Frogs, Alligator, Owl, Birds & a Trick Neck (7/18/21)

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zackiedawg
zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 34,346
Frogs, Alligator, Owl, Birds & a Trick Neck (7/18/21)
9

This post includes a handful of shots to wrap up March 13th, then moves into March 20th, with a mix of birds and reptiles too.  For some reason, the often hard to spot pig frogs were very easy to spot - and out in the dozens that day!

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

A young purple gallinule standing on a free-floating ball of roots - he was doing the old log-rolling routine, walking as the root ball rolled to stay on top - he did very well too - loggers would have been impressed!

A tricolored heron, in breeding colors, flying close by as he banks around over the plant-covered waters

Closeup with a gator, cruising along with the sun lighting up that pretty brown eye

Shooting right into the sun as this wood stork tore off a cypress branch as nesting material and was flying back to its nest - I liked the washed out, backlit look that shooting into the sun caused, and the glow coming through the wood stork's wing

A male red-winged blackbird down by the water, looking for some food

A pig frog, right in your face.  You can see how they blend pretty well with the algae, which is why they can be hard to find sometimes - but on this day, there were a dozen of them croaking and snorting at each other, and many were quite out in the open

This yellow-crowned night heron truly looked to have only one leg (he didn't) - they can pull that leg so far up in their feathers that they look amputated.  But that's just their resting habit - to stand on one leg for a long time, then switch out to the other

While I was happy to finally get to spot an eastern screech owl this year - unfortunately this day was the first and last sighting, as they chose not to nest here this year as they have for the past 6-8 years - a large bee hive nearby probably made them reconsider their usual nesting area

Yet more pig frogs!

A side view to show that big external eardrum (tympanum)

Circling back to the yellow-crowned night heron, and voila!  He grew another leg!

We can always get really close to the cormorants - you can walk up and pet them if you wanted.  I just like to get closeups to see that amazing, beautiful Caribbean-sea colored eye

The lovely green heron, in their most typical pose - perched on a branch over the water where they can watch for fish below to strike.  I always love an opportunity to shoot these birds to show that party-trick they have...

That they're able to go from this short, stocky, neckless little bird...

To this long-necked sleek wading bird!  That hidden neck stretches way out to reach the water below, and it's amazing how there's almost no way to see that they have this neck hidden under those feathers!

Comments, questions, and critique welcomed as always!

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Justin
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philzucker
philzucker Veteran Member • Posts: 9,523
Re: Frogs, Alligator, Owl, Birds & a Trick Neck (7/18/21)

zackiedawg wrote:

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

My favorites this time: These herons breeding colors are quite beautiful:

A tricolored heron, in breeding colors, flying close by as he banks around over the plant-covered waters

Great sight of this wood stork with a full beak load.

Shooting right into the sun as this wood stork tore off a cypress branch as nesting material and was flying back to its nest - I liked the washed out, backlit look that shooting into the sun caused, and the glow coming through the wood stork's wing

It really does look amputated! Great catch, and very impressive moody pose.

This yellow-crowned night heron truly looked to have only one leg (he didn't) - they can pull that leg so far up in their feathers that they look amputated. But that's just their resting habit - to stand on one leg for a long time, then switch out to the other

Thanks for sharing!

Phil

Joachim Wulfers
Joachim Wulfers Veteran Member • Posts: 5,199
Re: Frogs, Alligator, Owl, Birds & a Trick Neck (7/18/21)

Nice headshot of the cormorant showing its beautiful emerald eyes. Too bad the screech owls did not hang around. Owls are among my preferred birds, maybe because I see them so seldom. Another bird I see seldom here is the Yellow-crowned night heron. Black-crowned are more common.

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snapa
snapa Veteran Member • Posts: 5,172
zackiedawg,

zackiedawg wrote:

This post includes a handful of shots to wrap up March 13th, then moves into March 20th, with a mix of birds and reptiles too. For some reason, the often hard to spot pig frogs were very easy to spot - and out in the dozens that day!

Wow, you are still posting shots from back in March, you must have a lot of pictures saved up! That is a good thing IMO, since we get to enjoy them on a weekly basis.

Below are my favorites for too many reasons to list, all very well taken as usual. 

BTW, I don't think I've ever got a shot of a screech owl, good eye on seeing it.

A young purple gallinule standing on a free-floating ball of roots - he was doing the old log-rolling routine, walking as the root ball rolled to stay on top - he did very well too - loggers would have been impressed!

