A New Bird Generation At Work :-)

Returning to the habitat known as Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach, the birds continually evolve in their spring behavior of courting, mating, nesting, and rearing of their young ones.

Not all babies have been born yet at this time, as this black-neck stilt can attest to … though it shouldn’t be long for they have been at it for some time already.

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Other birds, such as the black-bellied whistling ducks, pass over the wetlands repeatedly, each time making their presence known.  They usually fly in flocks in varying numbers, but no matter the number, the listener can understand quickly how they got their name.  They have the distinctive sound of very loud whistling as they are within the area.  I personally can’t stop laughing when I hear it.

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Of course, they’re just as silly looking when they tidy up a bit with a nice refreshing bath.

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Yes, the birds are seemingly everywhere and it never ceases to amaze how incredibly protective and possessive they get in the spring.

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I think that every time I visited to Wako, I witnessed an attack of a red-shouldered hawk who was either innocently passing through or looking for a quick delicacy.  This one got double-teamed – a stilt and red-winged backbird were both on its tail … literally!

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The babies that were first born grew up so fast too and have their own version of sibling squabbles going on.

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I have to say that these great blue heron parents are quite patient with their attention-needy, beak-grabbing, little ones.  LOL

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The tri-colored herons always remind me of little prehistoric guys with those faces that only a mother can love.  Look how excited they get when she returns!  LOL

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Now we all know how baby birds often get fed, but come on, this looks quite painful!  How they manage to stay upright in the trees as they jerk around, almost violently, being fed.  It’s really amazing to watch.

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Probably the most fascinating to watch as they grew up were the wood storks.  Speaking of prehistoric looking, these birds take the prize in that category.  I personally though find them beautiful … I know, in their own way.  They start off so tiny, but before long, grew up quite fast.

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Are they just not the cutest????

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So goes it at the natural rookery of Wakodahatchee Wetlands.  Like most places in nature, you just never know what you’re going to get when you go there, but it’s always something interesting and often, heart-warming.

Next up on the blog:  Speaking of the unexpected … check out who spent some time for a visit!

© 2015  Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography

Spring Is In The Air ~~~

Spring means many different things to many different people, but to the birds it’s often a time to start putting on the beautiful colors, woo their mate, have a “little fun” along the way, build their nest, attend to their eggs, and ultimately raise their young.

This spring, I spent some time photographing the birds of Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach, FL.  In the beginning, it was all about the variety of birds, all beginning to sport their breeding colors and plumage … in that attempt of mating a suitable mate … or getting them “in the mood”.  🙂
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One of the birds that seems to undergo quite a dramatic change in colors and feathers is the cattle egret.  In non-breeding colors, it’s often an overlooked bird … usually just hanging out around livestock or wherever.  Enter spring, and it becomes quite the impressive suitor.

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Of course, the great white egrets are also quite showy … from their distinctive facial color changes to that amazing plumage … wispy feathers and all.

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Not only that, but it sure can “dance”!  You know, those moves that simply scream “look at me!”  So persistent too.

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Part of attracting their mate involves the building of a solid nest for them to raise their young and that nest building seems to go on and on … much to the fascination and delight of those there to photograph it.

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Theirs is a true love story … such bonding, caring, sharing, and celebration.  Aren’t they just the cutest couple?  LOL

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Of course, there’s more to it than just building a nest and doing the deed.  Now that hard part comes when they work together tending to each other, the nest, and the eggs.

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Attention to every little detail is always noted too.  Look at those amazingly beautiful plumes.  I’m quite fascinated by them.

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Then there were the least terns, the smallest of the North American terns in size, but not in their courtship ritual this time of year.  The offering of the fish is a necessary step in the process, because only when the female finally accepts it, will she be indicating that the courtship may proceed to the next level.  Terns fly around at lightning speed and their aerial dives are legendary.

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In some areas they nest on the sandy beaches, but at Wako, most of their courtship takes place on a hot tin roof!

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Enter the snowy egret (glub glub, walla walla) … you can literally hear him long before you can even see him.  These guys have such fluffy plumage which seems to get even crazier when they get excited.  They also do quite the impressive dance of love.

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They also never sit still for any length of time, darting from tree to tree, almost seemingly looking to stir up trouble or controversy at best.  LOL

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It’s not all peace, love, and happiness either.  Some species get a bit territorial during the spring season and little fights break out, as illustrated by these moorhens.

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Yes, it was totally fun watching nature unfold, thus ensuring the next generation of these wonderful birds of Wakodahatchee.

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More to come in the next blog, as the new arrivals begin to pop up everywhere.

© 2015  Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography

2012 Review: PART 7 – Back in the FLA

The remainder of 2012 was spent with family, friends, and of course, with nature – the ever-present beauty that surrounds us.

Parent killdeer with its newborn chick
Parent killdeer with its newborn chick
Crested caracara surveys its surroundings during a rain shower - Kenansville, FL
Crested caracara surveys its surroundings during a rain shower – Kenansville, FL
Wild horses of Paynes Prairie State Park, Gainesville, FL
Wild horses of Paynes Prairie State Park, Gainesville, FL
Fox squirrel at Joe Overstreet Landing
Fox squirrel at Joe Overstreet Landing
The sandhill crane pair that sings together .... stays together
The sandhill crane pair that sings together …. stays together
Juvenile bald eagle at Lake Marion, Kenansville, FL
Juvenile bald eagle at Lake Marion, Kenansville, FL
Lake Newnan, Alachua County, FL
Lake Newnan, Alachua County, FL
Great Blue Heron, Wakodahatchee Wetlands
Great Blue Heron, Wakodahatchee Wetlands
West Palm Beach night scene, FL
West Palm Beach night scene, FL
Barred owl pair perched in tree, Dinner Island Ranch WMA, FL
Barred owl pair perched in tree, Dinner Island Ranch WMA, FL
Northern harrier soaring, Green Cay Wetlands, FL
Northern harrier soaring, Green Cay Wetlands, FL

I want to be sure to thank those of you who shared our year’s experiences with us, somewhere along the way…. you know who you are.  It’s always good to see old friends, and of course, make new ones along the way.  Oh, and a special shout out to all who helped out immensely in Georgia – again, you know who you are!  Your friendship means the world to us!  One last person to thank for my 2012 – that’s a great BIG THANK YOU to my best friend, husband, adventure traveler, and sherpa – Tom.  Not sure what I would do without you.

Sherpa Tom
Sherpa Tom

So what’s on the burner for 2013?  Who knows really … but a sneak peek does involve another return trip to AK, visit with the kids in NY or wherever they land, and wherever else makes sense or my hearts tells me to go.  Life is an adventure that one must live to appreciate.  My favorite saying, which guides me in my life and provides me with much inspiration is:  “Life in not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”.  Here’s to 2013 – BRING IT ON!

Hope that you’ve enjoyed a look back at my personal 2012.  I really welcome any and all comments and advice on this blog.  Here’s hoping I can keep this 2013 Resolution – a post a month or so (I give myself permission to “go with the flow”).  I wish you all a year full of life’s wonderful moments, great health, life-altering opportunities, and of course, adventure!  Life is only as good as the effort you put forth into it.

Take off from Beluga Lake, Homer, AK
Take off from Beluga Lake, Homer, AK
Thanks for hanging in as I looked back at 2012.  Now on to 2013!