Super-Cute Chicks, Fishing Bittern, Horsefly, Martin BIFs & More (10/3/22)

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zackiedawg
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Super-Cute Chicks, Fishing Bittern, Horsefly, Martin BIFs & More (10/3/22)
8

Another wildlife post, and another two-fer this time.  With this post and the first reply, I'll be finishing off shots taken on May 7th and also wrapping up May 8th - two busy and lovely weekend days out at the local wetlands.

All shots in both posts taken with the A6600 and the FE 200-600mm G OSS lens, handheld, and all are posted at 1800 pixels on the long side if you view them in original size:

Starting with a pair of black-bellied whistling ducks sharing a palm tree stump

This marsh rabbit was very cute with its white goatee - probably an older rabbit with their version of 'grey hair'.

A green heron chick, standing outside of its nest with its sibling behind, waiting for a parent to return with some food

Many duck and bird chicks can be cute - some can be quite ugly - but the black-necked stilt chicks are definitely among the cutest things you'll see.  I was lucky that a stilt couple was letting their chicks feed around the shallows quite close to me - without panicking and calling alert at my presence.

Occasionally, mom would spot something or hear something that could be a threat and she'd let out a little call - the three chicks would come running over next to her for shelter, then slowly start branching back out to feed once her alarm died down

Though not as long as the adult bird's legs, the stilt chicks still have massive legs and feet compared to their bodies - part of what makes them so adorable...like a painted cottonball on stilts

Two stilt siblings wandering together

This little one was just taking a drink in the shade under the trees, walking in my direction...the little drop of water still at the end of the bill

The cuteness of the stilt chicks was interrupted by a searing pain on my arm - where I found this horsefly chomping down on my flesh.  I swatted him off, down to the deck, where I was tempted to step on him...but I decided to take his photograph and let him live.

That time of year, just before summer, the purple martins are down here, and very active - flying around the skies nabbing bugs - almost constantly in motion.  They're a fun challenge to shoot as they fly past like fighter jets

One more purple martin braking a bit before a turn, as she tracks a bug

The usual frantic and noisy fishing method of the tricolored heron - fly out over the water, running along with its feet splashing, usually calling out loudly, looking to spook the fish into running then stabbing down with their heads to nab the fish

I followed this lovely male least bittern for a while - he was busy fishing a small area along the shore under some trees and a tricolored heron nest, and was doing very well

Here he is with one of the 6 fish I had seen him eat up to this point - he was feasting on this day!

Make that 7 fish!  I gave up after this shot as the light was starting to fade, but the bittern was still fishing as I walked away - I don't know how many fish a least bittern can eat in one sitting, but I think this one was going to be awfully full.

Another set to follow in the next reply...

Comments, questions, and critique welcomed as always!

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Justin
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