Yeah, I know, not an original saying, but it is perfect for these eagle photos that I took this morning! It’s exciting seeing them work together on their nest. First they had a little squabble about exactly how to do it.
Not like that! Here, let me show you!
See . . . you go from this end and get it across the nest.
Ok. Now, grab your end!
Let it down gently . . . easy, easy!
Almost there! Just go straight down with it! We did it! Perfect!
There were several Roseate Spoonbills and other birds on our drive through Ding yesterday. It won't be long before the winter birds will return, the feathered ones and the human type!
An Osprey flew in, took a quick bath, and then took off again.
We watched this Reddish Egret do his dance for quite a while. They are so funny when they are fishing for food!
The next three pics of Reddish Egrets are all different birds. You can see the transmitter on the back of the Reddish Egret in the second photo.
We almost always see a couple of Yellow-Crowned Night Herons on the drive.
And then back home to find this pretty Great White Egret in our backyard.
I caught the pair of the eagles in the nest this morning as the sun was coming up. I never get tired of seeing them, but you might get tired of all my photos of them before the season is over!
Facing the sun as it rises! Could they look any more majestic?!
I was so excited to see that the eagles are back on island and checking on the nest they built last season. We hope they stay healthy and are able to produce one or more viable eggs this year. I wasn't able to get a photo of both eagles in the nest today, but I've seen both sitting in the nest in recent days. They seem to be guarding it to protect their territory. I hope to get many photos of them to share! This nest is at such a long distance away, that I used it as an excuse to get a longer lens! Yeah, it's kind of a weak excuse, but hey, I take 'em where I can!
Last Saturday morning, I took a couple of pics of the Tri-Colored Heron chick. It was branching out on a limb near the nest, as they do when they get a little older. I had not posted the pics yet and went back this morning to get some more. The person who works at the Ding entrance gate said that mid-week, the baby chick was gone. It wasn't old enough to fly yet, so whatever happened is not good. We walked down to the nest anyway, but the chick was indeed gone. He told us that Ding volunteers said the parent bird was there mid-week and very upset.
It was great to see all the other wildlife today, especially since the city just announced that 403 "tons" of dead sea life from red tide has now been collected on Sanibel beaches. To see fish jumping in the water at Ding and the birds being active was very heartwarming. That certainly wasn't the case two weeks ago.
Here are the pics of the Tri-Colored Heron chick from last weekend.
It was quite overcast and cloudy for our drive through Ding. I didn't expect to see much wildlife, only to be very surprised at all the birds, a gator, and even manatees!
I had fun watching several Snowy Egrets bullying all the other birds. They make a honking sound and fluff out their feathers as they chase any other bird away. (And yes, I took far too many pics of them!)
Notice the transmitter sticking up from the back of the Reddish Egret below.
He strutted right over to another Reddish Egret and they did a little Do-Si-Do dance.
If you click on the photo below and enlarge it, you'll see a transmitter on the other Reddish Egret, also.
Got a little wave from a Manatee. There was a lady that had been watching the manatees closely and said she thought there were at least 8 in the water. Some of the manatees were adults and some young ones.
The most I got to see of them were their noses sticking out of the water. It started to rain, so I needed to get my camera out of the rain. I would have loved to stay and hopefully see more of these large creatures that have made it through the red tide so far. Many manatees have not survived it. The average adult manatee is about 10 ft. long and weighs between 800 and 1200 pounds.
As we left Ding, we saw this large gator, but only his head.
A few days ago, this hawk chased all the doves from the telephone wires as I walked by. They all managed to get away that day. I think it is a Red-Shouldered Hawk since they are more common than the Cooper's Hawk around here. But the two look very much the same to me!
First, some good news! Our beaches are so much better, for the time being, at least! The smell is pretty much gone and there are few, if any, dead fish. The red tide still affected our breathing during our walk today, but not too bad. The city has collected over 267 "tons" of dead sea life from Sanibel beaches since July 30th. Yes, you read that correctly. It is so sad and upsetting. Hopefully, we are on the downside of this horrible red tide.
The only birds we saw at the beach were these three pelicans.
Next good news . . . the Tri-Colored Heron baby chick is still doing well and growing! He was hiding his face when we got there, but just before we left, he turned so that I could get one shot of his face. And he is still styling the mohawk!
