Tripod holes, part 4

great egret Ardea alba looking excited
N 27.046105° W 82.400731° Google Earth Placemark

I’m still not sure if the Google Earth Placemark links are actually working – they’re not for me – but if they are for you, this one will be slightly different than the latitude/longtitude coordinates listed, and neither of those actually shows where I was standing, but the coordinates show where these birds were at least. This is a great egret (Ardea alba) arriving on the nest with its fledglings, and was taken in the Venice Audubon Society Rookery in Venice, Florida, a must-visit locale if you have the faintest interest in photographing birds. The place is simply unreal: a tiny island on a small pond in the heart of Venice that is a roosting and nesting site for dozens, if not hundreds, of birds. They’re so close together that there are constant territorial warnings among the birds simply from flying to their nests, and The Girlfriend and I witnessed a night heron stealing material from another nest while the owners were away – notably, the thief didn’t even have to fly in to do this, but simply walked out on a limb from its own nesting location within the canopy. We when arrived at sunrise, the eruption of birds from the trees of the island looked like billowing smoke and convinced me that the foliage camouflaged a vertical shaft into the earth where thousands of birds were mass-produced. You think I’m exaggerating…

This also exemplifies the true, original meaning of ‘tripod holes,’ since when you go (and you will,) you’ll be standing where hundreds of other photographers have stood, this being one of the premier bird photography spots in the country. Unlike scenic locations, however, you’ll likely capture something unique, as long as you have a little patience and are quick on the shutter. The Girlfriend, not really a dedicated photographer, nonetheless captured a lovely portrait of a heron gliding across the pond, still framed here on the walls of Walkabout Studios, using my digital camera and 75-300 lens when I’d switched to slide film. Later on as we returned to our motel room to get ready for breakfast, we had the TV on and suddenly found ourselves looking at the very place we’d just been, instantly recognizable, on a program talking about the Florida Birding Trail.

It’s been a while since we’ve been there, and we really have to return…

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