Great Blue Heron “Teenagers”

April 24, 2014 at 5:00 am (Bird photography, Birds- Florida, Great Florida Birding Trail, Nature, Nature photography, Wildlife) (, )

Great Blue Heron and Mini-Me

Great Blue Heron and Mini-Me

When the Great Blue Heron chicks start to resemble their parents, I call them “teenagers.”  They’re awkward looking, gangly, yet beginning to show the graceful plumage of the adult.

"Teenager" trying out its wings

“Teenager” trying out its wings

As you can see, this nest was conveniently located near the boardwalk at Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Boynton Beach, Florida.  These birds court, mate, build nests, feed chicks, and fledge with binoculars and lenses recording it all.

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Often one or more chicks do not make it to this stage.  They may be crowded out by more aggressive siblings, or fall in the water below where alligators hope for an easy meal.

Scratching an itch

Scratching an itch

Juvenile Great Blue Heron near an anhinga nest

Juvenile Great Blue Heron near an anhinga nest

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This pair is a bit younger, as you can tell from the feather quills and remaining downy covering.

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Even adult great blue herons can become a meal for a large alligator.  Young ones in particular haven’t learned to watch out for hidden danger yet.

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Like mother, like daughter.  (Or father-son, not sure which.)

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Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

These photographs available here

Original hand-painted BW photographs for sale:  Etsy

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Great Blue Heron Family

April 23, 2014 at 5:00 am (Bird photography, Birds- Florida, Great Florida Birding Trail, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

Great Blue Heron chick

Great Blue Heron chick

Although I can’t be at Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Boynton Beach, or Viera Wetlands in Florida to watch the heron babies right now, I did take advantage of this involuntary down time to edit photos I took six years ago at “Wacky.”

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The Great Blue Herons, as well as cormorants, anhingas, and others nest in close quarters on small shrub islands in this reclaimed wetlands.  Obviously it’s a birder’s paradise!

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Nesting begins in January in central and southern Florida.

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When the chicks are big enough, the parents regurgitate whole fish for them to eat.

Parent regurgitating a whole fish for the chick

Parent regurgitating a whole fish for the chick

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The parents in full breeding plumage are always striking.  Even with their size, they weigh only five or six pounds thanks to those hollow bones and feathers.

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Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard

The changing of the guard is usually accomplished with affectionate displays between the parents.  Next blog post will show the juvenile heron “teenagers” in the nest.

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Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

These photographs available here

Original hand-painted BW photographs for sale:  Etsy

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

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Lake Kissimmee Sunsets

April 22, 2014 at 5:56 am (Bird photography, Birds- Florida, fine art photography, Great Florida Birding Trail, Nature, Nature photography, Photography) (, , , , )

Montage of 3 photographs - Sandhill cranes and sunset at Lake Kissimmee, cypress trees at Lake Martin, Louisiana

Montage of 3 photographs – Sandhill cranes and sunset at Lake Kissimmee, cypress trees at Lake Martin, Louisiana

The above image is one of my favorites.  I visited the Joe Overstreet Landing on the shore of Florida’s Lake Kissimmee in 2008 and 2014.  I know I’ve posted about this place before, but it’s one of the best spots on the Great Florida Birding Trail – particularly if you take an airboat ride to see snail kites, limpkins, bald eagles, American bitterns, and the like.

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These sunset images are from the landing, where you can pitch a tent or park an RV for a very reasonable fee.

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Day is done,

gone the sun,

from the lake, from the hills, from the sky;

All is well,

safely rest,

God is nigh.

                                    – lyrics to “Taps”

These are the sandhill cranes used in the montage

These are the sandhill cranes used in the montage

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

These photographs available here and here

Original hand-painted BW photographs for sale:  Etsy

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

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Foggy Morning Near Lake Kissimmee

April 21, 2014 at 8:22 pm (fine art photography, Great Florida Birding Trail, Nature, Nature photography, Photography) (, , , , , , )

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Fog transforms even the most mundane landscape into a place of mystery and poetry.  Not much needs to be said about these images, done along Joe Overstreet Rd. leading to the shore of Lake Kissimmee, Florida.

