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andreapicoestrada andreapicoestrada

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Andrea Pico Estrada  Nature and Wildlife photographer. Daily adventure IG photo journal 📷Promoting Nature Conservation through Photography


Rise above the waves 🌊
The Florida Iconic bid - The Brown Pelican 🐦
© Brian L. Sullivan

The Brown Pelican is a comically elegant bird with an oversized bill, sinuous neck, and big, dark body. Squadrons glide above the surf along southern and western coasts, rising and falling in a graceful echo of the waves. They feed by plunge-diving from high up, using the force of impact to stun small fish before scooping them up. They are fairly common today—an excellent example of a species’ recovery from pesticide pollution that once placed them at the brink of extinction.
🐦Brown Pelicans feed by plunging into the water, stunning small fish with the impact of their large bodies and scooping them up in their expandable throat pouches. When not foraging, pelicans stand around fishing docks, jetties, and beaches or cruise the shoreline. In flight, lines of pelicans glide on their broad wings, often surfing updrafts along wave faces or cliffs. Their wingbeats are slow, deep, and powerful.
🐦During a dive, the Brown Pelican tucks its head and rotates its body to the left. This maneuver is probably to cushion the trachea and esophagus—which are found on the right side of the neck—from the impact.
🐦The oldest Brown Pelican on record was 43 years of age.

With a little help from your friends.... Notice the Skimmer parent holding up its baby by the wing while it eats a fish 🐟
Yesterday my daughter @oceandiplomat had all of her camera gear stolen while doing PhD research in Argentina - up most of the night worried but luckily she is fine and I'd like to thank my friends that reached out to help her!
🐦at this time of the year the Black Skimmers begin to raise their young and it's truly a wonderful sight that we get to see on the West Coast of Florida every summer
🐦eggs: 4-5, sometimes 3, rarely 6-7. Variable in color, whitish to buff to blue-green, marked with dark brown. Incubation is by both sexes (male may do more), 21-23 days. Young: Both parents feed young, by regurgitation. Upper and lower mandibles of young are same length at first, so they are able to pick up food dropped on the ground by parents. Young wander in vicinity of nest after a few days; if danger threatens, may attempt to look inconspicuous by lying flat on beach, even kicking up sand to make a hollow to lie in. Able to fly at about 23-25 days.
🐦 Young: Both parents feed young, by regurgitation. Upper and lower mandibles of young are same length at first, so they are able to pick up food dropped on the ground by parents. Young wander in vicinity of nest after a few days; if danger threatens, may attempt to look inconspicuous by lying flat on beach, even kicking up sand to make a hollow to lie in. Able to fly at about 23-25 days.
🐦Breeds in colonies. Courtship not well studied, may involve zigzagging flight with two or more males pursuing one female. Nest site on ground on open sandy beach, shell bank, sandbar; sometimes on gravel roof. Nest is shallow scrape in sand. (Audubon)

The Blue Sky stands still
Feathers rustle
The peace has arrived....
🐦Great White Egret Symbolism. This great bird, talked of throughout ancient history and many cultures, is also commonly know as the Great White Heron. ... A double headed Heron in Egypt is symbolic of prosperity. As a Chinese symbol the Heron represents strength, purity, patience and long life."
🐦The Great Egret is the symbol of the National Audubon Society, one of the oldest environmental organizations in North America. Audubon was founded to protect birds from being killed for their feathers.
🐦The Great Egret walks with its neck extended and its wings held close to its body. In flight, it is graceful and buoyant, with its neck tucked back against its shoulders and its legs trailing behind. Great Egrets form monogamous pairs each breeding season, though it’s not known whether the pair bond lasts through multiple years.
🐦America were killed for their plumes in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Plume-hunting was banned, for the most part, around 1910, and Great Egret populations quickly began to recover. Since the 1930s, the egrets have had to contend with major habitat loss and degradation, as well as threats like contaminated runoff from farm fields or sewage treatment. However, their populations appear stable. Compared to other egrets and herons, Great Egrets seem to be unfazed by habitat loss on a localized scale, even in extremely altered landscapes like the Everglades. Since Great Egrets are large, very mobile birds with flexible habitat preferences, environmental changes may be affecting them at a larger scale that has yet to be studied.
(Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
🌞Happy Sunday🌞

