Photographs don’t come easy in the Everglades. I almost never made these. It’s been a brutally hot and muggy winter so far and on Christmas Eve morning I decided I’d go for a paddle and make some morning photographs. As I launched the canoe from shore I was overwhelmed with both mosquitoes and noseeums, truly the greatest defenders of American wilderness.
More than once I considered just returning to shore and climbing back into bed. This surely couldn’t be worth it. The canoe was already on the water though, and I’m not one given to easy surrender, so I paddled on.
I was paddling to a site where I knew that pelicans and cormorants roost, but I was mostly going in search of the roseate spoonbill. They’ve been somewhat rare in the Everglades over the past five seasons. If you saw a handful over several days time you considered yourself fortunate.
I watched the pelicans and cormorants for some time, just satisfied to take in a new morning. While I was photographing the pelicans, I noticed a flash of pink in the viewfinder. Three roseate’s were on their way overhead. I was so glad to find some that morning.
As I paddled back across the bay that morning I caught glimpses of pink along the shoreline. Sometimes mistaken for flamingo’s, these pink birds have an elongated bill shaped like a spoon at the end. They move it rapidly back in forth in the waters looking for small fish and other prey. What I could hardly believe is that there were about 20 of them in one area.
I paddled my canoe upwind so that I could slowly drift on the current towards them without causing them to flush. Being low tide, my canoe rested gently on the bottom, allowing me remain stationary and make several photographs that morning.
They are truly a beautiful sight, and it made for a morning where I was thankful I’d continued to paddle through a bit of adversity to reap such an amazing reward.