Readers’ wildlife photos

July 15, 2019 • 7:45 am

Today we have some bird denizens of Florida wetlands, courtesy of reader Paul Peed. His notes are indented:

Bright and beautiful birds at T.M. Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area

Roseate Spoonbill

One of 5 species of spoonbills in the world and the only one found in the Americas, Roseate Spoonbills (Platalea ajaja) have made Goodwin a primary roosting site.  These flamboyant birds sweep their bills through the marsh for crustaceans and other invertebrates:

The invertebrates the Roseate Spoonbill eats contain carotenoids that help turn their feathers pink.

The Roseate Spoonbill loses feathers from his head as he ages.  Yes, balding in the bird world!

Their feeding pattern is to plunge that paddle-like bill into the marsh and sweep side to side:

Great Egret

Another highly successful species at Goodwin is the Great Egret (Ardea alba). One of many marsh/wetland birds hunted to near extinction for their plumage, they benefited from the first conservation movements and resulting laws.

These images are from mid-April when the Great Egret is showing the peak of its breeding coloration.

These guys stand immobile or wade through shallow wetlands stalking their prey which they dispatch with an exciting quickly uncoiled jab of its spike-like yellow bill.

Great Blue Heron

Also found in substantial numbers at Goodwin Broadmoor Marshes is the stately Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias).  Somewhat larger than the Great Egret, it hunts in the same manner.

A tasty morsel:


18 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. That’s about 90 minutes north of where I am. I will check it out. There are several wildlife sanctuaries in southeast Florida.

    1. At present Goodwin is being suffocated under a blanket of invasive plant species. Water Lettuce and Water Hyacinth are at levels I have never previously observed. For the first time ever I did not observe a single Roseate Spoonbill throughout Goodwin Broadmoor Marshes.

      Normal prime season for bird watching is November through early May but, up until this year, a trip through Goodwin in any season has always been enjoyable.

      Watch eBird counts carefully to ensure a worthwhile trip up from the Palm Beach area.

      Goodwin has automobile access on Thursdays only from 9-4:00pm. Bike and on foot access every day except national holidays

  2. Great shots. The great blue heron and great egret can be found in most of the US. The spoonbill, however, you’ll only find along the southern coast and Central/South America. Being and inlander, I’d have to call the spoonbill exotic.

    1. Not closely related according to the texts I study. A google search will yield some details.

      BTW, a common shout during the tourist season at Goodwin is “Look at all the Flamingos!” I stopped correcting the snowbirds years ago.

      Paul Peed

  3. Saw a blue heron landing in the front garden of opposite neigbours
    My father said
    “yes, they just got a new pond, with goldfish’
    Adaptation works.

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