A couple of weeks ago, I received a new Tamron 150-600mm lens and, of course, was anxious try it out in the field. I’d been fairly lucky shooting bird photos at the crawfish ponds near Dusty Road, some of which have been posted in this blog. (See, for example, Rice, Crawfish, and Birds.) So Donnette, my camera and new lens, and I headed out that way early one morning, expecting to see the usual wading birds.
After driving eastward onto Dusty Road, there wasn’t much to see bird-wise until we approached a tree near the left shoulder of the road. Because our view was toward clouds backlit by the sun, the tree and the birds perched in it were almost silhouetted, as seen below. Even so, it was clear that these birds were Wood Storks.
Seeking better illumination, we drove very slowly past the tree toward the other side, hoping the storks would stay put. Indeed, they were extremely cooperative; none flew off while we relocated. As I looked back at the storks, I noted the light on them was subdued because of the heavily clouded eastern sky. On the other hand, the camera was now facing northwest where the sky was clear, thus providing a nice photographic background.
Five of the storks were at the top of the tree.
Here is a closeup shot of two of them that seem to be a pair.
Below is a tight crop of a photo of another pair lower in the tree.
This lone stork was perched on a bare branch of the tree. At first, it struck a nice pose for a portrait,
but then it moved into an entirely different posture. Could it be looking at us?
As we slowly drove off, a Roseate Spoonbill flew in and perched atop the tree, bringing our departure to a halt for the moment. The storks didn’t seem perturbed by the visitor. In the image below, the spoonbill seems to be presenting its nicely curved bill for comparison with the pointed bills of the storks.
This experience was a pleasant surprise for Donnette and me. In the past we have twice made the hour-long drive to the ponds of South Farm (described in Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron) after announcements that Wood Storks were there. Both times, although storks were there, none were within photographing distance. On this particular morning, we struck gold only twenty minutes from home.
The locations from which these photos were taken are shown on the map below. Zoom in for more detail.