andreapicoestrada andreapicoestrada

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

Happy World Turtle 🐢 Day!!
One of my most treasured memories from my recent trip to Mexico was swimming with Green Sea Turtles right off the beach as they munched on sea grass - what a sight to watch them surface and swim along!! This was my favorite snorkeling adventure as I love all turtles and always have!! 🐢The purpose of World Turtle Day, May 23, sponsored yearly since 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue, is to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive.
🐢World Turtle Day is celebrated around the globe in a variety of ways, from dressing up as turtles or wearing green summer dresses, to saving turtles caught on highways, to research activities. Turtle Day lesson plans and craft projects encourage teaching about turtles in classrooms. (Wikipedia) #goprohero5

Ever feel like someone is watching you?
Update on the Osprey vs Eagle vs Dilema ....
Last free ped retake in his nest, rebuilt as Nas, brought in food to his wife every day, seem to have a good thing going for the past week… And then the large female eagle reappeared in their home today sending off the Osprey into a frantic flight trying to protect their home. This is probably due to lack of appropriate habitat around the 7 mile long like that can only support a certain amount of fish eating raptors, such as ospreys and Eagles, I cannot handle further capacity as their young grow up and look for homes as well. This battle of the wills between two fantastic birds is been going on since October. The latest I had seen an eagle in our area was Mother's Day in the past. There seems to be a growing number of resident Eagles, meaning ones that do not migrate any longer but stay here in Florida all year long. Although I'm a huge Eagles fan and that is how I begin my love for bird photography, watching these ospreys suffer so much this season has been quite difficult and disappointing. Today the unwitting assistant to the Osprey where the crows who finally ended up driving to Eagle out of the nest and over the lake… Even on our hottest summer days are birds still offer lots to observe and learn! Have a great evening my IG friends!

Conjure the power of the Seas 🌊
I have lived 3 miles from the Gulf of Mexico for the past eight years… I can see the horizon every single day of the week if I choose and watch the sunset as it as I look out the window and see the colors of the sky.... it's hard to describe the power of the ocean and the sound of the waves and how it makes you feel after a walk on the beach. Previously I had spent 12 years in land seeing the beach only two times and all of those years. I really messed everything about the ocean and I'm very happy to be close by again and to found the special company that the birds bring me on my beach journeys. I hope y'all have a beautiful week that lead you to many fantastic encounters with the nature of your particular area.
Here is my favorite model - the reddish egret white morph; in a classic move he is using his wings to create shade and attract the baitfish that he will be catching.... 🐟🐟🐟🐟

Same time, same place.... steady date!!!
Birds are incredibly on time and easy to predict if you spend lots of time ⏰ with them!! Timing is everything- again - maybe my half Swiss self loves their timeliness... maybe I can relate!! I tend to eat the same meal, same time, same place.... just like this Yelllow Crowned Night Heron and his repeat performance of declawing and eating a crab at exactly lunch time!! 🦀
Had a fabulous day boating the Gulf of Mexico and checking the progress of the offshore colonies!! Hope you all had a great weekend too!
🐦Along the Atlantic Coast, the timing of their breeding season depends on when crabs emerge in the spring, which itself depends on local temperatures.
🐦Found year-round along the crustacean-rich southern Atlantic coast, Yellow-crowned Night-Herons in North America can also breed inland by feeding on crayfish in streams. They may breed as far north as Michigan and Ontario, and individuals can appear even farther north and west in spring (mainly adults) and late summer or early fall (juveniles).
🐦This species shows up several times in the fossil record, and the earliest recorded fossil is 2–2.5 million years old (from Sarasota, Florida).
🐦The oldest Yellow-crowned Night-Heron on record, banded in Mexico in 1974, was at least 6 years, 3 months old. (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

These are my usual suspect Magnificent Frigatebirds - the last picture I posted of one with a fish was taken in Rio Lagartos, Mexico where they have an abundant year round population! Mine arrive in May and are gone by September- flying up from Honduras! 🐦Great frigatebirds, which live in and around the Pacific and Indian Oceans, have the unique ability to stay aloft for insanely long distances and periods of time. In a new study published in Science researchers found that some young great frigatebirds were spending as many as two months in the air without ever touching the ground.
🐦By putting a small transmitter on the backs of the birds, researchers were able to measure not only where the birds went, but also their altitude, heart rate, and other factors. They found that the birds tended to stay between 98 feet and 6562 feet above sea level, mostly gliding instead of flapping their wings.
🐦They found that the birds manage these marvelous feats of endurance by taking advantage of air currents, soaring high on warm air rising during the day, and gliding along on the constant currents called trade winds, relying on them to carry them far from the shore with minimal effort and very little flapping. Some birds could shoot up into the air at rates of 13 feet to 16 feet per second (9-11 miles per hour) just by catching a ride on a current going the right way.
🐦Unlike other marine birds, the great frigatebird doesn’t have waterproof feathers, so it can’t just decide to take a dip when it gets tired. Instead, it avoids the waves at all costs, even waiting for other marine predators like tuna to cause their favorite prey, fish, to leap out of the water. The frigatebird then snags them out of thin air, giving new meaning to the term ‘fast food’. (Popular Science) happy Sunday!!!

