Monday, May 3, 2010

The bird rookery at Gatorland

I have been to Gatorland, the dinosaur of Central Florida attractions, several times as it is a mere thirty minutes from my house. My wife had free tickets so we spent a warm overcast Sunday afternoon playing tourist and it was amazing trip. Despite what my brother would call "flat" light, I was incredibly inspired by the details, colors and textures of this family-owned park and I had a ball taking pictures. I skipped the Gator Jumparoo and Gator Wrestling so I could spend the majority of my time in the rookery observing hundreds, perhaps thousands of wading birds nesting. For a bird lover like myself, I can honestly say it was the thrill of a lifetime. A boardwalk along the lagoon allows for easy access to see amazing avian behavior just feet away from your camera lens. The sounds of the birds are deafening as chicks squawk to be fed, protective parents loudly chase away intruders and others sporting their full breeding plumage just seem to want to be noticed.

A Tricolor Heron arranges her beautiful blue eggs.

These baby egrets were loud and fuzzy, so ugly that they're cute.

Just below, a vigilant eye watches for any chicks that might fall from the nest.

Some thing riled up this great egret, who is letting his displeasure be known quite loudly!

Even the cattle egret, looked spiffy sporting their breeding plumage.

This wet pile of feathers appeared to have very recently just left the safety of their shells.

Apparently it's alligator breeding season too!

After looking at the amazing images on the Gatorland website, I realize that there was a great deal I didn't see on this visit, and I will return, perhaps next season to observe this fantastic show again. To me this trumps any trip to Disney or Universal!

1 comment:

  1. I'd not have missed that Gator Jumparoo! Thanks for these pics, Rick, they are fantastic. I am hard-pressed to say which I like best, but the blue eggs are near the top.

    You've inspired me to make the trek down there!