Born White, Turning Blue

The Little Blue Heron is born as a stark white bird, and it gradually develops those vibrant slate blue feathers as it matures. If you were not aware of that color change, you might wonder about the identity of this unique bird when you see it in the Everglades.

This juvenile Little Blue Heron shows some blue feathers coming in around the neck. The bill is taking on its blue hue as well. The white branches underline its ghostly visage in the swamp. Shark Valley, Everglades National Park, 2019.

Standing on one leg, the heron rests the other while silently watching the water for fish. “Little” is a relative term, as it can grow to 29″ and have a wingspan of 41 inches. It is only “little” when compared to the tall “Great Blue Heron,” that can stand 4.5 feet high.

Portrait of a Roseate Spoonbill

“Okay, perfect. Now, stand up straight with one foot in front of the other, step into the sunlight, look at me, and hold it right there.” Snap!

If only a wild bird would follow directions like that! If only a beautiful roseate spoonbill would show up when you go out with your camera hoping to capture something interesting. In the wild, the photographer shows up often and prepared with know how and good equipment hoping that the birds and the events will happen someday.

When it is time to process a digital image, some experience with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom comes in handy. I was grateful to be prepared when this Roseate Spoonbill and I met at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

#roseatespoonbill, #roseate, #bird, #portrait, #naples, #birdphotography, #corkscrew, #corkscrewswampsanctuary, #wildlife, #success, #secrets, #howto, #birds, #florida
I could not have posed you any better, Roseate Spoonbill. Thanks for looking at the camera and stepping into the light.

Yellow Crowned Night Heron

This tall and tranquil bird stood still for quite some time at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary as I set up my tripod to make this photograph. He/she is a classy bird, seeming confident, or should I say, comfortable in his feathers.

#nightheron, #yellowcrownednightheron, #heron, #bird, #florida, #naples, #Corkscrew, #birdphotography
Stepping out to look for a bite to eat, this Yellow Crowned Night Heron looks striking in his vivid feathers.

Gator Camouflage

Wearing “camo” is in. Especially if you are an alligator and hunt for food in the wild. Alligators floating in the swamp have a natural advantage, because they resemble floating logs, and they are silent and often still. Unsuspecting fish, birds and even people swim or walk by, in close range.

This 14-foot American Alligator seen at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary was cruising Lettuce Lakes early Sunday morning, beneath the nest of three Anhinga chicks. He took on a new “camo” outfit as the plants adhered to his back.

#alligator, #corkscrew, #swamp, #water, #predator, #florida, #southwestflorida, #wildlfie, #camouflage
I had to move quickly to capture this image of a large alligator from the safety of a boardwalk over the swamp.

 

 

 

What Lies Ahead

On a morning walk in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, you never know what lies ahead. One time, a Florida Panther jumped onto this stretch of boardwalk. Other days a Burmese python was sighted just below in the swamp. Most likely, you will see a dozen or more species of birds and some alligators. I was not disappointed as I entered the cypress forest.

#corkscrew, #swamp, #santuary, #naples, #florida, #nature, #birdwatching, #vertical, #sony
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is an active nature preserve near Naples, FL.

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┬ábird, 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.

Basking in the sun

This turtle seems to love his private spot to bask in the late afternoon sun. This textured clump of tree roots is just the right size to elevate the turtle out of the South Florida swamp. Lots of turtles inhabit this area, sharing it with alligators, large and small.

#turtle, #alligators, #florida, #swamp, #wildlife, #nature
Basking in the sun, this turtle keeps at least one eye open for the local alligators.