***Weekly Wildlife Thread: May 19th - 25th***

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
OP zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 31,382
BIFs, Nesting Activity

Picking up on February 16th where my last post left off, the following action was all shot at Wakodahatchee Wetlands, which is a very active winter rookery spot for many herons, egrets, and storks. Hundreds of nests are located here, and during nesting season, the birds are actively flying all around, getting nest supplies, getting food, and just moving around to stretch after hours sitting on eggs. The early birds that have had their chicks hatch are constantly having to get food for the growing youngsters.

All of the following were taken with the A6300 and FE100-400mm GM lens combo, and all posted at 1400 pixels on the long side if you click the originals:

The big, graceful great egret, headed to a nearby spot with sticks to build its nest - catching some strong backlight making the wings glow

A cattle egret coming in from the clear blue skies - and showing some lovely mating colors in the bill and face

Surprisingly one of the more difficult herons to catch in flight - because they often fly low, short, and fast - and you rarely have any warning before they bolt. This one was coming right off the water's surface and catching a reflection

A mating pair of wood storks, together on their nest, surrounded by dozens of other nests, some visible through the background

A great blue heron on approach - they really show their size when they spread the wings, extend the neck, and drop the legs out to land

Big guy coming in

The neck pulled back a bit as it approached the landing spot - and the wings start catching some turbulence as he slows and air-brakes

A peek back at the wood storks, here getting intimate with each other

A great egret, coming in from the distance very quickly

one second later, he's filling the frame with his giant wing spread as he banks around to land. Note the nice green coloration around the base of the bill and eyes, to look attractive for mating season

The great blue herons were first to hatch - and this is what the parent has to deal with as soon as they land on the nest - two yelling, begging chicks wanting endless supplies of food to be delivered into their bills!

Meanwhile, the wood storks have just started at this point, most having not even laid eggs, and still furiously building up their nests, like this one on direct approach

Great egrets too have just started building nests in February - this one hits the brakes as he approaches with a fresh stick

He drops off the stick to the mate, and heads back to retrieve another, returning just 5 minutes later with one more nice stick for the nest

The woodie too has to keep the assembly line going, back and forth gathering sticks, or in this case leaves for insulation

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