Friday, April 20, 2012

Metro Parkway

We found a new place right here in Fort Myers that's full of tropical birds. It's at the intersection of Metro Parkway and Six Mile Cypress - beside the Orange Juice place. We first saw it from the road - then I checked and he confirmed this was a place to see!

There was a huge variety of birds: stilts, herons, egrets, spoonbills, kites, ibises, storks and pelicans.

This is an immature Little Blue Heron.

I can't get over how red the bill and feet are on this breeding White Ibis!

I never get tired of seeing Black-necked Stilt. They are so cute - maybe it's the long pink legs.

The pond was clear so I got some nice reflections.

The way this Snowy Egret is all puffed up - I think it must be a juvenile.

The Roseate Spoonbill in the middle is a 1st year juvenile and the ones on either side (with the bright red stripe on the wings) are breeding adults. White Pelicans are swimming and feeding behind them.

White Pelicans - right here in town!

This immature Little Blue Heron had me stumped - because of the crown feathers - but after looking at my pictures, the adults also have these.

White Ibis sporting their best breeding plumage.

Tricolor Heron canopy feeding: they shade the water with their wings to better see the fish.

I was surprised to see so many Wood Storks. The staff at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary reports that the Wood Stork did not nest again this year - a very bad sign for the species.

I know the Great Egrets are common - but I never tire of seeing them.

It's a happy day in the state of Florida when the Swallow-tail Kites return in March. They are so cool to watch - but we are told they are very nasty birds - king of the sky.

These three babies (at least I think they're babies!) have me stumped. They were on one of the islands in the pond - so that probably rules out Cattle Egret as they prefer dry land.

I can't see their bills well enough to see the shape - could they be Roseate Spoonbill chicks? We saw several Roseate Spoonbill adults and 1st year juveniles in the vicinity. There were also lots of Great Egrets around - but their babies shouldn't be pink. Please let me know if you know what they are!


Bob Pelkey said...

Hi Gail, Your first instincts were correct. The species you are questioning is Cattle Egret. Only a very few of them are sporting brilliantly colored lores, however. I'm glad you found this place too. It is an extraordinary venue to view our Southwest Florida wildlife. On my first visit, I was very surprised to observe a Great Egret carrying a branch to its mate on one of the islands. I had thought the species only nested in trees. Return visits are assured.

Bob Pelkey said...

Also, you may readily identify an immature Snowy Egret by yellow on the back of its legs.