Wakodahatchee – Heronry Update

Last nesting season at Wakodahatchee Wetlands I followed the progress of a nest with a Wurdemann’s and a Great Blue Heron. I’ll freely confess to being a bit compulsive when it comes to following a nest until the young un’s fledge. So that was the occasion of my visit this weekend. The incubation period of Great Blue Heron eggs is 28 days and by my calculation it has been probably just shy of that for the closest nest which I am most interested in this year. So I wanted to see if there were chicks in the nest yet. Two other nests in the heronry have barely visible chicks though. Barely.  At dusk I could hear hungry chicks before I was able to spot them. My favourite nest should have hatched eggs this week sometime.  The afternoon was not wintry like last visit but lovely and clear!! The pictures below are just a few from my visit Saturday and you will see that the parent Great Blue still sits on eggs …and images of other feathered residents!

White Egret Preen Reflection

White Egret preens beside its beautiful late afternoon reflection!!

Great Blue Heron Sleeping-Nest

Sleepy Great Blue Heron quite unruffled by breezes ruffling its head plumes about and doses on. It opened its golden eye a few times but not for long! Great Blue Herons close their eyes with the lower lids rising up. You can see the closure meet on the top.

Woodstork Swishing for Prey

Woodstorks feed by probing with their powerful bill while swishing their pretty pink feet to stir up some dinner.

Woodstork-Pink Foot -Black Nails

This picture I included to show the Woodstork’s pink foot with its fashionably black nails. For the foot of a bird, it looks strangely human.

Happy Trails!!

~ by Judy on January 14, 2013.

12 Responses to “Wakodahatchee – Heronry Update”

  1. these images are so great! thank you for sticking close and capturing these birds in their nesting frenzy! i look forward to seeing the babies! z

    • It is completely my pleasure to hang in with the nests as it is just such a fun process. I love it all..the nest building, the restful look of egg sitting and then when the chicks arrive the race to keep up with their appetites. On Saturday as I was leaving it was kind of dark but I could see that one of the parents of a nest with a new chick further away was holding a huge fish in its mouth..could even see the fin backlit a little bit. Then it raised up its head and swallowed it down. So that babe got some nice semi digested fish after that I am sure!! I look forward to showing you some nice interractions soon.

      Saturday someone came to see the nests who was unfamiliar with the Great Herons and asked if it was the female sitting on the nest. And, so I chimed in that it is hard to tell as the female is only slightly smaller than the male and otherwise look alike. Plus, they so equitably share the nest building, sitting and food getting duties. Yeah and commented that men could learn a lot from the Great Herons…much to the chagrin to the male photographers there next to me. Their expressions were priceless!! LOL!!

      • si, i am sure everyone was captivated by your easy way of sharing that knowledge! there was a mississippi artist, walter anderson, who lived a very eccentric life. though he wasn’t well known while living, he is now considered a master. the stories of him are amazing.. he would row his little boat to the barrier islands off the mississippi gulf coast and would live with/study the birds. most of his studies were on typing paper. his love for nature was amazing but his love for the birds, profound.

        you’d enjoy some of that literature for sure!

      • I would enjoy that literature undoubtably!! I love Audubon’s detailed observations written in his Ornithological Biographies. He was a detailed and prolific scientist as well as artist. I will look up Walter Anderson’s writings or stories of him. Thank you.

  2. wow, you sure are getting into a more detailed exam of just what is it you are shooting.i really liked the scenics.

    • Oh, thanks! I do love the details and textures of birds..the feathers, eyes and skin textures. It is infinitely interesting.

  3. Hardly anyhing can compare to the grandeur of these pictures.

    • Thank you very much. I am grateful that I live in an area with such inherently majestic wildlife and beautiful colors for me to try and capture.

  4. What delightful photos. It’s such a treat to see the great blue doing something besides standing around! And that photo with the reflection is beyond lovely.

    The wood storks are most interesting to me, because we don’t have them here. The head has a bit of the texture of one of my favorite birds – the shoebill stork. It’s not native, of course, but we have some in the zoo. And you’re right – those pretty pink feet are cute!

    • Woodstorks are actually pretty closely related to the ibis and are also called a Wood Ibis. The bills do have a similar curvature. The texture you describe is very flinty looking like you could strike match on it..and so that is why one of the woodstork’s nicknames is “Old Flinthead” which I rather like the casual familiarity of. Efforts to protect the wood stork have seriously increased its numbers where even conservationists recommend changing its status to a lesser tho still protected one. Just saw an article in the Sun Sentinel saying that in the Everglades they are closing Paurotis Pond to tourists for the nesting season and this site has seen up to 400 pairs of nesting wood storks in recent years. Until the little article I was unaware of Paurotis Pond. But we will leave the baby waders to themselves.

  5. Ah, such lovely images! They’re so poetic and gorgeous, really giving tremendous justice to these amazing guys. I am running amazingly behind on my uploads… Last image, GBH building nest, eeks!

    • Oh thanks! I do know how time consuming uploading photos can be. I hate it that I go out for the fresh air, exercise and natural scenes and then end up in my dark den in front of my computer for hours!!

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