January Wood Storks


My trip to Wakodahatchee on January 28th yielded pictures of a variety of species. Given the dark, rainy day though the lighting was rather inconsistent. Overcast skies often have lots of dark and bright spots when birds are framed against the sky, or a muted less contrasty feel when against dark foliage. When you take your camera out you just have to enjoy the lighting you get rather than thinking about what you think you want. I tend to enjoy sunny late day conditions with its flattering golden glow…with maybe a thin cloud layer to soften the shadows. Everything looks great through a viewfinder though and the challenge is for the capture to show what you did see through that portal. Not that there is a rule than you can’t change the temperatures of things in processing so the image looks entirely different in condition or time of day.

These however do show that we had weather coming in. I am sure if I went out today things would be similar as we have even colder air today with lots of gray clouds with wind and intermittent rain. Today though, I sit at my computer living a little in last weeks birding adventure.

I’ve written so many times in this blog of the wood stork (Mycteria americana) which at the beginnings of my interest in birds was a rarity to see. Smart conservation has given the species a comeback here in Florida and now they are readily visible on the scene. These large wading birds are always a welcome and fascinating sight. While the only chicks I heard and barely could see in the distance were those of Great Blue Herons, the Wood Storks had many pairs nest sitting. Should in interesting in a few short weeks.











~ by Judy on February 4, 2023.

14 Responses to “January Wood Storks”

  1. Like turkeys, wood storks remind me of how birds were descended from dinosaurs.

  2. Yeah they are pretty prehistoric looking. A lot of good science in what you say. Growing up I was more aware of pretty Cardinals or Blue Jays so the advent of birds like Wood Storks and Roseate Spoonbills with their different look and bald heads was a revelation!!

  3. When I first saw wood storks, I didn’t know what to think. They certainly weren’t ‘cute’ in the traditional sense, and yet they seemed to have a certain presence that was immediately noticeable. One of the things that tickled me was their apparent tolerance of other birds. There’s nothing funnier than watching Black-necked Stilts wandering around through Woodstork legs, or watching the storks and spoonbills eyeing one another. I’ve not seen any for a long time, but hope springs eternal! Maybe this will be the year that they show up again.

    • Absolutely! Wood Storks can’t be called ‘pretty’. With those head plates I thought they looked like Borg Birds as in Star Trek when I first saw their heads up close. Fascinating though and positively confident superior attitudes on them. They are the biggest after all!! I did not realize that they were bigger than Great Blues until they moved off the outer islands and nested beside Great blues. They do kind of dominate the rookery sometimes in size and demeanor. Hope you see some this year!!

  4. Love these wood storks, so characterful. Love the lighting too. Personally, I prefer a drab day for photography…which is convenient since I like in drab UK

    • I agree that I have felt the same way about ‘drab’ days. Bright light can mean fighting hot spots in your capture while mildly over cast days can ge great for balance and detail. Wood storks do have tons of character even if a bit superior at times.

      • Overcast is certainly preferable for snowdrops, or any other white flowers!

      • Yes I find exactly the same with white feathers. Late day sunny light is good too when not totally direct as that light is so flattering and golden, generally not harsh. Though there are times on cloudless days that even late sun unfiltered can create pretty color yet with harsh shadows…almost like flash.

      • This time of year the sun is still low in the sky, so we get a raking light

  5. Good Morning, Judy!

    Once again, you have highlighted one of my favorites! Perhaps because it resembles what I see in the mirror, I like the old timers’ moniker of “Flinthead” for these stoic-looking birds.

    You’re right. Breeding season is here and it should be interesting to watch these magnificent creatures progress through the spring.

    • LOL well I am sure you don’t look quite as ‘flinty’ as these guys!! That is one of the best nicknames ever for a bird…Old Flinthead…as you could easily envision striking match on that texture!! Preacher bird is a good one too in that they can look like they are in deep contemplation of the universe. I’ve see children’s books with different animal characters. It is not uncommon for the Wood Stork to be the ‘Professor”. As I recall a book from childhood called “Johnny Crow’s Garden” has that imagery.

      Hope we both enjoy what spring brings in the birds we love to watch.

  6. An interesting post – I really enjoyed the photos. I usually like bright conditions for my photography but you showed you can capture very arresting images with overcast skies

  7. You capture the majestic nature of the wood storks, Judy. I agree that they are not beautiful in the normal sense of the word, but their confident attitude and strut makes them regal 🙂 The overcast sky also adds to the ambiance you create ~ simply a beautiful post.

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