Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mrazek Pond

I'll begin by quoting from the National Park literature. "Mrazek Pond: Most of the year only a few ducks and wading birds, but for a few days during some winters, large numbers of wading birds, including Roseate Spoonbills and Wood Storks, move in to feast."

I was lucky enough to be there on one such glorious morning just before sunrise sharing the excitement with a Northern Shoveler.

I stood behind some reeds and watched this "standing room only" buffet in progress.

It soon became frenzied, with landing and departure on the same runway. The Wood Storks threw open their wings and raced about scooping up breakfast.

The Roseate Spoonbills are a beautiful bird, and to judge by the conversations I often overheard at the water's edge, confused with the other pink bird, the Flamingo. I did not see a Flamingo. Hungry people in Cuba eat them, and the hurricane really gave the Flamingos a jolt to their population as well. Some Flamingos may occasionally escape captivity, and later be seen in the wild, but mostly they just get lost when flying around Cuba and wind up in Florida. So, these pink birds are Roseate Spoonbills (and at a different pond as well, called Eco Pond, about a 5 minute walk from my campsite).

Notice the wide, spoon-shaped bill that gives this bird its name. It looks like it has a throat full of food as well. There were young Spoonbills still more interested in begging parents for food than making an effort to get their own from the water.

In flight they are a sight to behold, very breathtaking, especially on February 14th, Valentine's Day!

Here is a Spoonbill at Mrazek Pond, after the chaos subsided.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's a lotta wood storks! I bet you felt like you were in bird heaven. Love the pic of the flying spoonbill.