A day off... what to do. I have a few avian targets that have eluded me so far this year that I really wanted to make sure I photographed in breeding plumage, so at 4am I was off to the coast. Spoonbills were high on the list and I hadn't found a place that put me within range without at least a 600mm lens, so I figured I'd check out a few areas that had intrigued me on a topo map. (BTW - topo maps in this area read like any plain ol' street map, speed bumps are the only significant elevational landmarks.) I found an area that I had heard about that is 34' above the surrounding marshes that has some great birding and lots of great snaking nearby too.

trail

2 hours later, I discover the thickest swarm of mosquitos in recorded history as I make my way down a trail to a freshwater pond. Fortunately I have bug spray, unfortunately they don't seem to mind. It was like those "axe effect" commercials with mosquitos instead of cheerleaders.

Bingo... spoons, least bittern, all of the herons (night herons included), all of the egrets, anhinga, cormorants and the usual (heavy) dose of gators and turtles. Didn't get pics of everything, though just about, and I am pretty happy with what I did get. Also photo'd the largest gator I've seen out here since moving here. The pic doesn't give much for scale, but you can tell he's a biggin' from the build on that beast.

Enjoy!

Roseate Spoonbill - Ajaia ajaja
Roseate Spoonbill Roseate Spoonbill Roseate Spoonbill Roseate Spoonbill Roseate Spoonbill Roseate Spoonbill Roseate Spoonbill Roseate Spoonbill
Great Egret - Ardea alba
Great Egret Great Egret Great Egret Great Egret
Snowy Egret - Egretta thula
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis
Cattle Egret Cattle Egret Cattle Egret Cattle Egret Cattle Egret
Glossy Ibis - Plegadis falcinellus
Glossy Ibis
Yellow-crowned Night Heron - Nyctanassa violacea
YC Night Heron YC Night Heron
Great-tailed Grackle - Quiscalus mexicanus
GT Grackle
American Alligator - Alligator mississippiensis
uhh gator dude uhh gator dude
Red-winged Black Bird - Agelaius phoeniceus
rw Blackbird

I wish the sun could have broken through the dreary sky a few times. The light was good for birds, but the snakes weren't moving until I was on my way home 11 hours into the trip. Needless to say, I was too tired to take any Nerodia pics.

rookery

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