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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The National Aviary is an interesting family outing for folks in Pittsburgh, especially over the holidays when the weather can be frightful. When you visit, you will have a chance to meet William and Mary, two Victorian Crowned Pigeons, roaming around among the visitors in the Tropical Rain Forest.
This bird named for Queen Victoria is the largest pigeon in the world, and it comes from Northern New Guinea. I like its colors and fancy crown. I processed my image with Topaz Simplify.
Inching along the grass in the Florida wetlands, I tried to get as close as I dared to the wading birds having dinner last night. I kept checking around me for alligators, but luckily, they were hunting somewhere out of sight. I was able to get a close look at two Yellow Crested Night Heron. It’s not terribly common in my neck of the woods, and I wasn’t sure what kind of heron it was at first. But I quickly became a fan of its zebra striped face, yellow crown, red eyes, distinctive accent feather, light and darker grey feathers and its long coral colored legs. This fellow kept a careful eye on me and in no time took flight to the safety of a nearby mangrove tree. But not before I got off a few nice shots.
After I captured this image of an ibis taking flight from the beach, I began to wonder what it would be like to take flight to the sky at a moment’s notice. Only birds can do this, but what a gift! I think the closest I can come to that feeling is to glide through the water while swimming. As I glide weightless with the water rippling through my hair and the cool water skimming over my body, I feel that magic combination of freedom and relaxation. I wonder, why don’t I swim more often?