A tricolored heron, in breeding colors, flying close by as he banks around over the plant-covered waters

While I was happy to finally get to spot an eastern screech owl this year - unfortunately this day was the first and last sighting, as they chose not to nest here this year as they have for the past 6-8 years - a large bee hive nearby probably made them reconsider their usual nesting area

We can always get really close to the cormorants - you can walk up and pet them if you wanted. I just like to get closeups to see that amazing, beautiful Caribbean-sea colored eye

Comments, questions, and critique welcomed as always!

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zackiedawg
OP zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 34,346
Thank you Phil,

philzucker wrote:

My favorites this time: These herons breeding colors are quite beautiful:

So many of the birds when they go into breeding plumage become quite beautiful - even the plain and common ones!  Much appreciated - thank you.

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zackiedawg
OP zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 34,346
Thanks Joachim,

Joachim Wulfers wrote:

Nice headshot of the cormorant showing its beautiful emerald eyes.

They really are just about the most beautiful eye of any animal - not just the stunning color, but within are all the facets that look like ocean reef and sand when flying over tropical barrier islands.

Too bad the screech owls did not hang around. Owls are among my preferred birds, maybe because I see them so seldom.

Same for me - owls are quite rare and I'm lucky to see one in a year.  The screech owls are usually that one that I get to see at these wetlands - as they had been nesting in the same patch of forest for about 6-7 years in a row.  This one showed up and seemed to hang around for a week or so, before it must have decided to pack it in - a bird box near where they typically nest was completely overrun by bees.

Another bird I see seldom here is the Yellow-crowned night heron. Black-crowned are more common.

We're about even between the two here.  Winter to spring tends to have more black-crowned, while summer is the time of yellow-crowneds.

Thank you for the comments and the look!

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zackiedawg
OP zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 34,346
Snapa,

snapa wrote:

Wow, you are still posting shots from back in March, you must have a lot of pictures saved up! That is a good thing IMO, since we get to enjoy them on a weekly basis.

Indeed - I always get backlogged in winter through Spring, but then summer slows down quite a bit - each outing in summer, I might decide on 10-15 keepers out of 40-50 total shots.  My spring shooting can last through the summer for posting here!

Below are my favorites for too many reasons to list, all very well taken as usual.

BTW, I don't think I've ever got a shot of a screech owl, good eye on seeing it.

I'm not sure if you decided on a keeper with that one.  I know later that day you met up with me, and I took you by that spot to see the screech owl - you could see it, but clearly he wasn't making himself easy to photograph.  I know you attempted a few shots that day, so you might have gotten one or two.  Getting him to turn his face through all the vines and leaves was the challenge though!

Many thanks on the specific picks as always, and for looking and commenting!

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zackiedawg
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Overflow - including my first ever muskrat
1

Here are some additional shots from the same shooting time period:

Green heron on a reed

Tricolored heron banking around

More of the log-rolling purple gallinule juvenile

Another look at the alligator in lovely light

Female red-winged blackbird

Green heron scored two fish in one strike

Another shot of a pig frog

One more pig frog looking straight on

Another peek at the screech owl

Screech owl looking my way through heavy clutter

Pig frog

The shots were terrible as it stayed in deep cover the entire time, but I was still excited as it's the first muskrat I've ever photographed.  It was building up a nest - like a mini-beaver dam, and kept scurrying back and forth through the water under the deep reeds

Looking for more materials

Off in another direction

A male blue-winged teal

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Joachim Wulfers
Joachim Wulfers Veteran Member • Posts: 5,199
Re: Overflow - including my first ever muskrat

Hi Justin,

nice shot of the alligator and those Bull Frogs. I also like the green heron with his double catch. I thought muskrats were abundant in Florida since I read somewhere that they were ship out of Louisiana and to Florida (because of causing extensive flood dam damages.

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zackiedawg
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Joachim - on the muskrat

Joachim Wulfers wrote:

Hi Justin,

nice shot of the alligator and those Bull Frogs. I also like the green heron with his double catch. I thought muskrats were abundant in Florida since I read somewhere that they were ship out of Louisiana and to Florida (because of causing extensive flood dam damages.

Thanks Joachim.  Actually muskrats are fairly common and high population in Florida - but I just never seem to see them out in the open...at least in my local wetlands.  I have on very rare occasion spotted one beside a canal or road when I had no camera with me, and I see their little beaver-dam-style dome homes frequently, but the muskrats themselves never seem to want to come out when I'm there.

This was the first time I've ever even seen one at my local wetlands, and the first time I was able to fleetingly photograph one - as you can see, not that great of photos given all the reeds, but when you're a wildlife photographer and get an opportunity for a 'first', you take it no matter how bad it is, then work on trying to get a better shot next time!

