White Ibis flying in to roost along Biolab Road at dusk. Few things are as nice as being at Biolab Road at dusk with hundreds of waders going over.
Yes, it’s been nearly two months since the 18th Annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival and, yes, I am still writing blog posts about it. In my defense, while I was there I took thousands of pictures and it would be a real shame to let them molder on my external hard drive unshared. You see, the problem is that when you are in Florida with a camera and have even a modicum of interest in birds it is very difficult to not take pictures of the herons, egrets, bitterns, ibises, and spoonbills. They are everywhere, they are cooperative, and they are charismatic.
But rather than inundate you with hundreds of images I thought I would share just my five favorite shots from the festival. Well, my five favorite shots not counting the ridiculousness that is the Roseate Spoonbill, which already got its own post chock full of images that I am pretty happy about. So sit back, enjoy, and know that all of these images except the one at the top can be clicked for a bigger version.
These are the (relatively) famous Great Blue Herons that nest on the palm stub in Viera Wetlands. I got lucky with this shot as they had both just landed up on their nest and immediately started bill-snapping. I turned my digiscoping rig, focused, and started firing. Fortunately, it was at a good setting to capture the image.
I had more time to set up on this Tricolored Heron at Cape Canaveral National Seashore. It sat and preened and sat and sat and sat. And then, for some reason, it straightened up and opened its long bill. I think it was planning on singing an aria but then it remembered it is a heron.
This Green Heron was similarly patient, just sitting there at Viera Wetlands even while a busload of field trip attendees focused their attention, their binoculars, and their cameras on it. This bird was very close and didn’t get spooked in the slightest. Florida! It’s just not fair.
I am happy and amazed that I got anything worth sharing of this Reddish Egret fight at all. The light was in the wrong place, the birds were very fast on the chase, and I was shooting from the window of my rental car. But, man, does the Wildlife Drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge pay off or what? Every. Single. Time.
Of the five shots what is your favorite and why? Or are they all rubbish?
10,000 Birds is a Scrub Jay-level sponsor of the 18th Annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.