WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY – DINNER ISLAND RANCH WMA, FL
This photograph is of a Wood Stork taken at Dinner Island Ranch Wildlife Management Area in Florida which is located Southwest of Clewiston in southern Hendry County, Dinner Island’s thirty-four square miles of pastures, sloughs, pine flatwoods and oak hammocks form a vital link to surrounding wetlands that connect the Caloosahatchee River with the Big Cypress Swamp fifty miles to the south. The camera gear used for this photo was a Nikon D90, attached to a Tamron 2x teleconverter and Tamron 28-300mm lens.
The Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) is a large American wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It was formerly called the “Wood Ibis”, though it is not really an ibis. The adult is a large bird 33–45 inches tall and about 58–71 inches in wingspan. Males typically weigh 5.5-7.3 lbs; females weigh 4.4-6.2 lbs, although large birds are up to 10 lbs).It appears all white on the ground, with blackish-gray legs and pink feet. In flight, the trailing edge of the wings is black. The head is dark brown with a bald, black face, and the thick downcurved bill is dusky yellow. Juvenile birds are a duller version of the adult, generally browner on the neck, and with a paler bill.
The Wood Stork is a broad-winged soaring bird that flies with its neck outstretched and legs extended. It forages usually where lowering water levels concentrate fish in open wetlands; it also frequents paddy fields. Walking slowly and steadily in shallow water up to its belly, it seeks prey, which, like that of most of its relatives, consists of fish, frogs and large insects. It catches fish by holding its bill open in the water until a fish is detected.