20150302-amazon botanical garden 047Ailsa picked this week’s word, “graceful,” because she says she lacks physical grace. I can relate. The most graceful thing I have ever done is fall off a horse – gracefully tumbling over his neck, landing face first in a pile of composted poop. Like Ailsa, I am drawn to grace in other creatures, maybe hoping I can learn the moves.

This is a Great Egret that I photographed in The Big Cypress National Park in the Everglades. It was fishing, and demonstrated that it isn’t quite as graceful trying to down a fish that is a bit too big.

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Great Egret

Here are some more photographs from my trip to the Venice Rookery. It is nesting time and there was a lot of activity on the island. I think I need a more powerful telephoto lens so that I can get closer. I also learned a lot about how to get sharper images so I could have cropped these – but my learning was at the expense of this batch.

Anyway, what I didn’t notice until I downloaded these photos, are the two infants in the nest on the right. It appears that the Egret on the left is looking for some action and the one on the bottom appears to be sitting on a nest.

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All seemed to be in a family frame of mind. Both males and females have mating┬áplumage from January until early summer so I was able to see families at different stages of breeding. There were two birds sitting on branches on the other side of the pond and I was told by another visitor that they were juvenile Great Blue Herons. When I checked my Smithsonian Birds of Florida book, they didn’t match the description. I think they are juvenile Great Egrets – notice the lime green legs. Can anyone confirm this for me?

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This one seems to be still looking for a mate.

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There were birds that were flying down to the edge of the pond not far from where I was standing to search for just the right twigs for a nest, then would fly off to do the work. Both males & females build the nest and they look similar.

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They are very impressive when they spread their wings and fly. They are 37-41 inches long with a wing span of 55 inches.

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I am having great fun getting to know the birds of Florida and have a new appreciation for how much I learned about Michigan birds as I was growing up. Photography is speeding up the learning curve. It was also fun to run over to Barnes & Noble to pick out a couple of reference books – one on birds and one on shells.