Another I'd like to photograph someday - the nutria.  They're mostly in north and central Florida, but have been migrating south and have been heard of down this way.  I'd very very familiar with them having gone to college in New Orleans for 4 years - they're super-common in Louisiana and I've seen them hundreds of times, but I wasn't into wildlife photography back then!  So photographing one would be brand new, even though the animal itself is one I've known for decades.

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Joachim Wulfers
Joachim Wulfers Veteran Member • Posts: 5,199
Re: Joachim - on the muskrat

zackiedawg wrote:

Joachim Wulfers wrote:

Hi Justin,

nice shot of the alligator and those Bull Frogs. I also like the green heron with his double catch. I thought muskrats were abundant in Florida since I read somewhere that they were ship out of Louisiana and to Florida (because of causing extensive flood dam damages.

Thanks Joachim. Actually muskrats are fairly common and high population in Florida - but I just never seem to see them out in the open...at least in my local wetlands. I have on very rare occasion spotted one beside a canal or road when I had no camera with me, and I see their little beaver-dam-style dome homes frequently, but the muskrats themselves never seem to want to come out when I'm there.

This was the first time I've ever even seen one at my local wetlands, and the first time I was able to fleetingly photograph one - as you can see, not that great of photos given all the reeds, but when you're a wildlife photographer and get an opportunity for a 'first', you take it no matter how bad it is, then work on trying to get a better shot next time!

Another I'd like to photograph someday - the nutria. They're mostly in north and central Florida, but have been migrating south and have been heard of down this way. I'd very very familiar with them having gone to college in New Orleans for 4 years - they're super-common in Louisiana and I've seen them hundreds of times, but I wasn't into wildlife photography back then! So photographing one would be brand new, even though the animal itself is one I've known for decades.

To my knowledge muskrats and nutria both live in burrows and are therefore considered harmful to dams and other water control structures. I have never seen a muskrat or nutria live in a beaver lodge type "home". Maybe what you saw was a beaver lodge.

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zackiedawg
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Re: Joachim - on the muskrat

Joachim Wulfers wrote:

To my knowledge muskrats and nutria both live in burrows and are therefore considered harmful to dams and other water control structures. I have never seen a muskrat or nutria live in a beaver lodge type "home". Maybe what you saw was a beaver lodge.

I'm being overly generous with the comparison to beaver lodges - the muskrat dens are significantly smaller and look like piles of reeds or grasses that got stuck in a current and piled up against a small tree trunk - maybe 15-20 inches long and 6-8 inches high.

Ours is a very specific species, called the round-tailed muskrat, endemic to the southeastern US.  It's native to swamps and wetlands, and lives most of its life in water and mud.  They like to build their little dome dens on shallow patches of land or even raised beds of foliage just above the water, then cover it with grasses and reeds, so they end up looking like little reed pup tents - ours don't burrow, and are a little smaller than the 'common muskrat' that you may be more familiar with.

We unfortunately don't get beaver down here - there is a Florida beaver only in the northern part of the state and panhandle.  I was fascinated with them when visiting in Maine and seeing how huge some of the beaver lodges could be.

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Joachim Wulfers
Joachim Wulfers Veteran Member • Posts: 5,199
Re: Joachim - on the muskrat

zackiedawg wrote:

Joachim Wulfers wrote:

To my knowledge muskrats and nutria both live in burrows and are therefore considered harmful to dams and other water control structures. I have never seen a muskrat or nutria live in a beaver lodge type "home". Maybe what you saw was a beaver lodge.

I'm being overly generous with the comparison to beaver lodges - the muskrat dens are significantly smaller and look like piles of reeds or grasses that got stuck in a current and piled up against a small tree trunk - maybe 15-20 inches long and 6-8 inches high.

Ours is a very specific species, called the round-tailed muskrat, endemic to the southeastern US. It's native to swamps and wetlands, and lives most of its life in water and mud. They like to build their little dome dens on shallow patches of land or even raised beds of foliage just above the water, then cover it with grasses and reeds, so they end up looking like little reed pup tents - ours don't burrow, and are a little smaller than the 'common muskrat' that you may be more familiar with.

We unfortunately don't get beaver down here - there is a Florida beaver only in the northern part of the state and panhandle. I was fascinated with them when visiting in Maine and seeing how huge some of the beaver lodges could be.

Thanks, I learned something new. Here Muskrats and Nutria live in burrows and can create quite a mess. I guess that is why Louisiana has the Nutria control program in place for quite a few years.

JoWul
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