Saturday Night Lifer 🕺🏻
The Stunning Yucatán Yay!!! I love the Mexican Jays, all of them fantastic personalities and stunningly beautiful!! This Jay was nest building in the beautiful tropical foliage in Playa del Carmen! Can't think of a better trip than to see the marine waters of the Caribbean while birdwatching in Mexico 🇲🇽 #wanderlust
💙The Yucatan Jay is a black and blue Cyanocorax species native to deciduous forests of the Yucatan peninsula and nearby areas of Belize and Guatemala. The birds have three distinct plumages which include the blue and black of the adult, a first year plumage which appears like the adult with the exception of white tipped tail feathers, and a white and blue-grey juvenal plumage. While the plumage appears adult in the second year, the color of the eye ring and internal bill color can be used to age birds until the fourth year.
💙Yucatan jays are cooperative breeders, with younger birds helping the breeding pair to raise the chicks. The jay lays 4-6 pinkish-buff eggs in a poorly constructed platform nest close to canopy height near the forest edge. They are omnivores, adapting their diet to take advantage of seasonally available plant and animal material as it changes in abundance.
💙This species has a large range and a large, increasing population. It does not appear to be under threat from the rapid and intense development of the coastal Yucatan to the "Riviera Maya."

Red Shouldered Hawks try and be effective hunters for their families by minimizing their risk of injury... During this nesting season they have brought in more lizards and fed on mole crickets while leaving more risky prey behind! Amazing how smart these birds are! This is my usual suspect that lands in the grass nearby... we are still facing drought conditions so all the birds are putting in an extra effort to find food!
Hope you are all having a great weekend!! 👍👍
🐦Red-shouldered Hawks eat mostly small mammals, lizards, snakes, and amphibians. They hunt from perches below the forest canopy or at the edge of a pond, sitting silently until they sight their prey below. Then they descend swiftly, gliding and snatching a vole or chipmunk off the forest floor. They also eat toads, snakes, and crayfish. They occasionally eat birds, sometimes from bird feeders; recorded prey include sparrows, starlings, and doves.

Timing is everything!!! Clicking at the right moment - being in the right place at the right time, taking the right path, choosing - it's all a matter of your timing in life ⏰ I often can relate to Alice in Wonderland and all the road sign arrows.... this way? That way? Click!!!! Worked for a while on my timing with this Snowy Egret feeding on tiny bait on the cresting waves landing on the beach 🌊 #fishfryfriday Not every fish you catch will be the biggest but it might get you to the next meal and that's all that counts!! Thank you all for the great comments that keep me going out every day in search of the right moment....
🐦Male and female Snowy Egrets take turns incubating their eggs. As one mate takes over for the other, it sometimes presents a stick, almost as if passing a baton. Both parents continue caring for the young when they hatch.
🐦During the breeding season, adult Snowy Egrets develop long, wispy feathers on their backs, necks, and heads. In 1886 these plumes were valued at $32 per ounce, which was twice the price of gold at the time. Plume-hunting for the fashion industry killed many Snowy Egrets and other birds until reforms were passed in the early twentieth century. The recovery of shorebird populations through the work of concerned citizens was an early triumph and helped give birth to the conservation movement.
🐦Adult Snowy Egrets have greenish-yellow feet for most of the year, but at the height of the breeding season their feet take on a much richer, orange-yellow hue. The bare skin on their face also changes color, from yellow to reddish.
🐦Snowy Egrets sometimes mate with other heron species and produce hybrid offspring. They have been known to hybridize with Tricolored Herons, Little Blue Herons, and Cattle Egrets.
🐦The oldest Snowy Egret on record was at least 17 years, 7 months old. It was banded in Colorado in 1970 and found in Mexico in 1988. (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

