***Weekly Wildlife Thread: Oct 2nd - 8th***

Started Oct 3, 2022 | Discussions thread
OP zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 35,331
Baby Gators, Kingfisher, Bittern, Swallowtail, Parakeets

This set will wrap up March 5th, and then move to March 13th, with a nice selection of reptiles first, then a selection of birds, and a lovely bug thrown in too. All of the following were shot with the A6600 and FE 200-600mm G OSS combo, handheld, and all are posted at 1800 pixels on the long side if you view them in original size:

Starting off with a pile of baby alligators, all hanging out together in the reeds...safety in numbers, though it helps when big, toothy mom is just 8 feet away keeping a close eye out for any predators

A closeup look at the trio of baby alligators

And then really zooming in for a close look at one of the baby gators, with those cool eyes

I mentioned I had a lot of reptile shots for this thread - the cooler months here in Florida tend to draw them out to get some sun as they're cold blooded and need all the heat they can get, like this basilisk lizard

Also out were the green iguanas - though you can see they were turning up more of their black coloration to help absorb more heat from the sun (they can change colors from shades of green, brown, grey, orange, and black).

Normally elusive and hard to find birds, this male least bittern was out fishing in the open by the shore, and was starting to get nice breeding colors coming in

Looking up from the shade, you really see that rich pinkish color coming in at the base of the bill, the deeper yellow on the bill, and the chestnut warmth in the browns that indicate a breeding male bittern

Another of those birds that isn't really rare, but still seems very difficult to spot - this belted kingfisher female was sitting in the shade, about 100 feet away - but that's closer than I usually get, so despite the light challenges, I could take advantage of the 600mm lens and APS-C crop to get her in pretty close, and the tree cover helped mute the background light so her colors could stand out

Moving to the following weekend, I started off the 13th with this lovely, large butterfly - one I don't often see - the giant swallowtail!

Male red-winged blackbird perched on a tall reed, where he can watch over the wetlands

A pretty mottled duck, bobbing in the water with some nice light and reflections

This black-bellied whistling duck couple was resting in the tall weeds along the shore of the wetlands - enjoying the sun

This female northern shoveler has featured in quite a few of my posts over the past few months - it was probably the longest visit I can remember for a northern shoveler at these wetlands - from Thanksgiving weekend until late March. We're lucky to see one for a single week at this wetland!

For me it's always a treat to catch parakeets in flight. There are lots of invasive parakeets, but when they fly it's usually pretty quick. Fortunately they make a lot of noise when they fly, so I caught this large flock of Nanday black-hooded parakeets flying past

Monk, aka Quaker, parakeets are probably our most common - but the black-hooded have pretty good populations too - you can really see that black head that gives them the 'hooded' name

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