Sunday, November 4, 2018

Stange Happenings at Largo Central NP

Flock of birds clustered along the shore of the Largo Central NP pond.

The first day of November, I took my evening stroll with my camera around Largo Central NP. Completing the near mile circuit along the canals, I had seen a few Anhingas and little blue herons here and there, but nothing extraordinary.

I like to end my walk at the pond with the boardwalk around it, in the golden hour before sunset. After completing the lap, I noticed a flock of ibises along the railing, so I slowed my pace and didn’t look at them, hoping to get a picture after I passed them. Usually the wild birds let me pass within inches of them, but this time a few more skittish of the flock moved on and the others followed. 

I arrived at the entrance of the boardwalk where the birds had flown. This area had no boardwalk or railing, just foliage, rocks and a gravel shore leading to the pond; in other words, a perfect uncluttered background to delight any photographer.

A pair of Snowy Egrets, Little blue herons, and a Great White Egret
To my surprise, there were now twenty creamy white birds clustered along the shore. As these birds are year round residents, they would not be migrating. Maybe they gathered because tomorrow promised to be a rainy day and they needed a last minute grooming. 

L-R Ibis, Snowy Egret, Great White egret, and more Ibises
I had never seen such a large variety of birds gathered together at this park. It was like a Roger Tory Peterson convention.

Two Immature white Little Blue Herons with an Ibis in the foreground

Scattered among the ibises were great white egrets, snowy egrets, little blue herons, tricolored herons and immature, white, little blue herons. The darker birds were mostly clustered around the periphery.
The Great White Egret was no slouch

The Ibises were serious groomers

The flock stayed along the shore for over an hour; A snowy egret bathed in the water; there was a few aggressive behaviors with wings flapping, mostly from the active little blue and tricolored herons. For the most part, they coexisted peacefully. An unexpected groomfest!
 A pair of Tricolored Herons
Little Blue Heron after his bath

The next day my phone vibrated with a message to take cover. Pinellas, Hernando and Pasco county had tornadoes vicious enough to impale cars, knock down power lines, fell trees, destroy signs, cave in roofs and other buildings. Tornadoes are unusual in our area.

Ibises live together in flocks, but are not usually found with such a large assortment of other birds. When birds do strange things, expect usual weather conditions.  Listen to the birds.

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