Big Birds, Small Birds, Big Reptiles & BIFs (5/13/2021)

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zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 34,070
Big Birds, Small Birds, Big Reptiles & BIFs (5/13/2021)

Picking up on a new day of shooting this past winter, my last post left off on January 23, and this one starts off the following weekend on January 30th.  Lots of wildlife and birds around during our winters, which is why I always fall behind - with the resident wildlife joined by the wintering species and the nesting birds, it's a target-rich environment!

It was a slightly overcast day, so light was lower - but that's not always a bad thing in Florida where the sun can be overwhelming in the middle of the day...being our 'winter' the days were actually pretty nice - highs mostly in the mid-70s to around 80.

All of the following shots were taken with the A6600 and the FE 200-600mm G OSS combo, and are all posted at 1800 pixels on the long side if you view the original size:

This little palm warbler came out of the reeds and perched on one about 15 feet away, almost seeming to come out to observe me as much as I was observing him!

Another opportunity to catch the sneaky little sora out in the open, where they are not very comfortable when they know someone can see them.  I was hiding best I could behind a tall pond apple tree and I don't think he initially noticed me

The sora stopped off and had a drink in front of me, but after I took a few shots, he realized I was there, and decided to skulk off back into the reeds.  These birds really do not like being out in the open too long!

People find alligators so scary, but to me, they look like pretty happy fellas!  Just look at the smile on this guy having a sun nap.

Pulling back for a wider view, I think this alligator was happy lounging in the sun on a cooler day, and seemed to have a full tummy too!

While I was photographing the happy alligator, this little visiting prairie warbler was dropping leaves and debris on my head, feeding directly above me.  So I had to get a photo of him too!

Another palm warbler was nearby, this one still showing a bit of the rust-colored head patch from the breeding plumage of the adult male

This baby alligator sitting on a partially flooded island looked pretty happy too - showing that alligators seem to be very happy critters right from the outset!

High up in the trees, this red-shouldered hawk was hanging out watching all the winter warblers flitting around, and seeing which one might be lunch

I went around the other side of the tree to shoot the hawk from the other side, but either way I was shooting up into the sky and into the sun/overcast clouds.  I thought at the time this younger female hawk looked pregnant - that belly was puffed out.  A few weeks later, there was a nest right nearby and she was settled into it!

A peek into that same great blue heron nest from previous posts - the little chicks grow pretty fast, and already have the adult coloration beginning, just a few weeks old

A wood stork flying by, spreading those giant wings, passing by the cypress pines on the way back to the nest

All winter long, every day at the wetlands ends before sunset with the black-bellied whistling ducks all chattering and whistling and getting antsy, fidgeting and jumping, until they all decide to fly out of the wetlands in waves and groups, and head to wherever it is they sleep for the night.

A double-crested cormorant coming in to land

One last wave of black-bellied whistling ducks flying off together, in the very dim overcast light

Comments, questions, and critique welcomed as ever!

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 zackiedawg's gear list:zackiedawg's gear list
Sony a6600 Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 200-600 F5.6-6.3 Sony E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Sony E 16mm F2.8 Pancake +21 more
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