Saturday reflections... beautiful Roseate Spoonbill model that I've had for 3 days - such a calm bird he even followed me as I walked away... 💕💕💕
💖The roseate spoonbill feeds in groups, in both fresh and marine shallow waters. It feeds by walking slowly through the water, swinging its distinctive spoon-shaped bill from side to side. The bill has sensitive nerve endings, allowing it to detect when it comes into contact with prey and snap shut.This species is known to shake and beat prey against hard surfaces to break shells and facilitate swallowing and digestion if necessary. The roseate spoonbill generally feeds on a range of aquatic animals including small fish, crustaceans and insects
💖The roseate spoonbill will sleep standing, usually on one leg, with its head buried beneath back and shoulder feathers. The female is also able to rest when lying down during incubation. It is generally a silent bird, although it is known to make calls during breeding displays and when flying 💖The roseate spoonbill is known to breed in southern USA in Florida, Louisiana and Texas, along both coasts of Central America, and south as far as central Argentina. It is found on most islands in the Caribbean Sea, with the exception of the Lesser Antilles, where it is rare This is thought to indicate that the South American populations are distinct from the remaining populations in the USA and Central America

Angel 😇 in disguise.... no such thing as a "beach day" 🏖when you are a closet birder 🐦 (your camera hidden in a backpack) when you suddenly spot a Reddish Egret .... the oblivious beachgoers don't even notice this bird... they don't realize there are only 2000 left in the US.... if only I could just sit and enjoy the beach.... but like Bjorn and his ball my head just spins when I spot a bird and I'm lost in my own world!!! Harsh sunlight, hot temperatures.... beach 🌊 it all disappears when you spot your bird!! What a beautiful beach day here in Florida- sun sea waves and birds!!! Wishing you all a great weekend and happy birding and time outdoors!!! #lostintime
🐦🐦🐦Numbers were decimated by plume hunters in late 1800s. Reportedly not seen in Florida between 1927 and 1937, but numbers have gradually increased under complete protection. Current United States population roughly 2000 pairs. White morph apparently made up a higher percentage of the total population prior to persecution by plume hunters. (Audubon)

To spear or not to sprear? Happy Fish Fry Friday 🐟!! The two Anhingas are back to their fishing, the rains have improved the water flow and the lake and ponds are thriving with new fish!! 🐟🐦Fish feature heavily but not exclusively in the anhinga’s diet. Across its range, it consumes various species, the majority being under 4″ in length and slow moving.The anhinga also preys on aquatic amphibians, reptiles, mollusks, leeches and crustaceans.
A typical hunting foray starts with a serene, splash-free dive under the water. The anhinga hunts in the shallows among aquatic vegetation. Although it often stalks its prey for a minute or more, it seldom gives chase for long and prefers to wait in ambush. It has a habit of spreading its wings when it hunts; the precise reason is unknown, but it may act as a lure, tempting fish to approach what appears to be a shady resting place.
As soon as a fish comes within range, the bird strikes. A hinge mechanism between its neck vertebrae and powerful neck muscles enables the anhinga to straighten its neck
Slipping down with lightning speed. Its victim A fish swallowed head secured, the anhinga comes to first is less likely to get the surface to eat its meal. stuck.

TBT - going back to one of my favorite birds - Peg the one legged Great Blue Heron and her affinity for eating Stingrays (thought it was a one time special but then watched her eat five of them consecutively!). Fortunately I spotted Peg a few times late Spring this year so I know she is still doing well and still top bird at her particular spot! Most birds are usual suspects, staying within their territory year after year like the ones at my local park!! Have a great day everyone!!!
🐦The primary food for great blue heron is small fish, though it is also known to opportunistically feed on a wide range of shrimp, crabs, aquatic insects, rodents, and other small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. Primary prey is variable based on availability and abundance.
🐦Herons locate their food by sight and usually swallow it whole. They have been known to choke on prey that is too large.It is generally a solitary feeder. Individuals usually forage while standing in water, but also feed in fields or drop from the air, or a perch.
🐦As large wading birds, great blue herons are capable of feeding in deeper waters, thus are able to harvest from niche areas not open to most other heron species. Typically, the great blue heron feeds in shallow waters, usually less than 50 cm (20 in) deep,or at the water's edge during both the night and the day, but especially around dawn and dusk. The most commonly employed hunting technique of the species is wading slowly with its long legs through shallow water and quickly spearing fish or frogs with its long, sharp bill. Although usually ponderous in movements, the great blue heron is adaptable in its fishing methods. Feeding behaviors variably have consisted of standing in one place, probing, pecking, walking at slow speeds, moving quickly, flying short distances and alighting, hovering over water and picking up prey, diving headfirst into the water, alighting on water feet-first, jumping from perches feet-first, and swimming or floating on the surface of the water.(Wikipedia)

