go deep

To find the good stuff you may have to go the extra distance.

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Boat Tailed Grackle

Spoonbills

Another bird that is showing some breeding plumage is the Roseate Spoonbill.  Here are some photos I took last week of a group (including a stray Ibis) that worked its way past me, wading through the shallow water,  feeding on the schools of small fish, and showing off the bright red wing colors.

The black mottled band around the head is also part of the breeding plumage change.

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Skimmers gotta skim

A few days ago I arrived very early at the Celery Fields and was walking out to the observation deck on Raymond Ave just as the sunlight started to strike the leaves on the other side of the pool that is next to the deck.  A beautiful time of day.  I saw a Black Skimmer in the distance and barely had time to take out the camera before it started down a narrow channel of water leading toward me,  and in a couple of seconds it was in front of me.  I didn’t have time to change camera settings so this is what I was able to get with the settings that were there when I turned the camera on.

It is rare for me to see one of these this far from the beach.  Last summer there was also a  Skimmer that came through the same place every morning,  about the same time.  Maybe it is the same bird.  The site “allaboutbirds.org” from Cornell says:    “Feeds on small fish up to about 5 inches in length, including herring, killifish, mullet, and pipefish. Also may consume small crustaceans. Black Skimmers may travel 5 miles from their breeding colony in search of food.”   Since the Celery Fields area is 9 miles from Lido Key, which is where they seem to be breeding,  this guy appears to be something of an explorer.

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Glossy Ibis

Even though we are going into the hot and humid summer weather,  yesterday was still a good day to be out walking around with the camera.  Many of the birds are going into breeding season and are showing some dramatic color changes.

When I took these photos I was at just the right angle to get the shimmering effect that Glossy Ibis wing feathers can create.   It also shows how deep red they can become this time of year.

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