One of the great places to observe Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets and Anhinga mating and nesting is at the Venice Rookery in Venice Florida. I hadn’t been there yet this season but as a friend and I were going up to Sarasota FL today to enter a competition held by the Sarasota Camera Club it seemed like a good time to stop and have a look.
WOW, what a change. I had heard that they had a program to remove all of the Brazilian Pepper bushes around the pond but was amazed at how much vegetation had actually been removed. What was once a nice woodland background for Bird In Flight (BIF) shots was now the backend of a trailer park and a public office building. Here are before and after shots of the rookery island. They aren’t taken from the same position but, there is only the one rookery island in the pond.
But, all is not lost. The rookery island itself still provides a decent background and you can still get BIF shots if you watch the angle you are shooting. Unfortunately, the bushes that make up the nesting site seem to be primarily Brazilian Pepper. I don’t know what will happen if they decide to clear that. You can see all the little pepper berries in this shot of a Great Blue Heron tending it’s nest.
With a little care, it’s still a great place to shoot and you can always count on activity. Today was pretty heavily overcast so the skies weren’t much to talk about but, there was plenty of heron activity. here are a few more shots. Just click to see larger versions.
The scenics were shot with the 24-85mm f2.8-f4.0 Nikkor and the birds with the 70-300mm VR lens.