Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Best Regards, Debby

As some of you may know, Florida has been getting pummeled for the better part of a week now by a poorly organized, slow-moving tropical system that was eventually named Debby.  We've gotten well over a foot of rain now, and while it seems to be letting up now, it's by no means over.  All that water has to go somewhere, and while much of it's been absorbed into the ground, a lot of it is standing around.  And for whatever reason, it's making a lot of birds very happy.  For the past two days, I've driven past a cow pasture near my house and there have been a couple of flocks of roseate spoonbills roaming around.  I don't see these guys very much, and sightings are very unpredictable, so when I saw a large number of them right near the road, I turned around, found a spot to park, grabbed the long lens, braved the flooded sidewalk and went shooting.  But being very shy birds, soon as the saw me they hightailed it for the far-off corner of the pasture.  But I got a couple of decent shots of them on the wing, heading away from me.  The one above is yesterday, the one below from just an hour or so ago.  The rain was nice enough to let up long enough for me to get some shots, but it's rained a bit since then.

Also of interest in the same field was a pair of tricolored herons, one a bit younger than the other, I think.  That's the mostly brown one above, and the darker one below I think is the older one.  Most of the ones I see around are darker, so I think that's the mature plumage.  It's the time of year where the babies are finally starting to turn their final adult colors, so that's why I think the one at the top is still slightly different colors, he's just a teenager.  Anyhow, both these guys had staked out a spot on the edge of the pasture where the water was flowing over the normally dry sidewalk, looking to see what hapless creatures were being swept up in the floodwaters, then eating them.  They were pretty mad at me because I was hanging out and trying to shoot them while they were working, and they eventually flew off in protest.  But I got some good pictures first.

Oh, and then there was this. I saw a disturbance out in the shallow water that I couldn't quite identify.  I finally spotted some fins and a tail, so I knew it was a fish and not a gator, but I still couldn't tell exactly what kind of fish.  They (I could tell it was three of something from the trails it was leaving on the surface) eventually got close enough to me that I could see down into the water, and it looked to be three garfish!  I would lot have expected that, but there they were, swimming around in the four or so inches of water covering this part of the pasture.  I'm pretty sure I could have grabbed them if I'd wanted to, but they have some nasty teeth in those big jaws.


Buster said...

I saw a heron in the pond just outside my house a while ago - I wish he would come back and maybe scare the geese away.

Ernie said...

I have seen more Canada geese around here this year than ever. I don't think anything scares them...certainly not a scrawny heron.

SRQ said...

Nice! Love those roseate spoonbills. I noticed several large flocks of white ibises feeding on the fairway of the Rolling Green golf course when I was driving home tonight. At least that's one nice thing about Debby --- she brought out the birds.