I blogged last week about the Cattle Egret’s colorful transformation – here’s another look, above. This post includes a few more examples of how striking some of the other wetland birds look in March. This young Roseate Spoonbill is one of the all-time favorites. Although I’m not sure they are nesting in our area now, they are always a treat to see when they stop by and forage right out in the open. You can see that the one above is immature because he doesn’t yet have the dark pink feathers and black ‘headband stripe’ that mature Rosies do.
We always see the White Ibis returning to roost in great numbers as the sun goes down. But this time of year, their coloring is just brilliant, as breeding colors become apparent. The White Ibis above had the absolute reddest legs and bill that I’ve ever seen!
One might wonder how the beautiful Snowy Egret could possibly get any more elegant?! Well, now that they, too, are displaying their courting style, their usually bright yellow feet become a deep orange, and they develop vivid red lores around their eyes, and flowing, feathery plumes.
The Black-necked Stilts are back now, and will soon be courting and nesting, too. Yippee – I love these little guys! They are so fun to watch as they strut around on their very tall, bright pink legs. How DO they balance their torpedo-shaped bodies on those skinny stilts?? The water level is very low now, so this little Black-necked Stilt had no trouble finding teeny fish and other delicacies with his long pointy beak as he foraged for dinner last night at sunset.I must create a special post soon in honor of the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks – they are everywhere these days, including as the featured photo of this post! I’m looking forward to finding their nests and watching for their fluffy little black and yellow striped ducklings later this spring.
Meantime, as I was leaving the boardwalk last night, this adorable pair looked right up at me in the dark, as if to say, “We’re going to sleep now. Have a nice night!”