Usually it is my feet that has startled the mourning dove.
It will burst out of the grasses, wings whirring distinctly –
flying far faster than I can adjust my camera, as they go from very near to me to very far within a wing beat.
This dove was startled not by me but my friend and I caught the bird as he flared for his landing.

mourning dove

The wood stork had flown out of sight.
My friend and I had begun to photograph an assortment of egrets.
The sky darkened and we both looked up.
There above us was the immature wood stork
magnificent with translucent chevrons in his wings.

Wood Stork

I was at the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge on Monday.
As often happens there, I get to photograph birds I have not seen before.
This is an immature Wood Stork.
He has wandered north out of the normal wood stork Atlantic coast range.
His bulk is greater than that of the great blue heron, but he is shorter and has less of a wingspan than the heron.

Wood Stork 1

Ow, ow, ouch!
The hazards of being a parent.
The fledgling was trying to grab a fish from dad’s talon
but got dad’s toe instead – in a very tight sharp hold.
Dad had to jerk several times before the fledgling let go.
He was dangling that foot for a few wing flaps as he flew away
but had the leg back in its place quickly.
photo taken July 10, 2015

WALK5031 Jul 10 2015 @ 06-43-47 Stinking toe bite 2