Wood Stork Colony on the Brink of Spring

Wood Stork alights on a limb beside wetland waters.

 

 

 

 

Visiting the rookery at Wakodahatchee a week ago, you’d never guess that Wood storks were so recently considered an endangered species in Florida. No they’ve definitely been down listed in that regard and have truly taken over my favourite rookery. While this selection of visuals of the day is specifically of wood storks, they share the nesting sites with Great blue herons, anhingas, Cattle egrets and others. They do seem a bit crowded out by Old Flinthead presently though.

The colony is very active now with paired and mating birds and some pairs already tending to their tiny young. Because I lost my hearing, in recent years I could not hear the chorus of hungry chicks I loved so much. A fellow birder told me that the juvenile wood works bills hitting each other sounds like baseball bats. My cochlear implant has changed everything. So I did hear those tiny little wood stork chicks making quite a ruckus when they were ready for food. And, they are ready for food quite often. I love the clamor of the Great blue heron chicks too…always was a favourite sound. So, I will return to watch them grow and listen.

I’ve written of this marvelous species in past seasons and I invite you to return to this OLDER POST for more about them.  Or type in Wood Stork in the search bar; you can tell they’ve been a favourite.  Images here tell last week’s story. I look forward to my next visit when the little ones will be easier to watch.

 

 

Three wood stork nests layered within pond apple
branches. The central pair stood patiently on their
platform of twigs the entire time I was there.
Above them you see wood stork incubating eggs and 
another feeding its tiny barely visible chicks.

 

Wood storks have built their nests atop the pond
apple trees in the lush wetland environment.

 

 

Wood stork mating pair stands patiently at 
the nest. No chicks yet.

 

Wood Storks doing the wild thing. I am sure there 
will be an egg in the morning. 🙂

 

This nesting pair has a close by cattle egret
neighbor. Very close! Hmm hmm! There will be some
territorial scuffling in the near future.

 

A view of a wood stork nest with three teensie chicks.
As with all babies, they have tiny bodies but
big voices. Not easy to see until they stretch to ask
 mom for some nice fish juice!!

The cycle of life once again unfolds. And always to the amazement of us humans so battered by the noise and hype of our lives, the sight of this rambunctious display calms the spirit.

 

Judy

 

 

~ by Judy on March 4, 2019.

28 Responses to “Wood Stork Colony on the Brink of Spring”

  1. Great photos, Judy. And good to see you’re out and about with your camera again. 🙂

    • Thanks! It is good to be out again definitely. I have to say that for once, it was more about being there and soaking it in than in documenting things. Although, I would have felt naked without the camera.

  2. And happy to read that your hearing is now wildlife-enabled again.

    • Yesss a great way to put it….wildlife enabled…excellent!! More especially if I go to the gators…..good to hear when those are there!! Survival enabled!!!

  3. Wow! These are incredible shots, Judy. It’s nice to see the population flourishing. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Totally my pleasure. Just happy there are people who enjoy getting to see them. I feel most fortunate that they live in my area.

  4. What wonderful photos, Judy. It thrills me that you’re able to be out and about, enjoying these wonderful birds, both for yourself and for us. I’ve only seen wood stocks here once. I went back and checked, and they were here in August. I found this note about Texas wood storks in the Texas Breeding Bird Atlas:

    “Post-breeding dispersal has resulted in storks from this southeastern population [ FL, etc.] temporarily moving into the Gulf Coast states of Alabama and eastern Mississippi. Concurrently, other Wood Storks, presumably originating from breeding colonies in Mexico and/or Central America (Coulter et al. 1999), are frequently observed in large numbers in the lower Mississippi River Valley, Louisiana, and Texas during the late-summer/fall months. ”

    And that’s exactly when I saw them. I didn’t realize that the breeding colonies are only in your territory. That makes it even more special that we get to see such sights through your photos!

    • It seemed for awhile that the population in Florida was diminished. I can remember my first hike with the Sierra Club, that our leader very excitedly pointed out some wood storks flying overhead in the distance. I knew nothing of them at the time and only saw some white birds with black edging on the wings and that was it. Read somewhere that they were not endangered everywhere and that they had moved to Georgia where there were breeding colonies. But, they are definitely healthy populations here now. I never thought I’d be able to get close to them so the last 4 years have been a surprise and a treat.

  5. Simply beautiful!

    • OH thanks for that! Sometimes the beauty is just out there and we get lucky enough to record it. Thanks for visiting and commenting!!

  6. The pond apple trees are pretty amazing as are these impressive but somewhat scary looking storks.

    • Well, I should not be surprised that you went for those pond apple trees. I know you have a great eye for the geometry of light and shadow as filtered through the tangle of branches in nature. I love the way you seem to simplify the tangle and messiness inherent in natural scenes, especially forested ones, in ways it is not always easy to do photographically.

      The wood storks are quite interesting especially is one is not familiar ones. My husband is always asking why I like the bald birds like wood storks and spoonbills. The wood stork is sometimes called Old Flint Head for that texture it neck has. Does look like you could strike and match. This species is also referred to as Preacher Bird as they do have that philosophical, contemplative posture and are quite large and elegant birds. Happy you came by and took a look at them.

      • Old Fint Head is a good description of the texture of their necks. Yes, they are elegant and imposing. As for painting trees, I deliberately chose composition that have a certain amount of visual clarity, I dont like too much tangle, but its impossible to escape it comp;etely in an ancient woodland. As with photogrpahy, there’s a lot of selection at every stage of the process!

      • Sometimes your biggest choice is where to stand.

      • I usually find that my first impulse is the best one, if I have to try too many different places, it isn’t really working!

      • That can be very true. With photography I learned after hours spend removing distractions from compositions, that sometime moving a foot to avoid an errant branch is all you need. I think with photography and seeing things big on the computer later that you learn to see better in the field. But, yeah, you can’t fight the wrong situation sometimes.

      • Yes, I look at the corners of my photos to make sure they are spoiled by some detail I dont want.

  7. Thank you for those pictures of the Wood Storks, birds I have never seen before. Yesterday, looking out of my kitchen window, I saw a robin, a welcome sight after a very bitter winter here in Pennsylvania. Today I heard a cardinal singing, another thrilling announcement of the coming of Spring.

    • I apologize for my late return comment. Where have the weeks gone! I actually have visited the rookery twice since this post to follow the nests a bit more,and one foray out to the Tamiami Trail Area. I agree that bird song is one of the very best signals that spring has sprung….wherever you are and whatever species grace our lives. Happy to introduce you to the Wood stork sometimes called wood ibis, preacher bird or old flinthead. I always like preacher bird as they do seem very elegant in stance and gaze at you with such eloquence that surely they are theologians or philosophers.

  8. Nothing like seeing a post where you are out exploring and capturing some amazing aspects of your world, Judy ~ simply awe-inspiring shots. Wishing you a great weekend.

    • Always enjoy your visits to my site and even more mine to yours!! LOL!! I feel behind in many things and am glad to finally break the bonds of duty to get out to visit the nests again. A great weekend now to you!!

  9. Amazing photos as usual for you, Judy! It’s gret that you can hear the Wood Storks and their baby chicks now.

    • I know, I just haven’t gotten anywhere near taking hearing them for granted and probably never will. Rookeries are very busy , noisy places. Between the hungry chicks crying out for food and the territorial disputes and snapping bills if one bird dares land in the wrong spot…quite a show. More to come as I’ve been round there two more times. Always the same yet always different.

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