Sunday, December 30, 2018

Babcock-Webb Day 2

Babcock-Webb WMA is so close to Connie's sister's house that I can't resist spending the morning there. There have been Snail Kites reported at the lake for the past few months so I thought I would try to see them. Spoiler alert: I dipped 2 days in a row. But I did manage to have a great time anyway. Day 2 started with heavy fog. This Red-shouldered Hawk was none-too-happy with it.

Foggy Morning
The park's habitat is a mix of open pine forests and shallow swamps which you can see in the above photo. The shallow marshes support tons of herons and egrets. Maybe I'm becoming a photo snob but I rarely take photos of Great-blue Herons because they are usually in boring poses and and pretty easy to photograph. That said, I took a few on Day 2. This one just because the bird was posing with such an elongated neck.

Great Blue Heron
And this one because the bird bit off more than he could chew. Literally, he spent 10 minutes figuring out how to swallow that huge fish. I didn't stay around to see if he succeeded.

Heron with a mouthful
I also usually don't photograph Great Egrets either. Not because they are boring but because they are very difficult to photograph. The white bird is usually over-exposed. To compensate, you end up making the rest of the photo dark. Today's fog was a perfect opportunity to get a good one. Fog flattens out the light so that the exposure can be good for the bird and the background too.

Great Egret
The Great Egret was crafty too. He was following a juvenile White Ibis along the edge of the water. Presumably waiting for the Ibis to stir up the fish for the Egret to have an easy meal. Juvenile White Ibis are not white. They are mottled so that they blend into the environment more. Here is the one that the Egret was following.
Juvenile White Ibis
The pine forests are great habitat for some species of warblers including well, Pine Warblers. I would come across flocks of a few dozen at a time. A few posed nicely. This guy was low in the grass.

Pine Warbler
This guy was low in a bush. 

Pine Warbler
This juvenile Pine Warbler followed Dad bush by bush, tree by tree. I guess he's not ready to go it alone.
Juvenile Pine Warbler
This Pine Warbler was acting like a Palm Warbler in the palm tree.
Pine Warbler in a palm
It wasn't all about birds at the park. I also saw a few alligators. This was the biggest - probably 7 or 8 feet long. Funny that he hustled into the water when he saw Peanut on the bank. Sissy.
Big Daddy Gator
 I found this water snake sunning himself after the fog cleared.
Water snake

I have one more story to share another day.

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