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Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

These photographs available here

Original hand-painted BW photographs for sale:  Etsy

Join my Facebook Page

Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

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I’d Hate to Be an Anhinga

April 14, 2014 at 8:00 am (Bird photography, Birds- Florida, Great Florida Birding Trail, Nature, Nature photography, Photography) (, , , )

Anhinga baby with large fish in its throat

Anhinga baby with large fish in its throat

I don’t know about you, but this photo creeps me out.  In addition to the anhinga chick being downright ugly in the face, the eye of the fish gaping from its throat is too unsettling.  I had just watched this baby wrestle the fish out of the throat of its parent.  And I mean WRESTLE.

Anhinga chick wrestling a fish from its parent's throat

Anhinga chick wrestling a fish from its parent’s throat

You see how far the chick has to dive into the father’s throat to retrieve its meal.  Eeewwwww.  And it really worked at it.  I thought maybe the parent’s throat would be torn, as frenetic as the fishing expedition was.  I know many birds, such as herons, feed their chicks like this.  But this was just plain hard to watch. Read the rest of this entry »

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Monk(ey) Parakeets

April 13, 2014 at 7:53 am (Bird photography, Birds- Florida, Great Florida Birding Trail, Nature, Nature photography, Photography) (, , )

Monk Parakeet at feeder, Boynton Beach, Florida

Monk Parakeet at feeder, Boynton Beach, Florida

Some folks love these loud, noisy exotics.  Some people hate ‘em.  The Monk Parakeet is a pet shop escapee (or likely set free by owners who tired of them) and is now a staple in Florida and other states.  It is also called the Quaker Parakeet or Monk Parrot.

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They live and travel in flocks, and can be quite entertaining.  They are also a nuisance when they build their nests in transmission power lines and cause electrical shorts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Blue, Blue, My Love is Blue-Winged Teal

April 6, 2014 at 10:17 am (Bird photography, Birds- Florida, Great Florida Birding Trail, Nature, Nature photography, Photography) (, , )

Male blue-winged teal flaunting his blue

Male blue-winged teal flaunting his blue

Yeah, it’s an old song but I couldn’t help it.  My two favorite bird photography sites are in Boynton Beach, Florida – Wakodahatchee and Green Cay Wetlands.  Both are reclaimed wetlands and have attracted an amazing bounty of birds and reptiles – most close enough for a decent 400mm photograph.

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I was fortunate to be able to return this January for images with my Nikon D600, but there are also images here from 2008.  You see, I used to travel South to do art shows in the winter, and stayed with another artist friend there.  I am still amazed that this highly developed area, with hundreds of gated communities and a block of shops on nearly every corner (or so it seems), is so hospitable to wildlife.  Today I am highlighting the blue-winged teal. Read the rest of this entry »

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Florida Flutter-Byes

April 4, 2014 at 7:24 am (Butterflies, fine art photography, Nature, Nature photography, Photography) (, , , , , , , , )

Zebra Longwing on Lantana

Zebra Longwing on Lantana

I have been spending downtime editing photographs that should have been edited, uploaded, and filed years ago.  This series of Florida butterflies (and one moth) is from that effort. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lovin’ the Limpkins

April 1, 2014 at 6:58 am (Bird photography, Birds- Florida, Great Florida Birding Trail, Nature, Photography, Wildlife) (, )

 

Mama Limpkin, Green Cay Nature Center

Mama Limpkin, Green Cay Nature Center

” Its screaming cry is unmistakable and evocative.” - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

My friend in Boynton Beach, Florida who is kept awake by the male limpkin’s territorial screech at night isn’t too compassionate that the species is considered of “special concern” due to habitat loss.

Limpkin calling

Limpkin calling

The limpkin thrives on native apple snails and freshwater clams.  In the U.S. it only breeds in Florida, but they are common in Central and South America.  Although limpkins resemble herons and ibises, they are more related to rails and cranes, and are in a taxonomic family of their own. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Oddest Little Baby Birds I’ve Ever Seen

March 23, 2014 at 11:17 am (Bird photography, Birds- Florida, Great Florida Birding Trail, Nature, Wildlife) (, , )

Common Gallinule newborn chick, Green Cay Nature Center, Boynton Beach, Fl

Common Gallinule newborn chick, Green Cay Nature Center, Boynton Beach, Fl

First off, I was fussed at by a snobby birder in the Everglades a few years ago when I called this bird a Common Gallinule, since by then the American Ornithological Union had changed the name to Common Moorhen.  See, I learned my birds 50 years ago, and I still have a Peterson’s Guide with  the original names.  However, in 2011 the AOU changed the name back, to distinguish it from its European relative.  So there, Miss Snobby Bird Lady.

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Read the rest of this entry »

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