Welcome to Week #14 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #14 challenge is Flocks.
Upcoming challenges can be found on my Bird Weekly Challenge Page.
The feature image is a flock of 28 Nanday Parakeets that flew over our car as we parked at Fort Desoto Park near St. Petersburg, Florida. It was our bird of the day and it happened about 15 minutes after entering the park once we drove down the main road.
You know we teach our children to stay together. Safety in numbers! The same is true for birds. Being by yourself is a risky proposition. You have a far better chance of being grabbed by a predator or bird of prey when you are alone. Birds don’t have to worry about social distancing and those who travel together, have a higher percentage to survive.
Flying together in a flock can also be aerodynamic. For instance, Ducks and geese fly in a “V” pattern. This helps them conserve energy to make their long distance migrations. They will take turns in the front position, but as the leader gets tired, it falls to the back and they rotate like players on a volleyball court.
These seagulls took off as I approached, leaving me with a nice shot as the sun was leaving the horizon.
White Pelicans with a few Glossy Ibis were flying into the ponds at the Viera Wetlands in Viera, Florida. Flocks of Glossy Ibis forage close together, just like the White Ibis. They will probe areas systematically like a search and rescue team does when looking for someone who is missing. They scour each square inch until they have finished their pattern.
Brown Pelicans fly over in a “V” pattern along the beach at Little Talbot Island State Park. There were at least 20 flocks in a 2 hour period that flew over our little stake on the beach. This didn’t include the flocks of 10, 20, 40 size flocks riding the waves in the water.
The photos above only show a small percentage of the flock on this day. There were over 500 birds in this flock that included Black Skimmers, 5 species of Seagulls, Willets, and Sanderlings. These photos were taken at Fort Clinch State Park in Fernandina, Florida.
Me either! We estimated 300 were in this flock hanging out at Fort George Island on A1A just before you get to Little Talbot Island State Park.
A flock of Willets hanging out on the beach at Fort Desoto Park in Tierra Verde, Florida. This park is on the most southern end of Pinellas County not far from St. Petersburg. Interesting fact about the Willet is both parents incubate the eggs, but only the male stays on the nest at night.
This flock of birds that included Royal Terns, Least Terns and Seagulls didn’t move as I was walking along the beach. They didn’t even flinch. Off the frame to the right was a Caspian Tern, the largest tern in the world. You can see the Willet to the right in the background and an Osprey was trying to get a better grip on a fish. There was plenty of bird activity on Fort Desoto beach that day!
The Nanday Parakeet is native to South America where it can be found in open woodlands and grasslands with scattered trees. They have migrated north and started breeding on the west coast of Florida. Since this was my bird of the day…the sole reason for my existence to spend the day at Fort Desoto Park…searching every crevice to add this bird to my life list…it was a beautiful thing to hear them coming from a ways off. Once they flew over the car, I quickly grabbed my camera and followed them until they landed. Because it happened shortly after going to the park, I was able to relax and enjoy the rest of the day and it was quite the birding day! This was our last trip to the Tampa Bay area in January of 2020. We have not been back to see my kids and grandkids, and other friends. COVID hit and that put an end to that. We can’t go down there and not see them so we haven’t made a trip. Hopefully, this ends soon!
Video from National Geographic of Starlings. I saw flocks of Starlings do this when I was a kid living in Texas. Last year, Frank & I witness this while driving in the car on a much smaller scale. That flock was probably an 1/8 of the size of the flock in this video. I didn’t take any photos or video but I always think this is just one of the coolest things ever! Hope you enjoy this!
Until next week…Week #15 – Birds with Green Feathers
Category: birds, Birds Weekly Photo Challenge, nature, photo challenge, photography, travel, Uncategorized, waterTags: #birdweekly, #flocks, #flocksofbirds, #nanday, #pelicans, #photo, #safety, #seagulls, #skimmer, #socialdistancing, #terns, #willet, birding, birds, challenge, florida, photography, water
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