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?
I was curious to see this Royal Tern standing on top of his partner while walking the beach in Florida. In all my travels and observations, I’d never seen that cute little stunt before. A little research revealed that behavior is part of the mating process, and it is the male bird balancing on top, proving himself to her. When I shot this photo, I stayed a good distance from the flock, and later cropped the image dramatically to isolate the busy couple. It is important not to disturb birds when you observe them in their natural habitat.
Spring is also a great time to admire the breeding plumage on some of the larger wading birds, like this Great Blue Heron in the Everglades National Park. I love the long and delicate feathers hanging in front.