Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ibises rule Biscayne Bay

Still dark, I drove to Matheson this early morning with no AC and the windows partially opened. This was an experiment to test whether or not it was worth the slight discomfort to get my lens defogged before entering the water. These days, the hot humidity steams up the lens once it is taken out of the pelican case and keeps it that way for a very long time. Meanwhile, birds fly by and photo opps are missed. My little experiment worked and when I arrived at the launch site at 6:15 am, the camera and lens were ready to go. I attached the flash and better beamer before getting out of the car

The sun had not quite peaked over the horizon that was layered in some low lying clouds. There was a slight breeze out of the east. The tide that was at its lowest 1/2 hour earlier had already begun to advance on the near full moon that would push it along. The grasses of the bay were exposed widely along the shoreline. So far, no flying birds, but I expected to see a large number of ibises appear at some point.

In the meantime, the feeding grounds behind me were starting to lively up. I noticed some little blues, a snowy egret, great blue heron and yellowcrown nightherons. And as a bonus, I had a couple raccoons in there. Cute little buggers, they were taking advantage of the low tide and filling up with breakfast, something more healthy than trashed leftovers.

Soon, the ibises started flying in. I faced a shallow tide area where by now, the sun was lighting up the surroundings quite nicely and the birds were increasing in number. The ibises by far outnumbered all others and there might have been over a hundred of them within a 1/4 mile distance of the shoreline. This was going to be a classic bay experience, and the sky so far was cooperating with light cloud cover.

I pushed the canoe along the grasses as close as possible to the birds. There were several laughing gulls in the mix. But the ibises did not like that. Seems that even among birds, gulls are considered low class and were promptly booted out of the wading birds' territory.

The water continued to move in, which is a nice set up for me. It means that I can continue to move closer toward the birds and if I am lucky, they will get use to it.

It was a good day, although I would have preferred a later low tide as I only had about an hour of wading birds. Tomorrow should be better. I only have a few weeks before my semester begins, so this week is all about the bay for me. Perfect tides and so far, perfect wind conditions.

Off the water before 10 am, I decided to head over to Fairchild for awhile. I was treated to some fun photos of blue land crabs. There were several of them crossing the grasses and hiding in the stone walls. Here's one of the shots.

No comments:

Post a Comment