Adult Roseate SpoonbillAdult Roseate Spoonbill on the Gulf Coast – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

Some people think the featherless heads of Roseate Spoonbills are ugly but I think that everything about them is wonderful. Of the six species of Spoonbills only the Roseate Spoonbill is found in North America and it is the only Spoonbill that is so vividly colored. Their pink coloration comes from their diet which includes crustaceans. One of the nicknames for Roseate Spoonbills is “Flame Bird” and when I looked at the vivid crimson feathers of the scapulars it is easy to see why they were given that name.

I photographed this Roseate Spoonbill on a warm April morning at Fort De Soto County Park’s north beach near a tidal lagoon that had sand dunes at the north end of it. That morning I had about ten minutes with several Roseate Spoonbills and a white morph Reddish Egret before a tourist walked up behind me and shouted “Is that a Flamingo?” which scared all of the birds away. I’m still grateful for the few minutes I had them in my viewfinder.