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2013-05-05 Nesting at the Safari Park

Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret

I returned to the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park this Sunday morning to spend time with the free range birds that exploit the facilities here for nesting. I was not disappointed with my timing, as I was on my two visits early in the season. Egrets, ibis, coots and other birds were engaged in rearing the young of the season.

There is an eatery called the Okavango Outpost placed atop a wooded slope above a pond. Egrets (Snowy, Cattle and Great) use these trees for safe nesting every spring, as well do White-Faced Ibis in the understory below. I found a seat situated in such a way as to give me good angles to capture the comings-and-goings of these birds as they tended to their young progeny. The eatery was not yet open for business and I found it easy to switch seats from time-to-time and gain fresh perspectives.

Satisfied I’d exploited the nesting scene as well as I could, I wandered the park in search of more photo ops. The ponds and waterways in the park are yet another locations where free-rangers wander, such as the newborn coots I found being fed by parents. The aviaries are often a place of opportunity to gain face-to-face access to birds beyond my normal (local) experience. Even the local Hooded Orioles feeding on flowering plants along the walkways were cooperative.

Free range birds I meet this day were Wood Duck, Cattle Egret, Great-Tailed Grackle, White-Faced Ibis, Snowy Egret, American Coot, Ruddy Duck, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Hooded Oriole, Brewer’s Blackbird, Black-Crowned Night-Heron. Captive creatures I took advantage of were Taveta Weaver, African Lion, Bat-Eared Fox, Cheetah, African Darter, White-breasted Cormorant, Mandarin Duck, Sunbittern, Red-Breasted Merganser, White-Crowned Lapwing.

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