Friday, June 19, 2015

UT Southwestern Medical Center Rookery: June 2015

The thermometer topped out at 94 degrees this afternoon. LLELA, Hagerman Widlife Refuge, Murrell Park and many other local natural areas are still flooded. Those same high waters had also closed the two main roads south out of town today. Nonetheless, I needed to get out and shoot. So I went back to the UT Southwestern Rookery, which I'd vowed to return to when I first visited it last month.

Great Egrets, UT Southwestern Rookery
Great egrets were my focus last time, and I planned to spend more time looking for some of the other residents birds this time.  But when you get two posing like this, you shoot.

Juvenile Great Egrets, UT Southwestern Rookery
And when you get babies in the nest, throats warbling in the heat, you shoot.

White Ibis, UT Southwestern Rookery
A species I didn't see last time -- White Ibis.

Great Egret, UT Southwestern Rookery
I got a tip on my last visit to head to the top of an adjacent parking garage for a different perspective.  Doing so yielded a decent flight shot.

Great Egrets, UT Southwestern Rookery
I first thought there were eight egrets in this shot, which gives a pretty good idea of how crowded the rookery is.  Then I looked closer and think there might be as many as 12 counting ones obscured by leaves.

Black-crowned Night-Heron, UT Southwestern Rookery
The Black-crowned Night-Herons continue to defy me a bit, refusing to show themselves in full light.  I liked the light I did manage to get on this one, though.

Baby Snowy Egret, UT Southwestern Rookery
I originally thought this was a baby Snowy Egret based on the nearest visible adult.  But after looking over some images online I think it's actually a Black-crowned Night-Heron.  Whatever the case, I'd be open to casting it in the inevitable Jurassic World sequel.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron, UT Southwestern Rookery
And a juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron to cover all three stages of development.

Cattle Egret, UT Southwestern Rookery
I haven't quite gotten the Cattle Egret shot I'm looking for, either.  I got great light on this one, but he wouldn't fluff out his plumes.  It's always something.

So despite heat, flood waters and traffic I still managed to spend some quality time with nature today.  Take that, Texas!

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