Friday, April 6, 2012

Spoonbill Surprise

(Florida 2012 Continued--Remember--click on any image to see a slide show of larger images)

While we stood around watching the American Avocets, Lori pointed out a pink shape in the sky, flying right towards the pond from the east.  I looked up to see a lone Roseate Spoonbill gliding in over the trees. 

The bird had barely touched the water when it began feeding, swinging its great bill back and forth through the shallow water before it had even tucked in its wings.

We watched, fascinated.  None of us had ever been so close to a spoonbill before.

To our delight, it began moving directly towards us, skirting a small group of Blue-winged Teals.

The spoonbill waded closer and closer until it was no more than 20 feet away.  By this point it had drawn quite a crowd of birdwatchers, the avocets having lost their shine with this colorful bird putting on such a show.

 I eventually had to turn the camera vertically to get the whole bird in the frame.

The two sexes are nearly identical, so I have no way to know if this was a male or female. Info on Wikipedia says that they have a pink patch on the upper breast when breeding, so I guess this one is mated or looking for one.  They nest in trees, which I think is a remarkable feat for all of the long-legged birds who do the same.

We watched this amazing creature for I don't know how long before it finally moved off down the shore, and we moved along too, still having much of the drive to cover.  This is certainly one encounter we won't soon forget.

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