White Flight (Plus a few Color - BIF)

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zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 30,333
White Flight (Plus a few Color - BIF)

No, not THAT kind of 'white flight' - this is mostly large white things flying around at the local rookery spot - the wetlands where so many birds come to nest each winter into Spring.

The first wave of nesting birds were great blue herons, cormorants, anhingas, and other birds of color - but then starting in late January, the next wave of nesting birds comes in and takes over - and the wetlands almost looks blanketed in snow. SO MANY WHITE BIRDS! Wood storks, great egrets, cattle egrets, and snowy egrets - all white and all nesting.

There are still a few stragglers left - some late cormorants and great blue herons mixed in - but most of the nests are white birds. Once March hits, some more color starts moving in with the tricolor herons, green herons, and glossy ibises nesting...but these shots were all taken on a busy and overcast February 10th.

All shots taken at Wakodahatchee Wetlands, and all taken with the A6300 and FE100-400mm combo. It was late afternoon, approaching winter sunset, and clouds had dominated all day - a little late sun broke through the clouds - but the muted light allowed slightly easier shooting of these big white birds. It's the great egrets that dominate here - busily flying back and forth to get their nests built and lay their eggs. It's glorious to stand there and have these giants flying past you on all sides, sometimes flying just a few feet over your head where you feel the wind of their wing flaps as they pass over.

All posted at 1400 pixels on the long side if you click the originals:

A great egret flying past the treeline - those long whispy tail feathers are grown for mating season, along with the green around the eyes and face

High in the cloudy overcast sky, I noticed this osprey calling out excitedly - then noticed it was because he had caught a nice fish and was bringing it back to his mate

A great egret hauling some lumber to build the nest - in the background standing on the levee is a wood stork looking for a stick of his own

The cattle egrets are the true beauties for mating season when they take on the rainbow of colors in their bills and face - even the eye turns a vibrant red - this one flying through a nice patch of blue sky poking through the overcast

A great blue heron, dropping the gear for touchdown and reversing those wings to air-brake to a stop. I love all the turbulence in the feathers as these big birds slow themselves to land

Great egret, coming in high with a nice, long branch

This great egret is headed my direction - flying low and out to gather some more sticks

I decided to stick with him through the flight - as he passed from the dense island branches to a bit of open water...

And now over the open water, still headed my way - note I'm only at 164mm on the lens - and there's no cropping here - this guy flew quite close by...

Filling the frame as he passed by at eye level, having pulled up a bit to fly over the boardwalk I'm standing on, about 15 feet from me. I couldn't keep shooting after this as he was bigger than the frame and too close

A few minutes later, and he found his stick, headed back to the nest to drop it off to his mate, who was busy weaving the sticks into place

And a busy day of work is never done - just a few minutes after dropping off that stick, he's back out to get more!

I lost track after that - he wasn't the only great egret gathering sticks - there were dozens of them all busy building and flying around - here's another flying by some cypress and pond apple trees as a backdrop

Some sunlight hitting this fellow with his nice, wet, long branch and a dark backdrop of swamp and wetland trees and water plants

This great blue heron taking off from his nesting tree was trying to go high - it reminded me of a passenger jet lifting off the runway and straining to get to altitude

Comments, questions, and critique welcomed as always.

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