Posts in Category: nests

Tree Swallow in a Wood Duck box.

They have put up two new Wood Duck boxes at Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, complete with sheet metal shields below to protect the nests from predators…but as you might expect, the Tree Swallows have taken both. Hopefully, if Wood Ducks decided to nest there, they will evict the swallows. 🙂 In the meantime the swallows seem happy with their new accommodations. The nice big door/window makes an ideal perch to survey the world. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.

Spoonbills in Love!


It is not hard to observe mating behavior at the Smith’s Oaks rookery on High Island Texas. Just stand at one of the overlooks in April for few moments and you are bound to see some mating action. This pair of Spoonbills had not started a nest yet but were clearly contemplating one. If they had gotten that far in their thinking. If they were thinking.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 75-300mm zoom. 600mm equivalent. Again, I had the camera in my preprogrammed “flight” mode and did not have time switch back. 1/400th @ f8 @ ISO 200. Processed in Snapseed on my tablet. Assembled in Pixlr Express.

Smith’s Oaks Spoonbills


We will drop back this morning…a week and a bit…to my visit to the Rookery at Smith’s Oaks on High Island in Texas. I have seen Spoonbills nesting before but never in the numbers that frequent High Island. I took the opportunity to practice my flight shot techniques,  since I had numbers of cooperative subjects. There are really few birds as striking as a Roseate Spoonbill in full breeding plumage. Odd. But still striking. 🙂

Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 75-300mm zoom. 600mm equivalent. My custom flight program. Processed in Snapseed on my tablet. Assembled in Pixlar Express.

Nest Building Egrets


As I mentioned yesterday, I had an amazing Sunday on the Bolivar Peninsula, starting with yesterday’s canopy feeding Reddish Egret, moving on through Skimmers, Gulls, and Terns at Rollover, and finishing up with a visit to the rookery at Smith’s Oaks on High Island. The rookery has recovered well from the almost total devastation of the hurricane. The smaller trees are growing in nicely to replace the giants that the birds used for nesting, and with a few impromptu platforms placed on the stumps of the larger trees, the birds have adapted. In many ways, from a photographer’s point of view, the rookery is a better place today than it was before the storm. The birds are considerably more visible than I remember from my last visit (but that was at least 10 years ago, so I do not count too much on the memory). At any rate, the rookery made a fitting last stop on what was already a pretty spectacular day of birding and photography.

There was a lot of nest building going on, even though most nests already had eggs in them and the birds were actively sitting. The males seem compelled to keep bringing branches and the nests are so ramshackle that they probably do need frequent repair. This pair was putting on a good show. I especially like the evident (if indecipherable) attitudes of the two birds.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 75-300mm zoom. 600mm equivalent. My custom flight program. ISO 200 @ 1/640th @ f10. Processed in Snapseed on my tablet.

Nesting Grebes: North Dakota

Several of the field trips at the Potholes and Prairies Birding Festival in Carrington North Dakota seem to end the day at the same spot: the little rise overlooking the end of Mud Lake, where 50-75 pairs of Western Grebes, and few pairs of Clark’s Grebes, have formed a nesting colony. Grebes build floating nests, loosely anchored to reeds and cattails or underwater vegetation. Nest colonies are probably common among Westerns and Clarks, but the Mud Lake colony is the only one I know of. The first shot is of a pair of Western Grebes.

As you see in the second shot, Grebe eggs are among the largest, relative to body size, of any bird. I visited several weeks ago. By now, the colony must be full of zebra striped baby grebes. Because the nest materials slowly sink, the Grebes are always adding new materials to the top of the nest and rearranging the eggs.

Finally we have a Clark’s Grebe on a well hidden nest. Note the line of black on the face is well above the eye, and the bright yellow of the bill (as compared to the greeny-yellow of the Western’s). In the water, the Clark’s gives an impression of a lighter bird overall, gray where the Western is black, but it is hard to see unless you have the two species side by side.

Canon SX50HS in Program with my usual modifications. 1800mm equivalent flied of view. Processed in Lightroom.