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Mother Nature’s Finest
Written By: O.C.fotoguy
*Click images below to view larger versions.
Mother Nature’s Finest
Mother Nature’s Finest
Mother Nature’s Finest
Mother Nature’s Finest
Mother Nature’s Finest
Mother Nature’s Finest
Mother Nature’s Finest
Mother Nature’s Finest

    Today’s display from Mother Nature was at her finest, but not in a remote place.   I’ve been here before and the show was good, but this time I want a second showing and I’ll be back for the sunrise performance. I go to places where I see unusual things, mostly wildlife, that most people never see in their life. I’m doing nothing special, just a little out of the ordinary. I go to remote places and stay for weeks and/or months and walk by myself where there’s no one else or their noise, so of course I see panthers, bears, snail kites, wimbrels, swallow tailed kites, snakes, big horn sheep, badgers, lizards, and more.
    Here in mid March this spectacle impressed me as much as any of those. It is within a half mile of US Rt. 41, right out the back door of a MegaMart, and between a parking lot where the city parks its construction equipment and their emergency response center with fire trucks and ambulances! There’s another pond farther away, that appears to be an identical habitat, but this is the nesting site that has probably been used for thousands of years or at least a long, long time. There’s a small island in a land-locked pond, where flocks of herons, egrets, and cormorants return each year to build their nests, mate, and raise their young. The nests are so close they’re virtually on top of one another, almost like an apartment building. I’ve never seen this density of nests anywhere else or in the wilds. The island that the nests are on is about a hundred feet from the mainland.  That’s less than a stone’s throw away and full frame distance with a 400mm lens, which is a photographer’s dream! For just a tourist the show is so close binoculars aren’t even required, but may be helpful if you really want a detailed closeup look. I took so many photos, then I went back with my tripod, so I got serious outstanding photos! I could see the heads so clearly. I never knew Snowy Egrets had green feathers around their eyes. I think they appear only at mating season. Wow, fantastic; no wonder I’m going back for two more shows and this place goes on my Don’t Miss List!!!
    The sound of mating calls, the “dances” or mating ritual movements with the elaborate displaying of their feathers by the birds are indescribable with words, so I’ve included extra photos. More are @ my websites. There’s no words for those sounds! The Island is in the City of Venice in southwestern Florida. If you are near, you have to go and see it. Ask anyone for directions; everyone will know where Venice Rookery is!
    Some of the information here is from that site. The Venice Area Audubon Rookery (941-496-8984), internationally known to bird photographers, is freely open to all visitors from dawn to dusk every day of the year. Alligators patrol the lake, keeping mammalian predators from preying on the island’s birds. Optimum times to see or photograph the most birds are early morning or late afternoon. The best vantage point at sunset is from the west side, across from the pavilion. There is a secure donation box at the Rookery and all contributions support the rookery. Outstanding!!
http://veniceaudubon.org/rookery
 
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