the Roseate Spoonbill
The lead photo above is one I have been dreaming of capturing for a few years now. Ever since I saw my first Roseate Spoonbill in Florida in 2010 I've always thought they were an unusually beautiful bird. The bright pink feathers and deep red eye are very eye catching but when you see them close up, well, they don't have the most beautiful faces. Then of course there is that odd shaped bill that gives them their name. There are some birds I have occasionally crossed paths with that instantly make me think of dinosaurs and the Roseate Spoonbill is one of those.
If you have read any of my previous Florida stories you may know that my parents spend the winter there. My father first introduced me to this particular location during my visit in 2013. It is known as the "Stick Marsh" near Palm Bay and is apparently a very popular location for trophy bass fishing in central Florida. What it also has a huge wading bird rookery and nesting location. On most evenings during the right time of year (I have almost always been there in February) hundreds and maybe thousands of Florida's wading birds fly in to this one spot to sleep for the evening.
We can drive to this spot and just hop out of the car and stand there to witness and photograph this daily spectacle. I've seen Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Great Blue Herons, Tri-colored Herons, Glossy Ibis, White Ibis and the bird featured in this post, Roseate Spoonbills all fly into the same group of trees on a small island. At one point during my most recent visit I remember thinking how can all of these birds fit in there? They just keep flying in! Even if you aren't a photographer it is an amazing sight to witness.
During my winter trip in 2014 I mainly concentrated on the Spoonbills although I took hundreds of photos of other birds. Although I personally think they have an awkward look about them they are quite adept fliers. I've watched them do some impressive aerial maneuvers and at times I think they may use that odd shaped bill to make some hard turns!
I've always enjoyed the extreme challenge of photographing birds in flight and this location has become one of my favorites spots to hone those skills and to capture the brilliantly colored and certainly unique Roseate Spoonbill.