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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Reddish Egret

I'm not a birder. Just about everything I know about bird identification I've learned from my fellow bloggers. When I saw this bird while in Florida last month, I had no idea what it was. A little internet research soon revealed that my mystery bird was a Reddish Egret. 

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The Reddish Egret is described as a medium to large heron with reddish or rusty coloring on the head and neck; slate-gray body; long, blue legs; and pink bill with black tip. I read that there is also an all-white version of this bird, but even that morph retains the traditional coloration of legs and bill.

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It is said that the Reddish Egret, an inhabitant of the saltwater marshes and lagoons skirting the Gulf of Mexico, is the rarest and least well-known of the North American herons.

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The Texas Parks and Wildlife website states that there are only 1,500 to 2,000 nesting pairs of Reddish Egrets in the United States; and most of these are in Texas.

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This egret is noted for its spirited foraging techniques.

I recently came across some photos of a Reddish Egret posted by fellow blogger, Tabor. I thought her images were spectacular, especially as they show this bird demonstrating some attitude. Click here to see a Reddish Egret with a killer hairdo.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Osprey

This post features photos of several Osprey that we saw while in Florida in January.
 
There is just something so fiercely majestic about birds of prey that it's impossible for me not to admire them. It's a little hard for me to think about their dining habits sometimes; but the fish that make up 99% of the Osprey's diet don't play on my sympathies quite as much as the warm-blooded animals and birds that fall prey to other raptors.
 
Osprey are similar in size and appearance to eagles. They're also known as sea hawks, fish eagles, or fish hawks, and are found on all continents except Antarctica, although in South America the Osprey occurs only as a non-breeding migrant.
 
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They hunt by soaring above the water. When they see a likely dinner prospect beneath the surface of the water, they hover briefly, then dive swiftly, feet first, to catch their hapless victim in their talons.

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Success!


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Immature Little Blue Heron

When we saw this white bird with the green legs in Florida last month, we had no idea what it was. My blogging friend, Gail, from Louisiana Belle, helped me to identify it as an immature Little Blue Heron. It seems that this species of heron is the only one in which first-year birds show dramatically different coloration from adults. First-year birds are pure white, while adults are blue.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Little Blue Heron

There seemed to be a fairly large population of Little Blue Herons at Fred Howard Beach in Florida last month. Regretfully, none of my photos do them justice; but I wanted to share them here anyway. At the end of the post is a very short video that Doug shot with our camcorder.

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This photo shows the blue color better than the others. The neck is sort of purplish.

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This image was taken from the camcorder video.



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Gulls

Of course, the birds seen most often at the seashore are gulls; and that was true during our beach times in Florida in January. They are all little beggars, staking out a space near any humans that look like they might have food. Since my hubby and I never go anywhere without food, well, we had lots of opportunities to photograph gulls.
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This one, tired of waiting for a handout, decided to take a nap.

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He does have two legs but seems to prefer using them one at a time.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Great Egret

The first Great Egret that we saw in Florida last month seemed to be shopping for some property of his own.

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The rest of these images are all of one egret. He had taken up a station near a fisherman on the beach where Doug and I had staked out a space to spend an afternoon of reading and, of course, taking photographs.

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Patience paid off as the fisherman tossed our egret what appears to be a piece of a bait fish.

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Great Blue Heron

Today's post features some photographs of Great Blue Herons seen during our Florida vacation last month.

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Strutting past a group of Black Skimmers

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Immature

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Adult

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In silhouette


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hoarfrost

I haven't really posted any photos from this harsh winter, other than my header photo, partly because the snow has been deeper than my boots are tall and partly because it's just been so cold that I haven't wanted to go out.
 
But Wednesday morning's hoarfrost drew me outside, in spite of our record-setting temperature of 15 below zero Fahrenheit (-26 C). A fog moved in and immediately froze on the trees, which, when the sun came out, created a sight just too compelling to ignore.

I hope you agree.  

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I'll be back with more Florida birds next time.
 
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