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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork in Golden Light

[Little Estero Lagoon, FL. Nov 2014]

Photography is naught but a creative attempt to capture the fickle play of light -- and, no image is as magical as one formed during the hallowed time known as "Golden Hour". A quick trip to Little Estero Lagoon afforded precisely such an opportunity; and, although the species were familiar, they were pictured as if anew -- providing refreshing new perspectives of the following: 

  1. Roseate Spoonbill
  2. Wood Stork
  3. American Oystercatcher
  4. Marbled Godwit
  5. Brown Pelican
  6. Tricolored Heron
  7. Little Blue Heron
First the Roseate Spoonbill:

Roseate Spoonbill
The Roseate Spoonbill is the most colorful of the 6 species of Spoonbill found globally. While the Roseate ranges widely in the New World -- in the US, Caribbean, Central and South America -- its closest genetic relation is found in impossibly distant Australia: the Yellow-billed Spoonbill.

This Roseate Spoonbill, seen here in a tidal pool, was in prime alternate plumage with bleeding red shoulders, orange tail and blushes of yellow on its graceful neck; all facets that were accented, even amplified, in glorious twilight.

Roseate Spoonbill

In the bounty of golden light, even the normally scruffy and ordinary looking Wood Stork is imparted an almost glamorous look as if its head had been dipped in molten gold:

Wood Stork
Of the world's 19 species of Stork, we have but a single representative in the Wood Stork -- a number that could well have been zero had urgent measures for its recovery not been undertaken by committed conservationists.

Indeed, this magnificent bird's declining population had resulted in a 1970 prediction of its extinction by the year 2000. A grim milestone whose auspicious debunking could not have made all ardent supporters of our avifauna the happier.

A "Golden" Stork
Little Estero Lagoon is reliable for American Oystercatcher and this visit reinforced that reputation:

American Oystercatcher
The Oystercatcher is always a shorebird that excels -- in size, color and character; and, its glowing personality was positively striking on this occasion.

Marbled Godwit
Like the Oystercatcher, the Godwit too has an extraordinary personality -- standing tall among the multitudinous pale-and-grey peeps that scurry across the sand in a blur of anonymity.

Even without the sunset light, who would not warm to the Godwit's cinnamon hues, marvelous gravity-defying upturned bill and long steel-colored legs?

Marbled Godwit
Other species were no less resplendent --A Brown Pelican:

Brown Pelican
 .. seen swimming after plunge-diving near the shoreline for fish.

Little Blue Heron
A Little Blue Heron with an invisible catch in its dagger-like bill; and a sub-adult Tricolored Heron seen basking in the twilight:

Youth with Gull
It was on a parallel occasion (though at Tigertail Lagoon), that this perfect confluence of twilight-induced tranquility and the heady wafts of sea breeze mingled to enchant even the most casual of observers to commune with nature.

Indeed, this beach-youth, perhaps more stereotypically associated with the "selfie" generation, was moved to capture the grace of a laughing gull on his smartphone at golden hour -- surely, what could offer stronger testament to the pull of nature's beauty than this candid moment of man and bird?

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