Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Birds of Paradise

The winter season has been slow to start here in Chicago. Up until two days ago, our weather has been very spring-like. Currently, as I gaze out the window, I see six inches of pristine snow blanketing our lawn, bushes and trees. The air is crisp at 20 degrees. Winds are brisk. Winter has finally arrived.

During January and February, the coldest months of the year, I spend less time outdoors photographing birds because of the frigid temperatures and frequent snowy days. I really do miss meandering though nature preserves, strolling around ponds and scaling small sand dunes. With this post, I thought I would warm up a bit and revisit our recent vacation destination, the gulf coast of Florida. Truly a tropical paradise! Below I feature many of the lovely birds seen on our two week trip.

The magnificent wings of an Osprey ~ It appears as if this female was eyeing me as if I were prey!

Pretty Northern Mockingbirds are a common sight on Longboat Key

The freshly fluffed plumage of a Wood Stork

A lithe Greater Yellowlegs seeks nourishment in the shallows

We delighted in watching this juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron stalk crabs on the beach

A stunning Snowy Egret looks out over the deep blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico

Two feisty Great Egrets engage in a territorial dispute

A dainty Black-bellied Plover escapes the frothy waves of the Gulf

Little Blue Herons are often seen hunting in Sarasota Bay

A Yellow-crowned Night Heron wades the bay waters in search of prey

Crouched and ready for take off ~ Great Blue Heron