Today was my third day in a row at the rookery at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. Having taken certain types of shots, I was on the lookout for different sorts of photos. Either the less common ones or ones that I hadn’t been able to do justice to so far. Today was a lovely cloudy and miserable day. Perfect light! I started with a great Tricolored Heron. There’s something about the shaggy look that I find irresistible. I worked a tight shot, but instead of a typical head shot, I focused on the shag and used a more unusual composition.
I spent a little bit of time with some of the chicks. There is usually one thing at the front of every chick’s mind – getting fed. This Great Egret chick has grabbed the bill of its parent. When the chick does this for an extended period of time, it induces the parent to regurgitate the food that it has captured for the chick. Sometimes these tugs can last quite a while before the chick gets what it wants.
It’s amazing how different the displays to attract a mate are between the species. Some spread their plumes wide, others call a lot, but the Tricolored Heron is silent and doesn’t use its body plumes. Instead it puffs up its shaggy neck and leans back and thrusts its bill vertically. This pose here is an intermediary pose when the heron is between displays.
Later in the day, the overcast sky opened up and started to rain lightly. Most people left at this time, but the photography really picked up. This Snowy Egret didn’t mind at all as the rain landed on its head.
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm attracts wild birds to the rookery because of the alligators, but the farm also runs a zoo. In addition to many crocodiles and alligators, they have other reptiles, parrots, monkeys, and other birds. I managed to tear myself away from the rookery to seek out some of the other subjects. The monkeys are hard to photograph with the wires of the cages, but the Hooded Cranes made for great subjects. This bird is found in the African continent in the wild.
Black Swans are always a crowd-pleaser. This bird is from Australia. The overcast light had come back and is my light of choice for bringing out the detail in black birds. From looking at the posted photos from today, you might think my camera was stuck in vertical and tight shots, but I swear I took other kinds of photos too 🙂