January in Florida doesn’t necessarily offer much to make you feel like it’s winter, except for the promise of birds to photograph. One doesn’t have to travel far to partake in their beauty, especially when you wake up early to catch them in that early morning sweet light.If you’re wondering where the birds are hanging out … all that you have to do is follow their path inflight. This roseate spoonbill, of course, revealed their location.To our surprise, we didn’t find just a few, but hundreds of birds foraging in the waters and even all lined up on the boardwalk handrails. Not just spoonbills either … white pelicans, white herons, ibis, tri-colored heron, great blue herons … one big happy family.Of course, the roseate spoonbills hold the most interest for everyone. I mean, how could they not? Flamingos, they are not, though you almost always hear someone mistake them as such. All dressed up in the beginnings of their breeding plumage, with their reflections of varying degrees of pink and white effectively doubling their beauty into the waters below.Perhaps it’s just me, but they seem to me to have such fun personalities. This one seems to actually be smiling. 🙂A walk around the wetlands yields many other sightings, including this European starling, known for its aggressive behavior in bullying other cavity dwelling birds out of their home. Until this day, I never noticed how their markings were so beautiful.It’s always fun to watch the beautiful and skilled green heron hunt for dinner, or in this case, probably lunch. The stillness of the water almost makes it for a “mirror, mirror, on the wall” moment.Also delightful to witness were Mr. & Mrs Hooded Merganser, who went swimming on past us. Off to another location, we find the brightly colored, unmistakeable, male cardinal, with its red crest and feathers contrasting beautifully with that green foliage in the background.Its mate, while not as red or brightly colored, was not far away. I just loved the way that it was hanging out in the palm fronds, keeping an eye on everything going on.Where there are birds and outdoor feeders, of course there are other critters trying to take advantage of an easy meal. This brave squirrel was running up and down not wanting to miss anything. I just hoped that it wouldn’t jump out at me … LOL.Then came a visitor who was a bit more assertive in trying to get a hand out of food. The raccoons have been know to approach humans (yes, a terrible lesson that humans have taught them, much like the squirrels) … I’ve had one in the past tap my bottom as I sat at a picnic table years ago, giving me a big hint of what it wanted. Of course, I didn’t indulge. This particular raccoon put on its cutest face while it begged and pleaded for something tasty. Here it even looks like it was praying for something good. 🙂Before long it found where a secret stash of treat were hidden in the log. BUSTED!One of the most beautifully colored birds with an array of colors like that from an artists palette is the painted bunting – male, that is.Though the female is beautiful in her own right, she lacks the variety of colors. If one didn’t know better, they would never even think that they were related to the male version. Reminds me of the how different the red-winged blackbirds are – males versus females.Alas though the males again look like when they were created, a child was asked to color it. So very beautiful. These birds are winter visitors here in south Florida and will eventually move on with their migratory plans.Much less colorful, though also marked quite nicely, is the thrasher … love those specks on its breast.Of course, there will be lots more wintering birds and those breeding and nesting opportunities and blog posts, so stay tuned.
Up Next: More Polar Bears!!
© 2016 Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography