At The End Of The Day

Most of us have similar daily routines.  Get up, eat, work, eat, work some more, go home, eat again, sleep – repeat the next day.  Most creatures are just like us, except their work usually involves mostly eating (or hunting) and they may have a bit more pressure to survive their exposure to the elements and constant stalking by predators.

We’ve been trying to locate the roosting spot for several thousand of our closest friends, Tree Swallows.  They’re fueling up for migration back to their northern homes and we’ve been seeing large volumes of them at the local lake at sunset.  We haven’t seen the classic clouds or “tornado” of birds forming but it’s been fun to stand on a boat dock jutting out into the lake and watch them feed as the sun goes down.  At times, I’ve had birds flying within arm’s reach on either side.  The swallows probably number in the tens of thousands.

Here are a few pictures of a recent evening along the lake shore.

A Royal Tern makes his last passes of the day over the lake’s surface hoping to find a meal before heading to his roost.

Royal Tern

Royal Tern

Cattle Egrets fly low near the shore as the final rays of the sun bathe the tops of cattails in golden light.

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Cypress trees make good cover for large groups of White Ibis for the night.  This flock has a fair number of young birds, distinguished by their gray, brown and white mottled appearance.

White Ibis

White Ibis

The shoreline is busy with Yellow-rumped Warblers doing their flycatcher imitation by darting out from perches to snag insects in the air.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Tree Swallows begin to appear over the lake’s surface about an hour before sunset and feed on their way to the roost.

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

As the sun disappears behind evening clouds, the swallows are still appearing in waves and darkness forces us to retreat as another day comes to a close.

Sunset Swallows

Sunset Swallows

We still haven’t located a central roosting spot and the swallows may actually be scattering out over a wide area of shoreline to roost among the reeds and cattails.  Hopefully, we’ll confirm that before they disappear north for another year.

At the end of the day, we enjoyed our evening watching the birds completing their routines in preparation for nightfall.  Now, we need to do the same!

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: , , , , , , | 54 Comments

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54 thoughts on “At The End Of The Day

  1. I’m late to the party, but want to say “me too” on all the comments. Me too, very much.

  2. What a beautiful setting for all those wonderful birds, Wally. Love the warm colors from the setting sun.

    • Thank you, Ron! It’s been fun to stand on the dock and have thousands of swallows pass by so close you hear the “buzz” of their wing beats right next to your head.

  3. Another terrific post Wally! Makes me a bit homesick for Florida.

    • Mia, I’m homesick for Florida – and I live here! (I just can’t get out into the natural places as often as I’d like!)

  4. Beautiful photos! The white ibis are particularly lovely. Thanks for your helpful and kind comments about my juvenile Cooper’s Hawk!

  5. I do like the sun glow on the tern. And the sunset swallows.

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW

    Stewart M – Melbourne

    • Thank you, Stewart! I reckon those smart folks who advise taking pictures at the beginning and end of the day know what they’re talking about!

  6. tingsgrove

    Wow, you got some pretty incredible flight images, as well as your water scenes and that sunlight reflection, just gorgeous shares all around!

  7. Great post, Wally! Excellent capture of the beautiful sunset colors reflecting on the water….great shot!

  8. You catch the most wonderful birds in the most wonderful way! The golden light with the swallows is just awe inspiring! And to think of the sheer numbers you are seeing!!

  9. Love them all! Such a wonderful series; great to see them doing their evening-thing against that beautiful sky….

  10. Lovely photos! What colour in that sunset, so beautiful! And the tern photo is very good!
    I long for our swallows to come back here soon, we’e waiting for Spring, but today it’s a bit snow again!

  11. Great series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  12. What birds? I couldn’t see past the beautiful sunset colors! 🙂 WOW.

  13. Beautiful shot of the tern! I can see you’re getting some of the great light in these shots as well.
    The sunset shots are gorgeous!
    Thanks for a lovely post!

