Local Places, Familiar Faces

“Who let the sunshine in?”

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

“Okay, okay, I’m awake!  Just a little yawn.”

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

“Maybe a big yawn.  Ahh, that feels better!”

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

“Let’s get this day started!”

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

How we start the morning  can sometimes influence our actions, emotions and attitudes for the remainder of that day.  After walking along the shore of the local lake, hearing the tapping of a sapsucker on an oak branch, seeing gulls and terns soaring in an impossibly blue sky, listening to the peeps and chips of warblers in trees, watching the above Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) waking up — the rest of the day was simply wonderful.

Please enjoy some pictures of a few old friends we saw yesterday morning.

The local lake is fairly typical of an urban park here in central Florida.  The shore is lined with cypress and oak trees, various grasses including the cat-tail grow profusely, water hyacinths offer great cover for fish and there are creeks and canals which assist in water flow during heavy rains.

Lake View

Lake View

A female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) diligently pried up pieces of bark on an oak tree limb looking for breakfast bugs.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

This Common Gallinule (Gallinula chloropus) enjoys a morning salad within the dark recesses of a boggy area.

Common Gallinule

Common Gallinule

It’s hard NOT to notice a Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinica), especially when this “water” bird perches in a tree!

Purple Gallinule

Purple Gallinule

Just in case you miss the bright reddish-orange wing patches and outspread tail, this Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) belts out a morning song from atop a cypress tree to ensure you notice him.

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

Warblers are abundant just about everywhere as they fuel up for their journey northward.  This Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata) posed briefly then continued to vacuum up insects from the underside of leaves.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

A Great Egret (Ardea alba) heads for the top of a tall Bald Cypress tree to catch the early morning rays of the sun.  This bird is in breeding plumage as noted by the green lores and long plumes trailing behind.

Great Egret

Great Egret

I watched this Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) work the shoreline by walking a step, stopping and scratching the mud with one foot and snapping up anything which tried to escape.  This snowy is also in breeding plumage.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

A pair of White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) looked me over carefully just before landing right behind me.

White Ibis

White Ibis

An immature Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) cruises the shallows looking for any fish reckless enough to linger near the surface.

Ring-billed Gull (Immature)

Ring-billed Gull (Immature)

At the boat ramp, several gulls and terns decorated the dock and nearby posts enjoying the warming sun.  A Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri) stretches and preens at the end of the dock.

Forster's Tern

Forster’s Tern

I would like to think the Royal Tern (Sterna maxima) was pointing his beak to the heavens in thankfulness for another day.  In reality, I’m pretty sure he was checking for raptors overhead.  He looked in all directions quite often as gulls, Osprey and a young Bald Eagle continually overflew the area and cast shadows over the dock.  That’s enough to make any tern perched out in the open nervous!  (Note this bird has been banded.)

Royal Tern

Royal Tern

We hope our friends have helped start your day on a positive note!

Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!

Linking to Stewart’s “Wild Bird Wednesday”.  See more birds from around the world at Paying ReadyAttention for

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 50 Comments

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50 thoughts on “Local Places, Familiar Faces

  1. So many great shots, Wally! This is definitely the way I like to start a day! The Purple Gallinule capture is stunning!

    • Again, thank you for the nice remarks! We’re blessed with a neat park so close by. Now, if we can get a few of the visitors to pick up after themselves……….but that’s another story!

  2. For a few minutes; as the cold wind howls outside my windows with a dark foreboding sky and prediction of more snow, I was able to immerse myself in your Florida images and it felt marvelous wally. Truly.

    • What a very nice comment, Mia. You have made me feel better today. (If you liked that one, stay tuned for spring in the marsh. There was an abundance of pink yesterday!)

  3. Oh WOW! What wonderful photos! I especially enjoyed the series of shots of the Heron and that is a great photo of the red-winged blackbird 🙂

  4. a birders paradise!

  5. I have been looking in at your site for a while now and really enjoy your photos, also I learn a lot from them, and your storylines make interesting reading.
    All the very best for now, Gordon.

    • Gordon, welcome! We hope to see you again! I peeked at your very nice blog and immediately became jealous of your Waxwings! I chased them all winter and never got one image! Thank you for your very nice comments.

  6. Love all your photos, especially the Purple Gallinule. I keep looking for them here.

    • Thank your for the kind remarks! East and southeast Texas should have a fair number of Purple Gallinules. Try to find marshes, swamps, lakes, especially ones which are overgrown. These guys stand out in a crowd with those colors, but can be surprisingly hard to see in amongst tall reeds or cat-tails. We really appreciate your visit!

  7. What great shots. I’ve seen a lot of heron yawns, but never the tongue portrayed so vividly and artistically.

    • Ingrid, thank you for visiting and for the nice comments! I think he chose the wrong branch to snooze on after his nightly hunt, not realizing the rising sun would be right in his face!

  8. Hello Wally!
    I enjoyed all of your fantastic photos!
    You have also so many wonderful birds to take pictures of in your part of the world! And you do it so very good!
    We are now so tired of Winter and snow, we wish for Spring and sunshine.
    Thanks for your comment and have a nice weekend!
    /Pia

  9. MIght be a repeat, if my first comment didn’t disappear into cyberspace. Loved this..the whole post just made me smile and smile. The night heron series alone is the best pictures of that bird I’ve ever seen. And all your birds were wonderful. I was really struck by the huge feet on the purple gallinule (sp?)…I’ve seen that bird before but never noticed the feet….This was a wonderful start for your day and a wonderful break in mine….thank you for the fabulous virtual birding.

