Wild Bird Center Visit – Key Largo, Florida


White Egret perches on a limb - Key Largo
Great Egret perches on a shadowy limb at the Wild Bird Center.
 It was a perfect breezy, sunlit winter day in the Florida Keys. 
After so many rainy cold fronts, it was a delight to be there.

Last Saturday I tagged along with my husband while he scoped out some places that might serve as temporary storage for our boat in the upper Keys. This would enable us to drive down and launch more easily during some selected months of the year. I greatly look forward to some opportunities to explore some of the outer islands in the southern Keys more readily.

So naturally I jumped at the chance to go so that I could also stop in and see how the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Center was doing lately. My last couple of visits the sanctuary boardwalk and bird rehab facilities were under considerable reorganizing and clean up. Saturday’s visit showed everything looking great and with quite a few visitors in the time I wandered around. There was a team of young college kids involved with raking seaweed from the shoreline and helping with the rehab habitats while I was there. It was good to see how much was happening.  Please refer to a previous post entitled ‘Keep Them Flying’  with a bit more history of this unique effort and Laura Quinn’s vision.

Today I just wanted to share four images representative of my visit on Saturday and hope that you enjoy the view!!

Green Heron fishes among pneumatophores of the Black Mangrove tree

A Green Heron wandered out of a thicket of black
 mangrove pneumatophores on the bayside.  Unlike the red mangrove
which has high arched prop roots, the black mangrove
 roots send up these vertical aerial roots to bring extra oxygen
 to the tree. I find them kind of exotic and they have a similar 
appeal for me as do cypress knees.


Backlit Brown Pelican

At the entrance of the Wild Bird Center a brown pelican took
 center stage on a large coralliferous rock looking handsome
 backlit by the morning sun.

_Ibis on Roof-F6A2082-wps

This Ibis dropped in onto the shingle roof of one of the sheds, its 
blue eyes perfectly matching the bright background sky!

Already looking forward to spring-time exploration!!


~ by Judy on February 15, 2016.

30 Responses to “Wild Bird Center Visit – Key Largo, Florida”

  1. Wonderful, post-card-quality shots, Judy. And what a spectacular day!

    • It really was. You can do nice things with all kinds of lighting, but it is so much easier on a beautiful clear day. Everything just looks great! It was great just to be outside enjoying the weather!!

      I see your squirrel icon is not appearing now. The hat is nice!! 🙂

      • Thank Face Book for the icon change. I used FB to log in to Jupiter’s blog – the rest is history. 🙂

      • Well it is interesting. I see the squirrel icon in my e-mail and in the notification area, only on the actual web page comment area does the Jim with hat image appear. So the squirrel is still live!!

      • Oh, that’s not me … it’s some old guy that keeps pestering me for spare change. 😉

  2. These are beautiful photographs, Judy!

  3. All of these shots are so beautiful, exceptional, exemplary. Thank you so much Judy for sharing them on this blog.

  4. Judy, Great shots! Sorry I missed the trip. Jack

  5. Great pics, Judy!


  6. What gorgeous portraits! I do love the blue eyes of that ibis, though. 🙂 What a fun trip!!!

    • Yeah the Ibis certainly does have beautiful eyes. With the white feathers, pink bill and legs, and blue eyes they look especially pretty against a light background…all pastels kind of. Just nice colors.

      Is it nice in Georgia now or still more like Seattle?

      • It’s finally starting to warm up a bit, but wow it’s been RAINING! We’ve had more rain here since September than you can imagine… The poor earth is completely clogged! I’m sure it has to do with the particularly nutty weather patterns, but I’m ready for a bit of sun. 🙂

      • Here in South Florida we’ve had an especially wet December, January and Feb too. In fact Big Cypress yesterday was quite wet with higher water levels. It was nice though and the swamp water so lovely and perfectly clear. No wading or anything just walking along the dirt road peering into the depths for good scenes. Gators were around but there were some perfectly lovely gator logs with no gators on them!! I always have my ideas of what makes the perfect scene. It was fun just be there and smell the earthy smells.

      • Hahah! It’s funny when the critters don’t accommodate the scenes, for us. 🙂 But it’s nice that it was a bit wetter in the swamps… I don’t know how healthy it is for them in the winter, but I know it’s much lovelier. I’m used to bone-dry visions there this time of the year!

  7. The wispy feathers of the Great Egret always give me time to pause and think about the magic of nature… Beautiful photography Judy ~

    • Thank you. Nature can truly be magical. Unfortunately for the White Egret in days past, those pretty aigrettes nearly spelled their end. Hard to believe that the plume hunters would take these bird right in the nest when the gauzy plumes were most luxuriant leaving the chicks with no one to take care of them. But, at least today they can be admired and left alone.

  8. The ibis looks like it’s dancing. I’ll bet you were dancing, too, to get out on such a beautiful day, and find such beautiful birds to photograph. Ever time I see a pelican, I think of Plato. I don’t grow philosophic, though — I just think how glad I am he brought us together!

    • Yeah I am glad about Plato too!! He was a good wetland spokesman wasn’t he? And, I was so happy you asked because nothing is worth anything if not shared!!

  9. You are so lucky to have such beautiful birds almost to hand. Though these photos remind me of more active birdwatching days. I’d gone out to Breydon Water (at the back of Yarmouth, it’s a nature reserves). At the time it was a haven particularly for waders. On this particular day I sat on the bank with my binoculars admiring a proud Spoonbill. Beautiful bird. But I had noticed swarms of twitchers with their high-powered telescopes, but none of them trained on the Spoonbill. The reserve warden, with whom I was quite friendly at the time, came and sat beside me. “Do you know what they’re looking at?” he asks. I shrug. Obviously not the Spoonbill (size of a grey heron, maybe bigger). “A broad billed sandpiper. Out there in the middle of the muds.” You know how big a sandpiper is? And this one differed from the usual run by a slightly broader beak. Which anyway, this being low-tide and feeding time, was dug deep into the mud. Oh never mind the beautiful Spoonbill which was happy to pose for us. Let’s make sure we get our tick for sighting a rarety.
    That same year I sighted a rarety. A Sykes wagtail (looks like a cross between a pied wagtail and a yellow wagtail. It’s Russian. But that year it was breeding along the drainage channels twixt Breydon and the marshes.
    I can’t swap wonderful photos with you; but I can tell you interesting tales.

    • I have a feeling you know more about bird varieties than I do. I am so focused (NPI) on the large wading birds that sometimes I forget about their less colorful or smaller brethren!! I am definitely fortunate to have access to such lovely large birds though and I don’t take it for granted at all!!

      Interesting tales…..keep them coming!! I love your stories.

  10. They are beauties Judy!

  11. Judy my favourite is the first one the feather detail is astounding. Your photo’s are so vivid its almost like the birds are posing just for you. It must be wonderful to have a boat and get out there and see them in their natural habitat. Have a great day. Kath.

    • Oh, it is really great fun for me when I can watch a bird in great light and stay there long enough to wait for that gust of wind to fluff up the aigrettes or the bird to turn its head in a certain way. I generally think in terms of getting a nice portrait in situations like that so am very background and post oriented. I really like the white egret too so am happy to get such a good report.

      • I know that joy when you have all the elements in the right place Judy. My husband just got a new camera with larger lenses etc, now I just have to learn how to use it. Try as I may I could never capture what you do, it is your gift and I admire how you tell a story just by looking at your work. Have a great day.

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