    • Thanks very much, Carletta! I’m trying to learn about that “light” thing! At least with sunsets I don’t have to get up so early!

  14. I am really enjoying your blog as we are new winter residents. I am working to learn the birds, trees, flowers, shells, etc. that are all so lovely and different than in Michigan. You do some great photos.

    • Pat, welcome to the Sunshine State! I’m a native Floridian and I’m STILL working to learn all those things! 🙂
      Thank you for your kind comments!

  15. Great shots!

  16. That tern is so handsome. Beautiful captures, and that sunset is superb.

  17. Beautiful captures. Love the light in the last two.

  18. Hi Wallie, these are a great series of shots, it must be nice to be close to so many wonderful bird species. Have a nice day.

    • Karen, thank you for visiting and for your kind remarks! We are definitely blessed with a large variety of species here!

  19. I can not wait to start seeing the spring migration. The Swallows returning for the summer are a nice sight. Your photos and all the birds are gorgeous.

    • Thank you very much, Eileen. All the migrants here in central Florida are fattening up so it shouldn’t be too long before they head home.

  20. Hi Wally….I’m not sure if you’re the one that left me a comment or not…when I clicked on your name/link in my blog comments it took me to the Google+ page and there were no active links to your personal blog. [usually, the Google+ has ‘contributor’ under the “about” section. Anyway, I came to WBW to look for you so I could drop by and thank you for helping me ID those Dowitchers!!! Much appreciated. I love your image shares, especially the white ibis in the cypress swamp.

    • Yep, that was me! No problem on the Dowitchers. Nice photo! Thank you for visiting and for your nice comments. That was only a small portion of the ibises. There were easily 200 along the shoreline and more were flying in as it got dark!

  21. I agree with TWG! My comment was going to center around the swallows flying over the orange waters. So many pretty shots here.

    • Gail, thank you! I just stand around scenes like that with my mouth open in awe and once in awhile try to remember to press the button!

  22. Wally your shots of the Tree Swallows feeding at twilight time over the lake are utterly delightful.. sigh. Love the Royal Tern, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Ibis gathering in the shadows of the cypress trees.

    • Thank you, Pam! It’s a nice time of day to be out. I’m glad the swallows were there to help gobble all the skeeters starting to show up!

  23. Great serie of photos!
    A perfect post for WBW!

  24. The color of late afternoon/early evening is especially beautiful in all those photos but the swallows over the lake are magical!

    • Thanks, Mick! It’s nice to get the right mix of light, clouds and reflection so all I have to do is press a little button! 🙂
      All the swallows are definitely a bonus.

  25. A very interesting post Wally. I can’t imagine the Swallows are using anthing except the cattails to roost. Here our Swallows (Barn) use the similar looking phragmites reed or in recent years fully grown maize crops in the autumn. Often they only dive into the roost as darkness falls or afterwards in complete darkness but they carry on twittering for a while. I’ve never heard of a Swallow roost in the springtime over here – I guess their Spring journeys are shorter than the US and lesser numbers? I’d be interested to hear your final observation about the roost beofre the swallows head north.Nice sunset shots you took and the Royal Tern photograph is a real cracker.

    • Phil, I feel certain the swallows are roosting in cattails/reeds as they normally do, however, I’m just not certain it’s in this particular lake. We have many lakes in our area and I have not yet been able to tell if they are feeding here and then moving on to another nearby lake to actually roost. Hopefully, I’ll figure it out before they move on. These roosts during their Spring migration usually don’t last long as they are on the move northward. Typically, a few days. I’ll let you know if I discover where they’re keeping their little sleeping bags!

      Thank you for the nice remarks.

  26. Those colours and lightning in your photos are enjoyable and birds of course too 🙂
    How I miss summer and colours of it! Thank you for these your warm views !

  27. TexWisGirl

    the swallow swooping scenes are just gorgeous! love the tern shot, too! such handsome birds.

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