The Wading Bird Rookery at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm is a wonderful place to get up and personal with nesting wildlife.
When I had visited in early December, the marsh was a ghost town. With just the alligators hissing in the muddy waters, I thought that surely nothing would come to be in spring.
But I was proved wrong. Returning during the Floridas Birding and Photo Fest at the end of April for a photography workshop I walked around the board walk and my breath was taken away. The trees were filled with birds from high to low, near and far. Many were raising their young, and others were starting their nesting rituals.
The rookery is home to Great egrets, Snowy Egrets, Tri-colored herons, Blue herons, Woodstorks, and Roseate Spoonbills.
There was a pair of young Great egret chicks sitting in the nest, impatient for food. Clacking their bills together they wrangled around like siblings do, fighting for dominance.
At one point they snap their beaks together.
I could have spent all day watching the rookery with all of the drama that unfolded in front of me. The wading rookery provides wildlife photographers a unique opportunity to get closer to these birds than ever possible. In fact, there was one bird that it was so close to the boardwalk, I used my iPhone to take a capture.
The Alligator Farm offers a Photography Membership which allows you early entry before opening and late stays after closing. Good for the months of March through July, photographers can enter at 8:00 am and stay until sunset. To enter early, one has to be at a red door near the main entrance before 8:00 a.m. The guard opens the door once and lets in who is waiting outside. The pass needs to be on your person for presentation after closing hours to prove you’re a photography member.
The wading rookery at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm is truly a spectacular place to visit. Bring your camera and lots of space on your memory card.
Wow, these are stunning photos. Looks like they’re dancing.
You are so sweet Miriam, and so kind of you to be supportive of my work. I took the week off so truly appreciate your following and kindness.
I realized I’m starting to get lots of babies this year, how exciting is that?
That is SO exciting, how wonderful.
It really is Miriam. I go back in June. Can’t wait to see what I will find.
Lucky you. It should be so exciting.
Awesome shots, such a great series of behavioral moments. A treat to watch, and share.
You are so kind David. It really is special to be able to enjoy such a marvelous scene.
Absolutely fantastic pictures! Eevrything [colours, bright- and sharpness, and – most of all – composition] fits! Well, and the situatiuon(s), too.
Have a wonderful Sunday,
LOL ! You are so sweet Pit. I hope one day you make it out of Texas and enjoy this. Although you have some awesome birds in Texas.
We cartainly have great birds here, too. The Aransas Wildlife Refuge is still on my bucket list. To Goose Island State park and the South Padre Island Nature and Birding Centre I’ve already been. Well, I’m certain other places will come up some time.
Thank you Belinda
Real clowns! Great photos.
They really are. Thrilled you saw that Victor. Thanks.
These are just great shots, Emily.
You are so sweet Perpetua. I hope all is going well with you. Miss you!
BEAUTIFUL, beautiful captures!😄
Wish you could have been there with me Joanne. You would have loved it. Thank you so much.
That would be SO awesome but careful, one of these days I may just be there with you on one of your excursions. Then you’ll find yourself thinking something VERY different, lol!😉
That would be awesome Joanne, and I know we’ll have a blast!
Thanks. A new location to add to my Florida list.
Awesome ! I’m assuming you have Gatorland Also right? Will you be going to FLA? Burrowing Owls on the west coast too.
Superb! This rookery appears to be a very special habitat and conservation success story.
It truly is Nick, and they redid the marsh this past winter. Immediately the birds returned as if nothing had happened. Amazing stuff.
🙂 Thank you so much my dear friend.
Fantastic photos. Thank you for sharing.
My pleasure and thank you for your visit.