Boat-tailed Grackles of Florida
One of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had on vacation was taking an air boat ride through the marshland of eastern Florida a few years ago at Sawgrass Recreation Park. While the boat ride itself was just an amazing experience, I had the opportunity to capture what I consider to be one of the best series of bird photos that I have taken to date. I was at the right place at the right time with my trusty camera ready to go.
The beautiful male Boat-tailed Grackle flew onto our boat as we were parked far out in the marsh to look at an alligator nearby, and the grackle proceeded to put on a big, noisy show right in front of me. In fact, he entertained everyone on the boat for several minutes. The lighting conditions were pretty much perfect, and I had such a grand time photographing and chuckling at this bird that was quite a character!
He was a beautiful thing, and his colors showed up so vividly, including his tail that is described at the Cornell birding site as “ridiculously long.”
A much smaller, and less colorful, female also roosted nearby in the tall grasses, too.
Picture-perfect photographic opportunities happen so seldom where birding is concerned for me, and I will always remember these two lovely birds and the entertaining show we all enjoyed by the male. I will also remember the huge alligator that was resting about thirty feet away from our boat while all of this was going on, too. Part of me was so excited to take these great photos, but the other part of me surely wanted to keep a watchful eye on that alligator!
Boat-tailed Grackles most typically live near the East coast salt-water areas in the United States. Just look for the male’s ridiculously long tail! 😉
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