When can I put the umbrella away ☔️?
I know.... for weeks I complained about drought, no rain, and now I'm complaining about the rain not stopping! Tiny amounts of sunshine but mostly rain,rain ....
Like this Osprey shaking water 💦 off mid flight after a failed fishing dive I'm ready for a nature hike.... I won't mention the mosquitos either 😉
🐦When an Osprey sits in a tree it often preens too. This is very important as it maintains the waterproofing of the feathers. An osprey has a large preen gland located on its back near the base of the tail feathers. This secretes an oily substance which the osprey coats its feathers with when grooming. Additionally, ospreys do not have an aftershaft, the small extra feather that is at the base of the larger feathers on most other birds. Its absence helps the osprey to lose water droplets after fishing.
🐦The osprey has several adaptations that suit its piscivorous lifestyle :
reversible outer toes,
sharp spicules on the underside of the toes,
closable nostrils to keep out water during dives, and
backwards-facing scales on the talons which act as barbs to help hold its catch.
dense plumage which is oily and prevents its feathers from getting waterlogged. (Wikipedia)

Have been trying for a shot that adequately shows why the beautiful Anhinga is sometimes called the "water turkey" I think here you can see the beautifully fanned out tail while taking a peak over the water.... these birds have so many great aspects to their personalities as well as appearance ❤️🐦
🐦A bird of southern swamps, the Anhinga is known as the Water-Turkey for its swimming habits and broad tail, and also as the Snake-Bird for its habit of swimming with just its long head and neck sticking out of the water.
🐦The Anhinga dives from the surface of the water and swims slowly underwater stalking fish around submerged vegetation. The diet consists of many small- to medium-sized wetland fishes, with very small amounts of crustaceans and invertebrates. Anhingas typically spear fish through their sides with a rapid thrust of their partially opened bill. Usually stabs with both mandibles, but may use upper mandible only on small fish. The side-spearing habit of the Anhinga suggests that the usual hunting method is by stalking rather than pursuit.
🐦The Anhinga swims lower in the water than many other birds due to its reduced buoyancy—a result of wetted plumage and dense bones. When at the surface, they tend to swim low in the water, often with only the neck and head above the water and sometimes with only the bill exposed. The Anhinga is also an adept soarer. While soaring, it holds its wings flat and straight, its neck outstretched or held with a slight kink; its long, straight tail is conspicuous. Anhingas often use thermals for soaring, and may achieve altitudes of several thousand feet.
(Cornell University)

Launching into the new week with a positive attitude!
As I've said before, this is the bird that launched my birding obsession... first sight flying over the exit from the airport when I landed eight years ago and I still get butterflies 🦋 every time I see one! Have a great week everyone!! 💕💕💕
💖The roseate spoonbill is easily identified thanks to its bright pink plumage and spoon-shaped bill.
💖The roseate spoonbill is a sociable bird, and is known to feed, roost and fly in formation with others of its kind.
💖The roseate spoonbill feeds by walking slowly through the water, swinging its distinctive spoon-shaped bill from side to side.
💖Roseate spoonbill hatchlings are fat, with salmon-pink skin covered in sparse white down.(arkive)

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful Dads here on IG - know how appreciated you are!!! 🦅 Eagles are truly amazing parents! They work together to put up twigs along the edge of the nest that are like baby gates as their little ones become rambunctious and might fall out… Both parents hold a twig one on each end and position it properly to keep in their babies! The father eagle is often the one who comes and takes out the garbage of the nest, fish bones and dirty Spanish moss – and he is also the one who brings in new fish and clean Spanish moss :-) these birds make wonderful parents! I certainly learned a lot from them by watching them for two years on a daily basis and always admired how much effort they put into their young! We can all learn from watching the animal kingdom and we can also find that we have in common with them a great love of our children as well ❤️🐥❤️

Flying free - almost al grown up - this young juvenile Red Shouldered Hawk is now about 10 weeks old... he's tried to catch a few small birds on his own.... soon his Parents won't help him any more. When he misses he flies to a branch and screams in frustration.... nice that her two young survived and fledged - he flies low over my head circling between the trees... what a beautiful sight!!!
🐦A medium-size buteo with rounded wing tips that do not reach the tip of the tail. Adult: brown above with lighter feather edges and some streaking on head. Rufous on the upperwing coverts gives the “red shoulders.” The primaries are barred or checkered black and white, the dark tail has 3 white bands. Underparts are rufous with white barring. Juvenile: mostly brown above, with less rufous on the shoulders than an adult. Undersides are buffy with variable dark streaks, the brown tail has multiple narrow bands. Flight: all ages show a distinct light crescent at the base of the primaries. Soars on flat wings held forward, glides with wings cupped, giving a “hunched” appearance. Wingbeats are quick and shallow, interspersed with quick glides.
🐦Juveniles have darker underside of tail, heavier markings on underparts. South Florida (extimus) is the palest subspecies. Adults are pale gray above, pale rufous underneath, with the head appearing light at a distance. Juveniles are less rufous, have thinner streaking underneath. (NatGeo)

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