Friday, May 6, 2016

Smith Oaks Rookery

My walk through the woods of the Smith Oaks Audubon Sanctuary in High Island was great. But I was mainly there for the rookery -- more and bigger birds moving slower in brighter light. That was hopefully a recipe for better photos. :)

Great Egret, Smith Oaks Rookery
This Great Egret wasn't doing anything particularly interesting.  But with his beautiful plumage and regal pose, he didn't really have to.

Snowy Egret, Smith Oaks Rookery
This Snowy Egret was somewhat more animated.  And when one raises its head plumes, it's going almost always going to make for an interesting subject.

Roseate Spoonbill, Smith Oaks Rookery
Roseate Spoonbills were on my Most Wanted list.  And fortunately, I was able to check them off pretty quickly.

Sunbathing Turtles, Smith Oaks Rookery
The birds weren't the only ones apparently happy with their little island.  Quite a few turtles were basking in the afternoon sun.

Double-Crested Cormorants, Smith Oaks Rookery
I wish I had a tighter shot of the nesting cormorants, but they were a fairly good distance away.  I couldn't resist the male's pose and the gleam of his turquoise eye, though.

Snowy Egret, Smith Oaks Rookery
This Snowy Egret seemed to have a perfect spot for enjoying the sunset.

Roseate Spoonbill, Smith Oaks Rookery
I didn't see any spoonbill babies.  Just a fair amount of nest building.

Roseate Spoonbills, Smith Oaks Rookery
These two I love.  Not sure if they're actually a breeding pair, but in my mind they're a couple. :)

Great Egrets, Smith Oaks Rookery
The Great Egrets were the most plentiful birds, and the most active.

Great Egrets, Smith Oaks Rookery
I got to see lots of interaction between breeding pairs like these two.

Great Egrets, Smith Oaks Rookery
"You are NOT sneaking off to go drinking with your buddies again!  DO YOU HEAR ME?!?!"

Great Egrets, Smith Oaks Rookery
No squawking in this seemingly tender moment.

Great Egret, Smith Oaks Rookery
I'm disappointed that I didn't cut off the feet.  But I love the wings and eyes too much not to use this shot at all.

Purple Gallinule, Smith Oaks Rookery
Purple Gallinules were also on my Most Wanted list.  Unfortunately, this one didn't peek out from the reeds until after the sun had dipped down to the point where the shoreline was in shade.

Call me lazy, but I think rookeries are just terrific.  The concentration of birds of different species and the flurry of activity always fascinate me.  I'm grateful for the time I got to spend here!

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