Different Day Different Grackle!


Boat Tailed Grackle against Green Background 9902

Mostly I am attracted to the big wading birds such as Great Blue Herons, Great White Herons, White Egrets, Wood Storks and the like that live here in South Florida. But, as mentioned before in my previous post The Uncommon Iridescence of A Common Florida Blackbird I cannot entirely leave alone any of these gloriously rich looking birds when one is in range of my view finder. I always say that no matter how ubiquitous a species may be, its beauty is never diminished by virtue of there being so many of them. The first two images were taken at the Wakodahatchee Wetlands at different seasons with a background of green foliage.  The second two were taken in sequence when I noticed them in a tree at Kelly Park in Merritt Island, Florida against a bright blue sky and some leaves of fall.

The last image is for the author of Crimson Prose because she likes to play with photo filters for artistic effects. And the bird does have such a nice artistic body position. (Be sure to visit  Crimson Prose for her wonderful story telling and profound knowledge of British history.)

Hope you enjoy these finds as I sort through for stock photos!! Did I say this is taking forever?? Course my day was not limited to the shimmering male boat tailed grackle. I lifted the below info and quote from Audubon off of my previous post as it is ever so true.


Audubon was quite taken with the characteristic iridescence of grackles describing  the Purple Grackle  ( Quiscalus versicolor, Viell) (or Common Crow-Blackbird as it was known then) as he observed them in  Louisiana where much to the irritation of farmers they devoured young corn plants.

“No sooner has the cotton or corn planter begun to turn his land into brown furrows, that the Crow-Blackbirds are seen sailing down from the skirts of the woods, alighting in the fields, and following his track along the ridges of newly-turned earth, with an elegant and elevated step, which shews them to be as fearless and free as the air through which they wing their way. The genial rays of sun shine on their silky plumage, and offer to the ploughman’s eye such rich and varying tints, that no painter, however gifted, could ever imitate them. The coppery bronze, which in one light shews its rich gloss, is, by the least motion of the bird, changed in a moment to brilliant and deep azure, and again, in the next light, becomes refulgent sapphire or emerald-green.”



Boat Tailed Grackle on dried Fern-8642

Boat Tailed Grackle Looking Up-8070


Boat Tailed Grackle Arch-8069




~ by Judy on September 18, 2016.

30 Responses to “Different Day Different Grackle!”

  1. I’ve seen these birds in photos before but none of them have been as stunning as your photographs. Beautiful!

    • Thank you Selah, I really appreciate that. Grackles really are birds which are fascinating to watch when the sun hits them…so deeply rich and beautiful…like black velvet I guess with blue and green and purple hues.

  2. The first two photos are awesome in every sense: sharpness, colors, bokeh, and your outstanding capture of the bird’s eyes and expression.

    • I agree on how important the eyes are with bird photography. Sometimes if action is too much for me I concentrate on the eye…and hopefully on a white bird that won’t blow out any details!! I really have found that the nature of the rich black and iridescent sheen of the black birds is such that they look wonderful against green backgrounds. I also enjoy it when I can get great texture on things like those dried up curly leaves the bird is perched on!! Thanks very much for the lovely words!!

  3. Beautiful pictures! You really captured their feathery iridescence. They also are interesting (and smart) birds. Several years ago my wife and I were visiting a coastal area of Puerto Rico. The boat-tailed grackles were quite numerous there. They would stroll around looking for leftover food. One made its way inside a restaurant, flying along the rafters and later moving about under the tables. On another occasion, several pounced on my croissant when I momentarily left it unattended!

    • It is true that many consider this clever and sprightly bird a nuisance. I will say that they look so grand out in the wetlands glittering in the sun, more so than hovering about the roof of Publix grocery store!! Sorry about the croissant!!

      • Though I wish they hadn’t gone for the croissant, I should have known better. I was away only a few seconds to get coffee. But they are very clever, continually scouting out the area for food. They ended up having a nice breakfast, as did a couple pigeons!

      • You know at some of the hotels down here, it is the green iguanas that are trying to snitch some tasty bites from distracted patrons. Too funny. It seems that no matter how elegant the creature, easy food is easy food. Beautiful herons and egrets love to snitch from fishermen at docks.

      • We saw plenty of iguanas down there, too!

  4. You know how I feel about grackles. I love them, as much for their sociability and chutzpah as for their considerable beauty. I like the first two photos best, although I couldn’t put one above the other. They each have fine qualities. And I agree that the backgrounds in both add a good bit.

    What you said about eyes is interesting. Though I’ve never intended it, some of my better heron shots have nice, clear eyes. I suppose that, if the eye comes out sharp and clear, the surrounding area will, too.

    I’ve always thought of the grackles’ iridescence as similar to satin. Whatever metaphor we choose, they’re fascinating to watch in sunlight.

    • I do know and you have some wonderful detailed Texas grackles. Makes me feel connected when we see the same species in our various and far flung regions! Maybe we should do a same day photo day..you go to your wetland and I will go to mine and see what birds are there both places in an exact day.

  5. Beautiful shots, Judy!

    • Thank you Jill. Sometimes when you see things through the viewfinder, you are amazed to see that you actually captured that, that it is not just an intangible.

  6. The way you’ve captured the bird in that second photo it needs no further photo-wizardry. It’s hard to believe those the natural colours. What beautiful birds. (And thanks for the plug) 🙂

  7. He’s a handsome bird! Great pics, Judy.

  8. Amazing and so beautiful Judy I am attracted to Ravens but have never seen one of these birds I can see why you would be inspired to capture them in your camera. The colours are gorgeous. Wonderful as nature is, most people would not notice the beauty of this bird. And here it is, in all its glory thanks to your keen eye. Thanks for sharing, when I opened the page you got a huge wow! Out of me.

    • I like ravens too. They are so stately. I think their feathers absorb light more than reflect like the grackles…right? Haven’t had much experience with ravens yet. I figure they are much more moody or Poe would not have written: “Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore.”
      You know “The Raven” is one of my all time favourite poems!! I used to be able to recite it, but now, Nevermore!! 🙂

  9. Love the deep rich tones of the grackle’s color ~ swimming between hues and truly letting the mind (and photographer) wonder at the beauty of mother nature 🙂

    • I like that swimming between hues!! It is a definitely a deep velvety black seeming to absorb all until you see the feathers catch the light. Nice that even the most common can still inspire wonder.

  10. Goodness, your photographs really bring out the beautifully subtle colors in the plumage.

    • Oh, thank you. It is so visible in the field too so they are pretty to watch. Maybe they just do look especially nice with natural foliage around them instead of an asphalt parking lot where they appear sometimes.

      • It’s certainly easier to look good in a beautiful natural environment. Hmm… from now on I should try to make sure I’m always photographed standing next to a mountain.

      • Definitely, we all look better in nature’s forgiving light and with a stellar background than under harsh fluorescent office lights. Or maybe its the stress has melted off us and we are happy.

      • Being away from the influence of the stress force field that surrounds work certainly helps. 🙂

  11. I absolutely ADORE these common grackles… And I know they’re considered serious (to put it politely) aggravations in the heartland, but I’m with Audubon. Their iridescence is breathtaking. I used to sit for ages staring at them on the boardwalk — and now, with the ravens and other corvids! 🙂 I love that last image, too… Just fascinating.

    • Oh, you are the first to mention the art filter/blending mode treatment. I thought the bird’s body position looked kind of like oriental art or something. Pictures call the shots sometimes….for good or for bad!! 🙂

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