunset over Chokoloskee Bay in Florida.  It was what I specifically arrived for to photograph.

I was standing alone along the shoreline, enjoying the colorful changes the clouds and setting sun produced.

…..or so I thought.

 

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Aglow from the coloring skies, a White Ibis just a few feet away from me (there long before I knew it!)

 

 

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Red-shouldered Hawk watching me return to my car
(“How long were you there watching me, Mr. Hawk?” )

 

They were both a happy surprise.  I wondered who else was watching me in the dusky lighting as I got in my car and left.  😉

 

 

 

Series: Take A Moment and Enjoy A Sunset

Time to enjoy another sunset!  Tonight’s was a beauty.

I headed to the Chokoloskee Island Bridge that connects Everglades City to Chokoloskee Island.  The bridge overlooks Chokoloskee Bay with the 10,000 Islands National Wildlife Refuge in the far distance.

 

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Sunset over Chokoloskee Bay – January 20, 2020

 

The big picture…..

 

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Sunset over Chokoloskee Bay and distant 10,000 Islands National Refuge

 

Then a quick venture down towards the shoreline for a few dramatic captures.

 

Sunset over Chokoloskee Bay through the shoreline mangroves

 

“If I can put one touch of rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman, I shall feel that I have worked with God.”  ― G.K. Chesterton

 

 

White Ibis

White Ibis are considered the most abundant wading bird in the Everglades.

Small flocks of White Ibis usually forage together in shallow areas with less than 8 inches of water, but they also love lawns and parks.

 

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Adult White Ibis foraging a lawn in Everglades City

 

Did you know White Ibis are not born white?  They are mostly brown, slowing changing from brown to white patches as shown below, turning totally white before they turn one year old.

 

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Immature White Ibis with a muddy beak from recent swamp foraging

 

Although their beaks curve down, it still looks like they’re throwing a lovely smile with those enchanting blue eyes.

 

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Adult White Ibis

 

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Immature White Ibis relaxing high up in a tree

 

 

Great Egrets

 

Pure white elegance nicely describes the Great Egret.

 

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Great Egret – “Please Don’t Eat The Daisies”

 

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Great Egret – “Chillin’ in the Breeze”

 

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Great Egret – “Standing Proud”

 

It boggles the mind to see our white birds, including the Great Egret, most always looking clean and pure.  How lucky for us!

 

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Great Egret – “Focused”

 

This next 3-photo series is a Great Egret tucked in/under mangrove trees, who had snagged a small snack.

With the tight quarters, the Great Egret still easily gave the fish a slight flip to toss it down the hatch without hardly moving its head.  Great reflex and precision!

 

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Great Egret – “Eyes on the Prize #1”

 

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Great Egret – “Eyes on the Prize #2”

 

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Great Egret – “Eyes on the Prize #3”

 

And then it was gone!

 

 

Red-shouldered Hawk Watching Me

My goodness, I actually went right by this Red-shouldered Hawk, while I was trying to follow another bird in flight.

Thankfully my peripheral caught it, and I slowly stepped back a few in hopes s/he wouldn’t fly.

 

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Red-shouldered Hawk watching me

 

Just after I snapped the above shot, the hawk took flight.

 

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Red-shouldered Hawk

 

S/he didn’t fly very far before landing again.

 

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Red-shouldered Hawk

 

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Red-shouldered Hawk Close-up (cropped from the above photo)

 

Wow, I loved how close we were to each other!  Close enough to feel the intent stares thrown my way.  I gave a quick “thank you” to the hawk and left it to get back to its hunt.

 — Photos taken at Big Cypress Swamp National Preserve

 

 

Loggerhead Shrikes

Another bird I am seeing frequently is the Loggerhead Shrike.

I sighted this song bird perched high in a tree above the Everglades NP Gulf Coast Visitor Center.  I actually heard it first.

 

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Loggerhead Shrike – there you are!

 

Most times I’m seeing one perched on a communications wire.

Oops, here’s one of them!

 

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Loggerhead Shrike

 

It is called a “Loggerhead”, which is a synonym for “blockhead”, referring to this bird’s unusually large head in relation to its body.

 

 

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