Let the Games Begin

After leaving Myakka River State Park, I drove a short distance to my next destination, Venice, FL, where I would spend a couple of days at the great bird rookery there.

The Venice Rookery is another favorite place to visit when I go to Florida. It consists of an island-like bunch of mangroves, with some pretty, but non-native Brazilian pepper plants (the red berries you will see in lots of the upcoming images), surrounded completely by water. Among these nesting sites, there are many birds that nest here: great blue herons, great egrets, black-crowned night herons, anhingas, double-crested cormorants, and more. And if you arrive early, or stay late, lots of white ibis roost here overnight. Protecting the birds from predators, are a couple of resident alligators that continuously patrol around the rookery. So, there’s always something going on here!

In this first of many posts from the rookery, I am featuring some of the display activities (“sky pointing”) that the great egrets were involved in, as part of the ritual of attracting a mate:

Great Egret "sky pointing"

Great Egret "sky pointing"

Great Egret "sky pointing"

Great Egret "sky pointing"

And at least one pair had “said their vows” and began to mate:

Great Egrets mating

Great Egrets mating

Note all the beautiful, long plumes that develop down the egrets’ backs, when the breeding plumage appears. In our early history, these plumes almost caused the demise of this great bird … seems that all the ladies wanted hats made with these long plumes. Also, note the green coloration around the base of the bill and the eye … another breading plumage attribute.

Lots more bird images from the Venice Rookery coming up!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 500mm, f/4 IS lens (+ 1.4x TC with some images)
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with Wimberly gimbal head
  • ISO 200 to ISO 400
  • Aperture f/4 to f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/1600 sec. to 1/8000 sec.

 

 

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Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography
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