Whiskey Creek Wildlife



Osprey

The Osprey is a rather unique Bird of Prey where their outer toe is reversible allowing them to  grasp with two toes in front and two behind. This is particularly helpful when they grab slippery fish. Only the Osprey and Owls have this particular feature. The efficiency of this “grasp” can allow for Ospreys to even catch two fish in one strike. When prey has been captured, the wide outstretched wings will provide adequate lift to retreat from their hunting grounds. In flight, the Osprey will orient their catch with head forward to reduce drag for efficient flight. 

The sexes appear fairly similar, but the adult male can be distinguished from the female by its slimmer body and narrower wings. The colored breast band, or “chest plate" of the male is also weaker than that of the female, or is non-existent. It is straightforward to determine the sex in a breeding pair, but harder with individual birds.

The osprey is the second most widely distributed raptor species, after the peregrine falcon. If there is water to sustain an adequate food supply, the Osprey will be perched for its hunt! Listen closely for a repetitive shrill chirp and its a good indication that an individual is call for its mate!


IBIS

The Ibis is a community bird staying together to probe shallow water, mud or grass with their long curved beaks. They live, travel and breed in flocks. In flight they form diagonal lines for a “V” formation. This configuration decreases wind resistance for the trailing birds. As the “leader” tires, it falls to the rear of the formation and an alternate take the lead. This is an effective way to cover a great distance. You won’t hear much from this breed, only an occasional grunt to warn the colony or a croaking on the breeding grounds. As an indicator of how ancient this species are, there are fossil records going back 60 million years!

All wildlife portrayed in my articles are of those species that call Whiskey Creek “home”.

Article by Mark Franzer


Tri-Colored Heron

The tricolored heron is among the most lively of the active hunters. The Tricolored heron uses a technique known as canopy feeding to elude their prey. The strategy behind canopy feeding entails shading the water with their outstretched wings hoping small fish will seek refuge from the sun and swim into the shade they provide. When a fish is in sight they strikes! This creative approach to catching fish becomes a dance performed in rhythmic circular patterns. The dance is quite graceful and from what I can tell unique to the tricolored heron. 

Another one of the more compelling aspects of the tricolored heron is their natural ability to change colors for mating season. The beak and legs of this bird remain yellow for the majority of the year until some time in early spring when their beak takes on a stunning almost iridescent blue hue with a  back tip and their legs become a rich pink tone.

All photos that appear in the Whiskey Creek News are captured only within our favored community. Should you like to follow the exploits of what this camera bug captures, follow the journey here. You’ll need to request membership to gain access!   https://www.facebook.com/groups/1430022127286192

 

 







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