Natural Florida… Manatee at Blue Spring State Park

When the air and water temperature drops manatee seek warmer waters. On the morning we visited Blue Spring State Park the count was 403 manatees in the lagoon according to information at the park entrance.#1 playing directly above the opening of the spring 2-2365 copyAt the spot where 104 million gallons of water enters the lagoon daily visitors were treated to the cavorting of a small group of manatees in the 72 degree water. #2 Manatee hug-2219They played follow the leader, rolled around and hugged one another.#3 The nose(s)-2216… there were nose kisses#4 Tail Splash -2292… and splashing of tails

It was well worth getting up early for the 2 hour trip to the park and standing outdoors in the cool morning air to see it all happen.

3 things you need to know about Great Blue Herons

GBH nest relief ceremony-1734-2When Great Blue Herons change who is in charge of keeping watch on their nest they perform a Nest Relief Ceremony, it is part of the pair bonding rituals where they clap their bills together.

GBH regurgitate-1742They swallow the food they hunt for and regurgitate it to feed their chicks. Some of the contortions were comical looking especially with the breeding plumage billowing in the breeze.

They aren’t necessarily fond of being watched when feeding their chicks. This adult went through the motions of bringing up the food several times but waited until there was no one on the trail to watch it feed the chick.

Great Blue Heron 1 chick first look-1749-2It is good to look back from whence you walk. Once the trail was clear of onlookers the first hatched chick popped its head above the nest and gladly received its food.

2 GBH chicks first look-1967Several days after getting a look at the hatchling I visited the nest again and was happy to see there was a second chick in the nest. They were tugging at the adult’s feathers in this view. Their downy feathers are adorable.

Do You See What I See…

© PC PHOTO 2015 All rights reserved

Great Blue Heron nest building

1. Great Blue Heron nest:humble beginning  1-7059A humble beginning.

Perhaps these photo’s should have been posted before last weeks post but I thought better late than never so here we are at the humble beginnings of this seasons nest building with Great Blue Herons.

2. Great Blue Heron nest building the hand off----7448

The hand off.

This couple is working together to get the job done. One sits at the nest and weaves the materials together while the other goes out finds the materials and brings it back. Some times he is more successful with what he can gather than others. She doesn’t look too happy in the photo below.

3. Great Blue Heron nest building the hand off  2-7452

4. Great Blue Heron nest building regulating her heat  4  -7071

Dusk is approaching and the toll of balancing on a branch while making the nest is showing on this female, she is overheating and regulating her heat with open beak.

5. Great Blue Heron nest building taking a break  5 -7093

Meanwhile he takes a rest in a shaded area while the Mrs catches her breath. At the same time he is keeping a keen eye on several other males in the area that have been vying for her attention hoping they will be her mate.

Do You See What I See…

© PC PHOTO 2015 All rights reserved

 

Great Blue Heron love is in the air

1  Great Blue Herons changing of the guard #1-1471

It’s breeding season for Great Blue Herons and I’ve been photographing this pair since they began building their nest late last year. The eggs are laid and it shouldn’t be long before we have hatchlings. The above photo was taken when the mates were changing places sitting on the nest, the following photos I took after the changing of the guards.

2  Great Blue Herons changing of the guard #2-1475

There was just enough of a breeze to fluff up and show off the breeding feathers.

3  Great Blue Herons changing of the guard at the nest #3-1476-2

Time to stretch those wings, now keep a keen eye on the nest dear, I’ll be back soon.

4  Great Blue Heron in nest breeding feathers #4-1528-3Everything appears to be in order.

5   Great Blue Heron in nest preening breeding feathers #5-1515

Good time to get gussied up.

Do You See What I See…

© PC PHOTO 2015 All rights reserved