Walking back down the Indigo Trail to our car, I was focusing on taking a pic of this little marsh hare and walked right beside a snake. "After" I walked by, my husband pointed it out!
A bunch of these little fiddler crabs skirted away as we walked near. They are about the size of my thumb. This one stood his ground in an aggressive stance. You could almost hear him saying, "Come a little closer with that camera, lady! See this big claw?!!" I guess he won, because we were the ones to get out of his way!
Next, we took a drive through Ding. All the dead fish that were caught under the trees at the water's edge had been cleaned out. No dead fish were floating in the water. The birds actually seemed alert and active today.
This beautiful Little Green Heron flew into a tree right beside me.
This little juvenile Yellow Crowned Night Heron posed so patiently for me.
Now for the sad news. My neighbor called me yesterday afternoon to say that the new Anhinga chick could be seen in the nest. I went out and took a few pics. I was looking forward to having a front row seat to watch it grow. A few hours later, the male and the female were nowhere to be seen and the nest was empty. We can only surmise that the chick fell from the nest into the water.
We took a somber drive through Ding this morning. There is such a pall hanging over the island these days. The red tide is so very bad right now and it is affecting every part of the island. There are thousands of fish, more than 100 big sea turtles, and other sea life washing up dead on the beach. There have been many Goliath Grouper over 200 lbs. and tarpon over 100 lbs. that have been removed and buried. Crews are working to remove as many of the dead sea life and animals as they can. Even in Ding, there were dead fishing floating in the water and stacked up against the water's edge. It is irritating to our eyes and breathing and the smell is pretty bad. It's the worst we've seen since we started coming to Sanibel for vacations years ago.
The Tri-Colored Heron nest just had one chick today. The volunteer at the Ding entrance told us that all 3 eggs hatched, but only one has made it to this point. It was odd that we didn't see or hear either of the parents of this chick anywhere. Maybe it was watching us from somewhere nearby, but we didn't see it. I hope they are ok and haven't ingested toxic fish or are bringing them back to the nest.
This little guy has grown so much in the last couple of weeks! He is still rocking his mohawk, though!
The water was exceptionally still at Ding today. It allowed me to get several reflective photos. Reddish Egrets are always a hoot to watch. Their antics make for great pics.
Success and he still has ruffled feathers!
He seemed to understand that he was outsized by the Great Blue Heron and left him alone.
Oh, yeah, I'm big and bad!!
And back home, the male Anhinga was sitting on the nest. I do not know if there are any babies yet.
While I was taking the photos of the Anhinga nest behind our house, this big Florida Softshell turtle kept poking his nose above water and checking out what I was up to.
We checked on the Tri-Colored Heron nest on Indigo Trail this morning. When we arrived, the Mom (or Dad) stood up and poked around in the nest. The baby was putting up a real fuss like it was starving. Then, the parent regurgitated a bunch small fish for the baby chick. So, we were able to watch it feed. I took a lot of photos and it was only in a couple near the end, you can see another chick. You can see one egg still in the nest, too. I hope the second chick is ok, since it must have moved around to get into only a couple of the pics. Hopefully, it had already eaten and just wasn't hungry?
Mommmmmmmmmy, I have a fish in my eye!! Get it out!!!
Look under the chick and you'll see the face of another. I really hope it is ok. Time will tell, I suppose.
We checked on the Tri-Colored Heron's nest that had 3 blue eggs last week. It appeared one of the eggs had just hatched and the other two had pips in them. You can see the pips in the photo below. We may try to go back tomorrow and check on them. I hope to see 3 pretty little chicks when we do! Look at this little face!
This is one of the proud parents fishing nearby.
Nearby, in the LIttle Green Heron nest, the chick is almost a fledgling! He was flapping his wings, jumping from branch to branch, and even went down near the water and leaned over to peer into the water to watch for fish, just like his parents had taught him to do. He still has a bit of fuzz on his head and body, but he also has the pretty wings.
The watchful and proud parent Little Green Heron
As we walked down the Indigo Trail to the nests, we could see the tracks of a large gator that led a long way down the trail. He was dragging his tail as you can see in the photo below. His foot prints were a good 3 feet apart, at least. We stopped and talked to the volunteer at the pay booth for the refuge. He said the gator walks down that trail every couple of days or so and that he is about 10 ft. long, and old and irritable. Everyone stays out of his way! Uh, yep, we will, too!
