Saturday, February 24, 2018

Tricolored Heron

The tricolored heron is mostly blue/gray with a white line along the neck, rust colored at the top, and a white belly. During breeding season they get blue plumes on the head and neck and buff plumes on the back. It has a long, pointed yellow bill with a black tip that turns partially blue during the breeding season. The legs and feet are yellow, except during breeding season when they turn pink.    
The white neck stripe and belly are visible. 
The white neck stripe with red at the top and white belly. 
This heron's bill has turned mostly blue and it has the buff breeding plumes, but the legs are still yellow, not pink. 
Juveniles have a chestnut neck and spots of chestnut on their wings and upper back. 
This juvenile heron in Orlando Wetlands has the chestnut neck and spotting on the wings. 
It is so brown that it almost looks like a different species. 
I like this photo. The background foliage is quite abstract and the evening sun is giving the bill and face a glow. 
I also like this photo. The clarity of the bird and the abstract shape and color behind. 
Taking flight.
Going after prey.
A snowy egret and tricolored heron at Merritt Island. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

American White Ibis

I've previously seen the American white ibis in the Everglades and at Sanibel Island. On my recent trip to Florida I also saw them at Merritt Island, Circle Bar B Reserve, the Viera Wetlands and Orlando Wetlands. 
I saw juveniles for the first time, with heavy doses of brown and a more pink bill. 

I saw them on contrasting black mud at Merritt Island.
And got a photo that looked so much like a black and white that I made it a black and white. 
In the early dawn light at Viera Wetlands the pink glows. 

At Orlando Wetlands the green fan is a perfect contrast. 
Some nice reflections.

An evening glow at Merritt Island.
One of my bird favorites. Very beautiful and distinctive. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Wood Stork

I've posted on wood storks previously, here in the Everglades and here on Sanibel Island, but I can't resist to put up some more pictures, from Merritt Island, Circle Bar B Reserve and Orlando Wetlands. 

Although in many respects these pictures are not as good as others I've taken, I've captured some things I've not seen before. In Orlando Wetlands Park there is an artificial hill called Oyler Overlook that provides a nice view of some trees that I saw filled with large white birds. I wasn't sure what kind of birds they were until I got home and was able to crop my photos: lots and lots of wood storks. 
View of birds in trees from Oyler Overlook.
Cropped view of a different photo shows wood storks, including the nice sheen on black feathers.
Adult wood storks have a bare head and neck that are dark gray. Their plumage is white, except for some wing and tail feathers that are black with a greenish-purplish sheen. At Circle Bar B Reserve I caught an adult in flight with the sun providing the beautiful sheen on an otherwise ugly bird. 
At Circle Bar B this wood stork feeds in a swampy area... 
...then flew, revealing the sheen.

At dusk, on my way out, I saw this stork standing high in a tree. The pink feet really stand out. 
At Merritt Island I got lots of not-so-great photos of a juvenile wood stork (although I did not realize it was a juvenile at the time - it was quite large). The juvenile has a feathered head and neck and the bill is less dark, more yellow.
This juvenile is not nearly as ugly as the older birds: it still has feathers on the head and neck. 

Note that without the sunlight, the black feathers are dark and dull. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Great Blue Heron

No matter how many great blue herons I see, I still look in awe and admiration. They are gorgeous and a sum of many distinct parts. They are the largest North American heron (slightly taller than the great egret, but twice as heavy). They are: (a) slaty-blue overall; 
Wings spread out in flight revealing the basic color. 
(b) with a red-brown and black stripe up the flanks; 
The black and reddish areas on the flanks (the side of the bird between the underside of the wings and the abdomen (belly)). Toward the top of the wing it is dark, but note a picture below where it is rust colored. 
This heron swallowing a fish in Circle Bar B reveals a portion of its flank. 
(c) black and white streaking down the neck; (d) the feathers on the lower neck are long and plume-like; 
The front of the heron at Merritt Island, revealing the colorful top of the legs, flanks, black and white on the neck and neck plumes. 
The neck plumes and black and white on the neck of this bird in Circle B Bar Reserve.
(e) a white face with black or dark gray plumes from just above the eye to the back of the head; 
This heron, eating a fish at Circle Bar B, shows the white head with blackish stripes above the eyes. 
The blackish head plume and yellowish bill (in Orlando Wetlands). 
(f) a dull yellow bill that becomes orange briefly at the start of the breeding season; and (g) plumes on the lower back at the start of the breeding season. 
This heron in Circle B Bar has the mating plumage on the back and orange bill. 
More mating plumage on the back and orange bill.
This heron with its neck contracted and neck plumes looks like it has a long beard, and with the cap on top, reminds me of an old Chinese holy man. At Circle Bar B.
A heron nest high up in a tree at Circle Bar B.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Little Blue Heron

The little blue heron is small and long-legged, with a purple-maroon head and a slate-blue body. The dagger-like bill is dark at the tip and blue-gray at the base. 

Two little blue herons at Merritt Island. 
At Merritt Island
At Merritt Island
Flying in Orlando Wetlands
Orlando Wetlands
Juveniles look like an entirely different bird. They are all-white, except perhaps dusky tips to their primary feathers, and the bill is usually rather two-toned. 
Juvenile in the Okefenokee Swamp. Our guide made a point of it looking like a white egret, but actually being a juvenile little blue heron. 
The same bird revealing its greenish yellow legs. 
This looks like an even younger juvenile in Orlando Wetlands Park. 
A juvenile little blue heron with a white ibis and glossy ibis at Merritt Island.