A Roseate Spoonbill headed home to his nest at the St Augustine Alligator Farm. There is a rookery at the Farm which is the home for thousands of migrants during the mating season.
I attended Photoshop World in Orlando Florida this Spring. Whenever I attend Photoshop world, I like to drive to the city. Driving allows me to slow down and explore the area both before and after the event. This year I was after nesting shore birds. The St Augustine Alligator Farm has a rookery. The rookery is used by many wild birds i.e. egrets, roseate spoonbills, Great Blue Herons, Little Green Herons, and others. The timing was perfect to see Great Egret hatchlings and most of the other breeds building their nests. A relaxing few days at the alligator farm and some nice images to serve as a reminder.
Over the past several years a drive through the Blackwater National Wildlife Reserve would included a view of a pair of Bald Eagles. Often the pair would be quite a distance off offering only a glimpse of the birds. Sometimes the eagles will perch on an old tree near the drive. I was lucky on a recent drive to find the eagles on the tree only a few hundred feet away. The sun was just an “inch” off the horizon but it was enough light to make the shot. I was using a 600mm lens with a 1.4 extender on a crop sensor camera.
This rare visitor to Northern Virginia has been quite an attraction. The Northern Shrike or also known as the Grey Shrike does not normally come as far south as Virginia. This bird has been hanging around the Woodlands park for a few weeks and is easy to spot. Getting good pictures can be a problem because it perches high up in the trees for a good look around for food. Over a period of a few hours though, I noticed there were a few favorite spots where he returned to often. I took advantage and got a few good shots using a 600mm lens with a 1.4 extender. Next time I go, I’ll bring along a crop sensor camera and maybe get a little larger image.
A 10K race in the morning and a drive through Blackwater NWR in the afternoon. It was a perfect weather day, warm for November. Bald eagles are common at the reserve but that doesn’t make them any less interesting. This one is sitting on the former site of an osprey nest. Eagles enlarge their nest every year and it is not uncommon for eagles to steal the sticks from osprey nests. Next year when the osprey return, they will construct a new nest and the eagles will be raising their young in the newly expanded nest.