Happy Fish Fry Friday 🐟🐟🐟🐟
I was hoping to get a good shot this weekend the trip out to the islands 🌴 proved to be my best fish catch in a long time!! This fish was so big and heavy that the Osprey had to land on the beach to rest with it... as soon as he did that - the Great Blue Heron tried to steal his huge catch and off he flew again!!!
This is the first time in 8 years I've seen an Osprey catch a Remora:
🐟The remoras /ˈrɛmərəz/, sometimes called suckerfish, are a family (Echeneidae) of ray-finned fish in the order Perciformes.They grow to 7–75 cm (2.8 in–2 ft 5.5 in) long, and their distinctive first dorsal fins take the form of a modified oval, sucker-like organ with slat-like structures that open and close to create suction and take a firm hold against the skin of larger marine animals. By sliding backward, the remora can increase the suction, or it can release itself by swimming forward. Remoras sometimes attach to small boats. They can also attach to other organisms like sharks and turtles of any sort. They swim well on their own, with a sinuous, or curved, motion. (Wikipedia)
Have a great weekend everyone!!!🐟🐟🐟🐟

TBT - a week ago I was in Rio Lagartos, in Mexico!!pursuing a birding dream of seeing the other beautiful "pink beauty" of the birding world... 💖
Although there are six species of Flamingos I am very fortunate to have a short flight to Cancun from Tampa (1 he 22 mins) and this was a goal that I felt I could achieve this year!! This was my third trip to Mexico in six months... I began with my bucket list of the Monarch Butterflies and then another bucket list item - the Flamingos of Mexico!! The beauty of flora and fauna and distinctive habitats of Mexico 🇲🇽 is hard to describe - I've seen so many incredible new species and stunning scenery.... I'm not done exploring this fantastic neighbor of the United States!!! Thank you Mexico for the warm welcome, hospitality, guidance and memories to last a lifetime.... A big thanks to my hosts, guides and advisors @juanmiguelartigasazas @wrcanto @jalinage - your country is stunning!!

💖Thinking in Pink💖
After a fabulous and inspiring trip to Mexico to see their beautiful pink Flamingos in Río Lagartos it was very interesting to come back home to the islands 🌴 and see my pink birds! The main flock of Spoonbills I used to see on the main island appear to have a small colony with a few families and each family has a few fledged youngsters like this one!! There is something special about a pink bird - the very first sight I saw in Florida.... call it my first glimpse of what would become an all encompassing love 💖 for birds and bird photography!! 💖Like the American flamingo, their pink color is diet-derived, consisting of the carotenoid pigment canthaxanthin. Another carotenoid, astaxanthin, can also be found deposited in flight and body feathers.[9] The colors can range from pale pink to bright magenta, depending on age and location. Unlike herons, spoonbills fly with their necks outstretched. They alternate groups of stiff, shallow wingbeats with glides
💖This species feeds in shallow fresh or coastal waters by swinging its bill from side to side as it steadily walks through the water, often in groups. The spoon-shaped bill allows it to sift easily through mud. It feeds on crustaceans, aquatic insects, frogs, newts and very small fish ignored by larger waders
💖Breeds mainly during winter in Florida, during spring in Texas. Nests in colonies. At beginning of breeding season, entire flock may suddenly fly up, for no apparent reason, and circle the area. In courtship, male and female first interact aggressively, later perch close together, present sticks to each other, cross and clasp bills. Nest site is in mangroves, tree, shrub, usually 5-15' above ground or water, sometimes on ground. Nest (built mostly by female, with material brought by male) a bulky platform of sticks, with deep hollow in center lined with twigs, leaves.
💖eggs:2-3, sometimes 1-5. White, spotted with brown. Incubation is by both sexes, 22-24 days. Young: Both parents feed young. Young clamber about near nest, may leave nest after 5-6 weeks, capable of strong flight at roughly 7-8 week (Wikipedia)

This is the most beautiful breeding plumage I've seen on a Black Bellied Plover - bonus great flight shot too over the Gulf!! 🐧
A large shorebird of coastal beaches, the Black-bellied Plover is striking in its black-and-white breeding plumage. It is the largest plover in North America and can be found along the coasts in winter northward to Massachusetts and British Columbia.
🐧Cool Facts
Wary and quick to give alarm calls, the Black-bellied Plover functions worldwide as a sentinel for mixed groups of shorebirds. These qualities allowed it to resist market hunters, and it remained common when populations of other species of similar size were devastated.
🐧The Black-bellied Plover may be more sensitive to disturbance than many other birds because it is especially wary, flushing from the nest or feeding and roosing sites when potential predators are still far away. Nevertheless, no evidence exists for desertion of the nest or roost sites because of disturbance.
🐧The Black-bellied Plover is the only American plover that has a hind toe on its foot. The hind toe, however, is so small that it is difficult to see in the field.
🐧The oldest recorded Black-bellied Plover was at least 12 years, 8 months old when it was found in California.
(Cornell Lab of Ornithology) 🌊posting from the beach 🌊

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