Sunday, October 17, 2021

Wood Storks

A moment in nature. PHOTOS BY CAROL KINKEAD

A moment in nature. PHOTOS BY CAROL KINKEAD

by Carol Kinkead

I am seeing things a little differently these days. View wise. The difference is that we have recently moved from our river front home on the Marco River to a 16th floor condo at Hammock Bay. We look over a panoramic view of mangrove islands, waterways and the blue Gulf of Mexico beyond.

As a photographer, I always have my camera close at hand, ready to go, looking for the next shot. Today was a gift, a sparkling clear day, no clouds or humidity just beautiful panoramas of the water all around us, blue as could be, set off by a maze of green mangroves and the waters sparkling like a million diamonds. A palette irresistible for any artist to work with.

As the sun moved in the sky we were provided with one stunning vista after another, spotted with egrets, ibis, great blue herons and wood storks, enjoying the low

A view from above.

A view from above.

water as if was their own private Ritz, a dinner of mixed goodies to eat whenever they chose. As the sun set most of the birds flew to their nests but the wood storks stayed on in our front yard, each perched on its own private mangrove island.

They travel in a large colony of 30 birds. For a very long time they were an endangered species but they seem to be flourishing now in Florida thanks to the efforts of the National Audubon Society which took the lead in enacting laws which protected the breeding grounds and ensured that these birds were able to survive.

Wood storks have a slightly prehistoric look with what looks like a head of spiked feathers. They are very large, white-feathered creatures with dark black wing tips and a long beak well suited to their particular kind of feeding.

Wood storks are colonial in nature and feeding is

Wood Storks in flight.

Wood Storks in flight.

a cooperative event. One stork will act as lead bird, stirring up the muddy waters ahead so the birds behind him will benefit from feeding on the small fish that the lead bird has provided. The lead bird changes frequently so that all the birds are well fed.

In flight they are elegant white birds showing off their very long necks and equally long legs. A very aerodynamic bird!

Their breeding grounds are usually in the Everglades where their large nests can be seen in the tops of cypress trees, and as many as 50 nests are built per colony. These beautiful birds can be seen here is southwest Florida during the dry, winter season so that they can take advantage of the low water feeding conditions.

Carol Kinkead has been a photographer for over 35 years. Her passion is for sharing images of the beautiful Florida surroundings, and teaching others the joy of becoming intimately involved with nature.

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