Yep! Got it!
The tide was high in Ding when we drove through. We only saw 2 birds to photograph which were a couple of Yellow-Crowned Night Herons. But, they posed very nicely for me!
We did see this Tri-Colored Heron fly overhead, though.
Back at home, I've gotten a photo of the female and also the male Anhinga sitting on the new little nest. I have a much better view of this Anhinga nest. I haven't seen how many eggs are in the nest yet, though. The female has the light colored throat.
I believe this is a fledgling Cardinal. He's a bit ragged looking and wasn't as scared of me as the adult Cardinals usually are.
We were recently told by the person delivering some plants from the landscape nursery that the plant we have thought was a night-blooming cactus is actually a Dragon Fruit plant! Who knew?!! Pollination is difficult for them, since they need a certain bat or a large moth to pollinate them! We didn't have as many blooms this year, but we had probably 20 blooms on this plant last summer. It would be great if we had some Dragon Fruit we could just pick from our plant and eat. I saw the fruit for $5 each in the grocery store a couple of weeks ago!
This bee was doing his best for us! Look at all the yellow pollen he's lugging along!
This spider built a huge web in our pool cage. They are the strangest spiders. It's called a Spinybacked Orb Weaver (aka crab spider). It reminds me of a clown face with a spiky wig, which is probably just as scary as a spider!
We checked up on the nesting birds on the Indigo Trail and then drove through the refuge today. The baby Little Green Heron has grown and has started to get a few more feathers and a little less fuzz.
The adult Little Green Heron was sitting on a branch near the nest. The colors on this beautiful bird are amazing!
We were fortunate to be near the Tri-Colored Heron's nest just in time for the changing of the guard!
As they moved apart, you can see the 3 eggs are still there (bottom left of the pic).
All settled in . . .
How would you caption the photo below? This Spoonbill behavior always makes me smile.
I'm not sure if I like the pink feathers better against a blue sky or against the green trees. I'm glad I don't have to choose!
We found this pretty Little Blue Heron fishing at the edge of the water and being successful.
This beautiful Great White Egret posed for us as we left the refuge. Another beautiful (and hot) day on Sanibel Island!
We took a walk down the Indigo Trail at Ding this morning and met a lovely lady, Beth, who pointed out several nests that we might have otherwise missed. I'm so glad she shared the nest locations with us!
This Little Green Heron baby chick was fuzzy and adorable. Due to the age of the chick, It's possible that the remaining egg may not be viable.
One of the parents was on a limb nearby.
The parent bird went into the nest and seemed to herd the baby away from the edge. The chick appears to be wondering if food might be coming soon!
Hey, wait, come back!!!
This female Anhinga seemed to be fairly young. She was a bit klutzy and adorable.
We watched another Little Green Heron near the nest that could have been one of the baby's parents. It is amazing how they can be perfectly still for long periods of time, just waiting for lunch to swim by.
It was fun watching the Little Green Heron hang vertically to catch fish! So agile!
This juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night Heron was sitting in a nest nearby.
A pretty Tri-Colored Heron was sitting on another nest. In the second photo below, after waiting quite a while, we finally got a glimpse of 3 pretty blue eggs when it stood up to move around.
I've never noticed the light colored feathers on the back of the Tri-Colored Heron.
The Roseate Spoonbill on the left is young. Notice the head is not bald, the eye is not pink, the legs are light pink instead of dark, and the wings are not as dark.
They were strutting their stuff!
My neighbor down the street let me know that this iguana was in her back yard. He was around 4 ft. long.
It wasn't until I zoomed in that I realized he was shedding his skin. I don't find them pretty as it is, but with that skin just hanging . . .
It seems it is the season!
These signs are on the second floor outside of the visitor center at Ding. They mark the level of high water from years gone by. It's strange to stand on the ground underneath the sign, look up, and imagine that water would have been 12 ft. above ground level here during a flood from a hurricane in 1873. Ground level at our home on the island is about 4 ft. above sea level.
Even more Roseate Spoonbills at Ding today, along with Yellow-Crowned Night Herons, a Great Blue Heron, and a snake. There were at least 22 Spoonbills in this spot for a while.