Blue Heron’s Catch

At first I thought the Great Blue Heron had just caught a freshly hatched baby alligator. I didn’t dare to creep any closer, not knowing where the Mama Alligator was. My best judgement was to focus and shoot, focus and shoot about 6 times after I observed the heron snatch his prey with silent quickness.

#blueheron, #greatblueheron, #heron, #everglades, #florida, #willdlife, #nature, #nationalpark
Great Blue Heron with his catch. What is it?

I took this series of photographs while the heron juggled the prey ( fish perhaps?) in its beak, getting ready to swallow it.

#greatblueheron, #blueheron, #heron, #prey, #wildlife, #nature, #everglades, #sharkvalley, #nationalpark
The big gulp looked to me like a big mistake.
#heron, #greatblueheron, #blueheron, #florida, #everglades, #nationalpark, #wildlife, #nature
Finished. So, that’s how it works.

Gators rule

Biking Shark Valley in the Everglades yesterday, I saw at least 200 large and menacing alligators. Another biker reflected, “I don’t know how the wading birds coexist with their predators here.” I agree. In fact, I am amazed that the tourist fatalities are not more common. I had to alert a chatty, unaware lady that this gator was walking toward her, only about six feet away. Moments later, another woman posed for a photo a few feet from another gator, ignoring the 5 meter rule from the National Park Service. Not me, I use my 200 mm lens and constantly keep a 360 degree watch.

#alligator, #lookout, #everglades, #florida, #gatoronthemove, #sharkvalley, #nikond800, #nikon, #wildlife, #nature
When the American alligator moves toward prey, it is lightening fast. Keep your distance. Shark Valley, Everglades National Park.

 

Black Crowned Night Heron

I arrived at Six Mile Cypress Slough right at sunset, just in time to see this large and beautiful bird begin to hunt for dinner from a cypress knee in the swamp. This is a tall bird, typically 23″ tall with its neck extended, and look at those claws. I loved its indigo coloring as well as the plume of slender white feathers that emerge from his crown.

#nightheron, #blackcrested, #fortmeyers, #sixmilecypressslough, 3nature, #wildlife, #florida, #bird
Daylight was fading fast, so I needed my tripod to capture this beautiful black crowned night heron at 1/13 second with my lens opened up to f 4.5.

I was really excited that the heron chose to hang out with me for 10 minutes or so, giving me time to capture him in several positions.

Sleepy Screech Owl

This little owl and I have one thing in common: we both like to sleep in. He lives in a hollow of a tree trunk in a south Florida swamp. When beach goers walk by on a nearby boardwalk and make lots of noise saying, “Is the owl there? I don’t see him. OH THERE HE IS!” he just sleeps right through it.

#owl, #naples, #florida, #pelicanbay, #sleepy, #naptime, #wildlife, #nature
Well camouflaged Eastern Screech Owl taking a late morning nap.

Splashing otters

These otters weren’t afraid to make a splash when they burst upon the tranquil scene with the wading birds silently tracking their prey. A large alligator lurked nearby, but she didn’t spoil the fun either.

#otter, #florida, #naples, #wildlife, #nature, #habitat, #fun
Sharing the habitat with egrets, herons, turtles and gators, these otters jump in the water, swim, jump out and scurry around the brush. They seem to be having fun.

Egret ballet

Watching this graceful American egret in the evening light, my mind went right back to Lincoln Center and the vision of a ballerina dancing Swan Lake. The egrets lines were so beautiful as she moved ever so slowly, and her reflection in the wading pool accentuated her grace.

#egret, #nature, #florida, #wadingbird, #tropics, #wildlife, #naples, #relfection
An American egret and her reflection in the evening light.

Anhinga grooming

You can tell an Anhinga from a Cormorant by remembering that the beak of an Anhinga forms the letter “A,” and  the Cormorant’s beak forms a little “C” at the tip. Both birds are large black tropical birds (35″ long), and can both be spotted in Florida.

Often called the snake-bird for its long neck, you can spot this bird swimming underwater. This Anhinga typically takes time to dry off after swimming. This fearless black bird takes a moment to preen its feathers.  Keep an eye out for one when you visit Florida.

#bird, #anhinga, #florida, #tropical, #wildlife, #beak, #black
Anhingas dry off after swimming underwater to catch prey.