  10. Oh my gosh that was a wonderful start to your day — and a fabulous break in mine. wonderful pictures….the night heron series alone is one of the best series I’ve ever seen.

    I’ve seen purple gallinules (sp?) before, but never noticed how enormous their feet are! I was really struck by that somehow.

    Wonderful virtual birding..this whole post made me smile…….thank you for sharing.

    • Sallie, thank you so very much for your really nice remarks! The gallinule has those large feet he can spread wide to walk on the tops of lily pads and the long toes with sharp claws to grasp around reeds and tree limbs. Even though he’s a water bird, he seems to hate getting his feet wet!

  11. So many great shots I don’t even know where to begin! Loved seeing the tongue on that heron. And the GBH at the top of the tree was awesome. I’ve never seen one up that high. I’ve heard we have gallinule here, but have not seen one yet. Caught a yellow-rumped warbler the other day eating a crane fly. Awesome series of birds you managed to capture.

  12. I hope as birders we have a head start on Mr Average by always being optimistic about the day ahead and the birds we are about to see, hear and enjoy Wally. i enjoyed the humour in your post today, the heron on top of the world and the tern being watchful and I swear I can hear that Red-winged loud and clear.

    • Thanks so much, Phil! Hey, if we can’t be optimistic and inject a little humour into our days – what’s the point? Enjoy your weekend.

      -Regards, Wally

  13. Such beautiful guys…. Love the yawning night heron! I just ran across a sleepy guy (it was early dusk), but nothing like this. 🙂

    • I got lucky and found him in a nice spot of early morning sun. There was another one nearby but further back in the bog in a nice dark spot, where I would normally expect to see them.

  14. Dear Wallace, thank you for sharing these beautiful and precious photos, I enjoyed very much this post. I had previously visited Stewart’s blog and saw his Tasmanian Native Hen pictures but could not categorize the Gallinula birds in my mind. When I saw your Common Gallinule and Purple Gallinule photos, I noticed the similarity between these birds and the Coots and found out that they belong to the same family (Rallidae). So thank you for this informative post. The Great Egret in fly is an excellent shot 🙂

    • We appreciate your nice comments! Yes, the gallinules are usually seen with the coots. This Purple Gallinule doesn’t swim very much and prefers to walk on top of the weeds or lily pads. We hope you visit again!

  15. Wally, this is one incredible post. I love all your bird images. I also see a lot of night herons here in one particular area of town by the bay, and your very first picture is about what I see…ALL the time. I’ve never been lucky enough to get them in any kind of ‘action’ shots. Enjoyed the commentary along with your photos.

    • Thank you so much for visiting and making such kind remarks! Yep, the night herons are usually hiding by the time I make it outside! I was happily surprised to find this guy basking in the morning sun.

  16. I see what you mean about the Purple G being hard to miss!

    I think this must be the first time we have posted birds from the same genus in the same week!

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW.

    Stewart M – Melbourne

    • Yes, nothing subtle about his coloration! Great minds obviously think alike! I even tried to include a woodpecker and gull for you!

      Have a great weekend, Stewart!

  17. Fabulous photos. Of course the heron is WAY up on top of the tree for the best view. Admire the Royal Tern’s pose and wish my neck was more flexible. The Snowy Egret is one beautiful bird, great plumage. And those spunky little yellow-rumped warblers are a favorite. Enjoyed seeing all these pretty birds.

  18. there are some fine fine shots in here, I enjoyed the lake view as most of all our shots are trying to get as close to a bird as possible. The egret stopped dancing in midair flight is so pretty. Each picture is so unusual, the tern with the head right back…these are some of my favorite shots warm Wally.

    • Nora, thank you very much for dropping by! I’m trying to concentrate on taking more pictures of the habitat and environment. I really appreciate your very nice comments.

  19. That gorgeous Great Egret looks like it was dancing through the sky, singing “Don’t Blame Me Because I’m Beautiful” (I think that was actually a shampoo ad). It’s been so long since I’ve seen cattails. I read in a wild foods book that you can make bread from their insides. Maybe Gini could give it a try and let us know how it turns out! As always, thanks for an awesome nature walk.

    • Hello, Baby Sister!

      I think we may have read the same book about that bread. Once I finished reading how many cat-tails it would take to make a loaf of bread, I decided grocery stores weren’t all that bad! 🙂

  20. I always enjoy coming here because your subjects are all so well-captured.
    Today I’m speechless at your shots of the night heron! The yawn especially – AWESOME!

    • I was surprised to be able to get so close to the heron. Although he appeared asleep, he had his eye on me the whole time his head was buried in his chest! Thank you so much for your visits and your kind words.

  21. Awesome serie of photos!

  22. Love that you caught the personality of the night heron. That purple gallinule is a beauty!

  23. Some fantastic captures here!

  24. jimbey

    …. Bravo, Wally! Bravissimo! But why would a BC Night Heron be waking up in the morning? 🙂

  25. TexWisGirl

    loved all of your shots! the black-crown is too cute! terns are such characters, too – or appear to be.

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