Monday, February 16, 2009

Feeling A Little Blue


Walking ...

... Stalking ...


... Processing incoming data ...

... Successful strike based on actionable intelligence.
This is a favorite wader of mine, the Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea). I took this series from my kayak two weekends ago while having my manatee encounter down at Chassahowitzka. A quiet cove off the main river channel was empty except for this little blue hunting in the shallows, so I gave the kayak one last push and then snapped the paddle along the gunwale so my hands could be free to shoot pics as I drifted close to the heron.
He did not seem to mind me a bit, which seems to be the general wildlife consensus regarding the kayak and me.

Little Blues are blue (duh) as adults, but white as juvies. The Cornithologists at the Cornell University birding site say that this allows young Little Blues to mix with egrets where they are more successful at finding food than if they were hunting alone ... and, they get to take advantage of that whole "safety in numbers" thing while hanging out with the egret posse.


This makes pretty good sense to me and it's a wonder that I did not come up with that independently, as it seems so obvious now that somebody smarter than me has pointed it out.
Speaking of that kayak, (well, I was earlier, scroll up if you've forgotten already) I need to get outside and get in it. School is out, the sky is blue (you feeling it?), and the tide at Cedar Key is gonna be low around lunch time.
Perfect conditions for ... whatever comes my way.

16 comments:

Florida Beach Basics said...

that's a really interesting theory about the juvie color.

speaking of Cornell, are you participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count?

Susan Rose said...

Thanks for the education about little blues. Now I'll be looking for their juvies among the egrets. It's really fun to know this stuff and see it unfold... and take a picture of it!

Arkansas Patti said...

Did not know that about the blues. Thanks. Chassahowitzka??? One thing about Arkansas, we are not creative with cool Indian names like Florida but we can at least spell them. White River, Little Red, Buffalo, etc. Hum...Maybe that says something about our education level.

ChrisC and JonJ said...

Did not that about the juvie Little Blues.Saw a "bunch" of them at Weedon Island Preserve,last week.I think they're born knowing how to pose for the tourists.
And some people don't have the day off,today.Grrrr......

robin andrea said...

That is such a nice, cozy arrangement with the egrets. Wish we could all be as cooperative.

Hope you had a nice time out there paddling around today.

Freste said...

God bless Darwin, eh?

tsiya said...

Super LBH shots!

SophieMae said...

Nice! I really like the third pose. I'm still waiting for a shot at a 'calico' LBH... halfway between white and blue. Oh, and I keep forgetting to mention how much I like your BB header! 8-]

BTW, STKIs have been reported in Englewood and Cape Coral. Shouldn't be long before you see them again.

Margaret Cloud said...

What a beautiful bird, you take very good pictures. I hope your weekend is going great.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Cornithologists!!
Waak!
Y'know, that happens to me all the time--I read something like that and duh! Why didn't I think of that? Love it! And I love how you've managed to show the little blue's ravishing blue-to-vinaceous coloration despite the glare off the water. Nice work.Durn sharp, too!

Alan said...

Great series. The blue is one of my favorites, too.

Hey, look: I'm a poet... and was not aware of that fact. :)

Miz S said...

Amazing photos, as usual. Especially the perfect mirror image reflected in the water.

Sigh...I could use a day on the water.

Pablo said...

I'd always thought that the name "great blue heron" was a misnomer for the common water birds we have up here in Missouri. They hardly seem blue at all. But now that I see the "little blue heron" I can see that the bigger cousin gets its name frot the littler cousin.

threecollie said...

They are so amazingly...well...blue! I had no idea. And Sara N Dippity was hanging around yesterday when my little brother emailed me a pic of an old building in White Springs that you posted about some time ago. turns out he was working stabilizing gypsum stacks down your way last winter and it caught his eye too.

margaret (the misanthrope) said...

Hi there! I popped over from SayreSmiles...I couldn't resist your blog title. Beautiful pics, and thanks for this mid-February reminder of my "home away from home" (and, hopefully, just plain home someday)...beautiful Florida.

Floridacracker said...

Marge,
I haven't participated in any of the bird counts that go on. I'm not really a birder in any sort of life listin' kind of way.

Susan,
It is fun and more fun when you know, or learn something about your photo subject.

Ark Patti,
We DO have some wild sounding river names here!

Chris and Jon,
Now, now. I was at work today so it's not all fun and games here.

Robin,
It was good.

Freste,
Amen.

Tsiya,
Thanks!

Sophie,
I will keep an eye peeled for those SWT's.

Margaret,
Thank you!

Julie,
Thanks! Just having fun with the mother tongue.This bird really ignored me ... and wasn't that exactly what I wanted?


Alan,
Don't quit your day job, but keep rhyming :)


Miz S,
Go punting on the Potamac.

Pablo,
Me too. Much more a Great Greyish Heron than blue.

Three Collie,
Whoa, small world. That's not far away at all.


Margaret,
Welcome to Pure Florida! Very glad you like it and that you left a comment.