Friday, March 30, 2018

A Fantastic Trip to St. Augustine!

This is going to be a photo heavy post! Sparky and Eldo took a two day trip to St. Augustine, because Sparky had heard there was a fantastic zoological park with lots of gators (she's in!) and a great rookery! (She's in for sure!) the name of the place is the Alligator Farm Zoological Park. Fellow birders and photographers said that the rookery was much much closer to you as you go through the gardens, than say, the Celery Fields in Sarasota, and they were right. The gators below the boardwalks keep away the birds' tree climbing predators so there are PLENTY of species that feel safe and nest there every year. 

There are snowy egrets, great egrets, spoonbills, green herons nesting, and tri colored herons nesting, and depending upon when you arrive in what month, there are different stages of nesting and species flying in to get ready to nest. 
As soon as we walked in the park, as a matter of fact, there were nests EVERYWHERE up in the trees right above our heads. Woodstorks and spoonbills everywhere! Several species in the
same tree. All the people were looking at the gators below, because they were so big and fat, that few looked up above in the trees.  (We were surprised after the day ended that we had not gotten bird poop on us while we were there. Sparky suggest you might want to wear a hat if you go there.) We rounded a corner as we walked a little further into the park and there were LOTS of spoonbills up in the trees. Lots!

The birds are "displaying" right now...That's where they strut around and show off all their beautiful plumage and hope to attract a mate. Their feathers are almost always splayed out to show off to their best advantage. This is a snowy egret.
Sparky loves it when she sees one having a "bad hair" day.....
This one looks mad or frustrated...with all the hundreds of egrets competing for attention, maybe he's not getting any?
The best part of the day was seeing baby spoonbills in a nest for the first time! We were so surprised to see that they nest in the palms. We always see the grownups on the ground in the marshes where we live.
Sparky caught this spoonbill spreading its wings in the palms....

There were some unusual ducks there, too. These were called ruddy ducks. Guess they are kind of common along the east coast, but we didn't know that! Love the blue bill!

Another one of Sparky's favorite spoonbill shots for the day....
Not all the shots were about the birds today. There is a fabulous zip line and obstacle course that runs right above the zoo gardens. It looked really fun!
If you are interested in going to the Alligator Farms/Rookery, the nesting action starts around February and lasts until August, with the peaks being mid March thru early June. They open at 9:00 AM daily.  Tickets are 24.99 for adults, but there are local coupons available in the tourist mags or there is a 10% discount for seniors. This is a fantastic place to bring grandkids or the family. The exhibits are beautiful, modern and well done, AND well taken care of. The grounds are beautiful, there is plenty of shade as you walk around, and lots of places to sit. Food and drink are available, too. This zoo park is one of the oldest zoos in the country, founded in 1893, but they have done an amazing job of keeping it up to date, very informative and entertaining. There are shows available several times a day as well. It's a diverse population of crocodiles (24 species!), birds, reptiles and mammals and a fabulous way to spend the day. We easily spent three hours there and liked it so much, we are going back next month!       Bye for now....


  1. We went there a few years ago and the Spoonbills had babies. The babies were such adorable white and pink fuzzy balls. Even the nests were slightly pink. It's a fantastic place. Your photos are great!

  2. Love the bird pictures especially the spoonbills.

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  4. Hello. Thank you for the interesting publication. With pleasure I read it. I want to say that I recently returned from a trip to St. Augustine. This is really the best trip I've ever had. I really enjoyed the trip. By the way, you can read more here